Tesla shares surge and company says it expects to sell 500,000 cars in 2020

Tesla’s share price rose sharply in late trading on Wednesday as the company announced another profit and said it would sell more than half a million cars this year.

Elon Musk’s electric vehicle company made a profit of $105m in the last quarter of 2019 on revenues of $7.38bn, both were better than expected and sent Tesla’s share close to 7% higher in after-hours trading.

The good news continued a remarkable streak for Tesla after a period when many doubted its long-term viability. Tesla’s shares have surged nearly 120% since the company’s third-quarter earnings release in October.

In a statement the company announced it expects to “comfortably” sell more than 500,000 vehicles in 2020, and that thanks to increased production ramp of its Model 3 vehicles in its Shanghai plant and the Model Y in Fremont, California, “production will likely outpace deliveries this year”.

The company delivered about 367,500 vehicles in 2019, a 50% rise from 2018.

The surge in Tesla’s share price has made the company more valuable than General Motors and Ford combined. The company passed a value of $100bn earlier this month and closed before the latest news at $104.7bn.

If Musk can keep Tesla’s value above $100bn for the next six months, he will earn a $350m bonus, the first of 12 such bonuses that will amass the billionaire a $50bn payday if he succeeds in turning Tesla into a company valued at $650bn over the next decade.

Doubters remain. Close to 15% of Tesla’s shares are held by short sellers – investors betting that the company’s share price will collapse and Musk will fail to fulfill his ambitious targets. Those investors have lost more than $8bn in the last seven months.

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