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The World’s Largest Automakers, By Market Value

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Tesla is the World's 4th Largest Automaker by Value

Tesla is the World’s 4th Largest Automaker by Value

This is despite only delivering 76,230 vehicles in 2016.

The Chart of the Week is a weekly Visual Capitalist feature on Fridays.

It’s been another breakout year for Tesla.

Over the course of 2017, the company’s market capitalization has soared beyond those of major manufacturers like Ford, GM, BMW, Honda, and Nissan. This thrust can be partly attributed to the company’s Model S, which reigns supreme as the top-selling plug-in electric car worldwide in 2015 and 2016.

But more importantly for Tesla, this massive momentum is based on the company’s much-anticipated future performance. Investors and analysts eagerly anticipate progress as the company ramps up production of the more affordable Model 3, and many also strongly believe that Elon Musk brings an “X Factor” that could translate into future returns.

In today’s charts, we look at Tesla’s ascent in valuation to become the #4 ranked automaker globally, and also the #1 maker in America. We also show why the value assigned to Tesla’s astonishing valuation may be premature, at least based on conventional metrics.

Tesla’s Rapid Ascent

In the opening months of 2013, Tesla was just starting to plan deliveries for its Model S. At the time, the company was worth a mere $3.9 billion – just 7% of the value of Ford.

Since then, Tesla’s value has skyrocketed to make it the most valued auto company in North America:

Big 3 Automakers by Market Capitalization

Despite only producing 76,230 vehicles in 2016, Tesla is now the biggest of the “Big 3” – and this puts a lot of pressure on the company to live up to the vast expectations held by investors and media.

The Speculator’s Gambit

With so much hype and value assigned to expectations of future performance, Tesla and its enthusiastic investors are in a potentially tough spot.

Even though it is the most valued car company in the United States, Tesla is much less impressive by more conventional metrics:

Tesla vs. Everybody

The company has just a fraction of the employees, vehicle deliveries, and revenue of its competitors. Tesla also treads a similar path to Amazon, in that it will likely take a while for the company to ever post a profit.

Here’s another look, this time showing Tesla’s metrics as a percentage of GM’s:

MetricTeslaGMTesla (as a % of GM)
Employees (2016)17,800225,0007.9%
Vehicle Deliveries (2016)76,00010,000,0000.8%
Revenue (2016)$7.0B$166.4B4.2%
Profit (2016)-$0.8B$9.4Bn/a

Tesla is producing less than 1% as many cars as GM, but is worth more in market value.

That’s not to say that Tesla will not ultimately live up to expectations – but it does put into perspective the risk of banking on these future returns.

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Ranked: America’s Largest Semiconductor Companies

This graphic visualizes the market capitalizations of America’s 15 largest semiconductor companies.

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Ranking America’s Largest Semiconductor Companies

As our world moves further into an era of widespread digitization, few industries can be considered as important as semiconductors.

These components are found in almost everything we use on a daily basis, and the ability to produce them domestically has become a topic of national security. For example, in 2022 the Biden administration announced the CHIPS and Science Act, which aims to strengthen America’s position in everything from clean energy to artificial intelligence.

With this in mind, we’ve ranked the top 15 U.S. semiconductor companies by their market capitalizations.

Data and Highlights

The data we used to create this infographic is listed in the table below. Year-to-date (YTD) returns were included for additional context. Both metrics are as of May 30, 2023.

RankCompanyTickerMarket Cap (USD billions)YTD Return
1NvidiaNVDA$992180.2%
2BroadcomAVGO$33545.1%
3AMDAMD$20295.7%
4Texas InstrumentsTXN$1608.2%
5QualcommQCOM$1298.2%
6IntelINTC$12512.2%
7Applied MaterialsAMAT$11541.2%
8Analog DevicesADI$899.2%
9Lam ResearchLRCX$8552.1%
10Micron TechnologyMU$7842.3%
11SnyopsysSNPS$7145.4%
12KLAKLAC$6321.8%
13Marvell Technology GroupMRVL$5476.2%
14Microchip TechnologyMCHP$4211.2%
15ON SemiconductorON$3636.3%

At the top is Nvidia, which became America’s newest $1 trillion company on Tuesday, May 30th. Shares pulled back slightly over the day and Nvidia closed at $992 billion. Over the past decade, Nvidia has transformed from a gaming-focused graphics card producer to a global leader in AI and data center chips.

In third and sixth place are two of America’s most well known chipmakers, AMD and Intel. These longtime rivals are moving in opposite trajectories, with AMD shares climbing 770% over the past five years, and Intel shares falling 47%. One reason for this is the data center segment, in which AMD appears to be stealing market share from Intel.

Further down the list we see Applied Materials in seventh, and Lam Research in ninth. Both firms specialize in semiconductor manufacturing equipment and thus play an important role in the industry’s supply chain.

Trade War Impacts

As tensions between the U.S. and China escalate, chipmakers are becoming increasingly entangled in geopolitical conflict.

In October 2022, the Biden administration introduced new export controls aimed at blocking China’s access to semiconductors produced with U.S. equipment. This impacted several companies in our top 15 list, including Lam Research and Applied Materials.

Shortly after the export controls were announced, Lam Research said it expected to lose upwards of $2.5 billion in annual revenues.

We lost some very profitable customers in the China region, and that’s going to persist, obviously.
– Doug Bettinger, CFO, Lam Research

In response, China announced in May 2023 that it would no longer allow America’s largest memory chipmaker, Micron, to sell its products to “critical national infrastructure operators”.

This is not the first time Micron has been involved in a controversy with China. In 2018, the firm alleged that Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit, a Chinese state-owned company, had solicited a Micron employee to steal specifications for memory chips. The U.S. Department of Commerce imposed export restrictions on Fujian Jinhua as a result.

Chipmakers on both sides of the Pacific will be closely watching as competition between these two countries heats up.

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