Move over GM: Tesla is the most valuable USA carmaker

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Tesla's market capitalization is now bigger than General Motors', making it the largest US based automaker by that metric.

The Model 3 - the company's first mass market auto - is a pitch to middle class drivers and a key component in Musk's vision to mainstream the electric vehicle. Tesla past year sold 84,000 cars, generating United States dollars 7 billion in revenue.

Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) shares continued to rise Monday, reaching new all-time highs, as investors are betting on the future of the company.

"We have driven a Tesla for seven months in preparation for this report, and after conducting investor meetings with the company last week, we're finally ready to take a stand", the firm's analysts, led by Alexander Potter, wrote in a note to investors published Monday morning. Tesla (TSLA) stock ended at its highest closing level ever, $303.70, last Tuesday.

She adds that while Wall Street focuses on more traditional criteria - like profitability - for established companies like Ford and GM, "Tesla kind of gets a free pass".

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Some are much more pessimistic about Tesla CEO Elon Musk's ability to move past both companies based on market fundamentals. Ford (F), now the third-largest US carmaker after Tesla surpassed its valuation last week, sold 6.7 million. Tesla is expected to lose more than $950 million. Tesla's shares now trade at $309.

By contrast, General Motors-which sold roughly 20 times the number of vehicles during Q1 2017-is worth a mere $50.3 billion. Tesla is also known for bleeding cash and hasn't really turned a major profit while GM is a profitable company that has survived even the worst of market conditions. Ford and GM produced more than 1 million vehicles in 2016; Tesla sold 80,000.

Analysts cited a number of geopolitical questions that are crimping stock prices, including uncertainty over the Syria situation following last week's U.S. bombings of the country, and anxiety over the upcoming French presidential election. The most basic and oft-referenced way is to talk about a company's market capitalization - literally how much a company is worth based on its stock. Musk's more-affordable Model 3 sedan, scheduled to roll out later this year, will be critical to his ambitions for Tesla to transform from niche carmaker into a mass-market manufacturer. The Barclays analyst also believes that they will face significant challenges from their rivals in the electric vehicle industry.

What people want to know is whether the Tesla Model 3 would beat the Chevrolet Bolt in a single-charge range comparison.