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Billionaire investor makes bold claims on Elon Musk's Tesla successes: 'Such a wonderful propagandist'

"[He] talked the stock up way ahead of any possibility, and then he sold lots of stock."

"[He] talked the stock up way ahead of any possibility, and then he sold lots of stock."

Photo Credit: Getty

Tesla's success in the last decade seemingly came from nowhere. According to Licarco, the company sold around 100 Roadsters in 2008, but five years later, 22,477 Model S models found their way to customers.

Fast-forward to 2022, Tesla shifted over 1 million units of its Model X, Model S, Model Y, and Model 3 vehicles. Up to July 2023, Tesla's cumulative sales total stood at just over 4.5 million cars. 

It's been a huge success story in the electric vehicle space, providing climate-conscious motorists with high-performance cars that emit zero tailpipe pollution.

While it looks like the Tesla boom emerged from thin air, billionaire investor Jeremy Grantham believes company CEO Elon Musk also generated money in similar circumstances. 

Speaking on The Compound & Friends podcast, shared by Fortune, Grantham said that in 2019, he predicted the company might not exist two years later, citing a lack of earnings for its possible demise. 

But Grantham added Musk's ability to convince helped keep the company alive, talking up the company stock and finding willing buyers.

"[Musk] was such a wonderful propagandist that he talked the stock up way ahead of any possibility, and then he sold lots of stock," Grantham observed. "Got a lot of assets. Talked the stock up again. Sold a lot of assets over and over again until he had generated out of thin air a massive amount of real buying power which went straight into these megafactories."

"It was almost miraculous management generating the money out of thin air, out of b******* and charisma," he added. 

Grantham isn't the only investor who has recently talked up Musk's business acumen. Discussing the new biography of Musk by Walter Isaacson with CNBC, Rob Baron said he expects Tesla's stock to grow fivefold in the next seven years, crediting the company's focus on software for its likely future success.

"Tesla is going to be like Intel inside of [computers]," Baron said. "That's going to be Tesla."

Meanwhile, Tesla's efforts to remove more carbon-polluting vehicles from the roads are proving successful.

According to data from S&P Global Mobility published by Reuters, Tesla sold 325,291 EVs in the United States in the first six months of 2023, more than all of its closest competitors combined.

Research published in the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews journal via Science Direct found that life-cycle pollution from electric vehicles can be up to 89% less than internal-combustion-engine equivalents.

So, Tesla is doing its part to reduce planet-warming pollution and improve air quality on and around the world's roads.

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