Tesla becomes first American automaker worth $100 billion

Tesla’s market capitalization on Wednesday surpassed the $100 billion mark for the first time — an unprecedented achievement for a US automaker that positions CEO Elon Musk for a major payday.

Shares of the electric car maker were up 5.9 percent Wednesday morning, at $579.54, giving the company a valuation of $104.5 billion.

Tesla is the first US automaker to achieve a market value of over $100 billion. By comparison, General Motors is currently worth $50 billion and Ford $36.6 billion.

If Tesla maintains the valuation for a one-month and six-month average, Musk is in shape to bag the first installment of a multiyear pay package worth as much as $56 billion.

If Tesla’s market cap averages above $100 billion through late July, Musk will pocket $346 million worth of vested stock options. The South Africa-born billionaire does not take a salary from his car company, and only earns money through performance-based rewards.

Musk has eight years left to clear 11 more valuation hurdles, mostly centered around $50 billion increments, which would fetch him roughly $5 billion in stock each.

To earn the full award of $55.8 billion, Musk would have to lead Tesla to a market cap of $650 billion by 2028. Tesla’s board signed off on the compensation package in March 2018, when Tesla was worth $52.46 billion.

Tesla’s stock is up 126 percent in the past three months, ever since the company reported a surprise profit during its third-quarter earnings.

The company earlier this week announced that it was getting closer to building its first European factory in Germany.

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