While General Motors was preparing for President Biden’s visit to its retooled Factory ZERO in Detroit, another American car maker made headlines on Tuesday. Electric vehicle start-up Lucid blew past Ford’s market capitalization on Tuesday to become the world’s eighth most valuable car manufacturer, despite having delivered its first cars to customers as recently as October 30.
In its first earnings report as a public company, Lucid, a Newark, California-based EV maker had reported a surge in reservations to 17,000 vehicles, while also announcing that its first production car, the Lucid Air had been named the 2022 MotorTrend Car of the Year, beating big-name competition including the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Mercedes-Benz EQS and Porsche Taycan to win the coveted award.
Following in the footsteps of Tesla and Rivian, Lucid is the third pure electric vehicle maker among the world’s most valuable car companies, and it’s only a matter of time before it also surpasses GM to leave all of the (former) “Big Three” behind it. The fact that neither Lucid nor Rivian have delivered a relevant number of cars to customers so far doesn’t stop investors from rating them highly. The chance to catch an early ride with what could become the next Tesla seems too attractive to pass on for many, even though there’s a large element of uncertainty and risk involved.
As the following chart shows, Tesla, Rivian and Lucid are valued at a completely different scale to traditional automakers. Toyota, Volkswagen and Daimler, the three most valuable industry veterans, have a combined market capitalization of $505 billion. Tesla alone is worth more than twice that, combined with Rivian and Lucid, the top 3 EV companies are worth $1.3 trillion. Taking annual deliveries into account makes the difference in valuation even more striking. Last year, Toyota, Volkswagen and Daimler delivered 21.8 million cars to Tesla’s 500,000. That results in a combined valuation per delivered vehicle of $23,208 for the three traditional car makers vs. a whopping $2.6 million for the three EV upstarts.