Volkswagen CEO says Tesla's meteoric rise proves the most valuable company in the world will be in mobility

VW re-starts Europe's largest car factory after coronavirus shutdownReuters
  • Volkswagen's CEO is an outspoken fan of its competitor Tesla.
  • Herbert Diess said Tesla's second-quarter results last week were proof that mobility will be one of the most important industries of the future.
  • His comments come as Tesla's CEO Elon Musk once again toys with the idea of partnerships with competitors, even though past deals haven't completely panned out.

Plenty of people are feeling vindicated by Tesla's first-ever full year of profits, even competitors.

Herbert Diess, chairman of Germany's Volkswagen, said the results — which were a surprise even to the most bullish Wall Street analysts — only further prove the value that mobility will have in coming decades.

"Elon Musk delivers results that many did not think possible," he said in a LinkedIn comment translated by Business Insider. "They show: you can be profitable with electric cars. As one of few car manufacturers (Porsche AG also, for example), Tesla will drive through the corona crisis without a quarter of losses.Advertisement

"It confirms me: In five to ten years, the most valuable company in the world will be a mobility company — that could be Tesla, Apple or Volkswagen AG."

Despite plateauing sales numbers, Tesla's stock price continued to climb to record highs before and after its earnings report last week. The profit was made possible largely through opaque sales of regulatory credits to other automakers and worker furloughs, Tesla said. Still, investors praised the results, and Tesla remains more than twice as valuable as Volkswagen, which trades in German exchanges.

It's not the first time Diess has praised Tesla's successes, but the comments may have newfound weight as CEO Elon Musk voices renewed interest in potential partnerships with legacy automakers. Volkswagen is already in an alliance with Ford to work on electric vehicle tech, while other traditional manufacturers form agreements that have largely left Tesla in a field of its own.
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"Tesla is open to licensing software and supplying powertrains & batteries," Musk tweeted Tuesday. "We're just trying to accelerate sustainable energy, not crush competitors!"

Tesla's past deals with Mercedes and Toyota don't appear to have come to fruition quite yet.
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