Toyota Follows Daimler, Decides to Dump Tesla Shares

Oct 24, 2014 01:00 PM EDT | Matt Mercuro

Toyota confirmed on Friday that it had sold some of its shares in Tesla Motors, but it may still work with the U.S. electric automaker on projects in the future.

The world's biggest automaker invested $50 million in the Palo Alto-based company back in May 2010 before Tesla's initial public offering in June of that year, according to Reuters.

At the time, Toyota said the investment would give it a stake of 2.5 percent, but the size of its current stake is unknown. The automaker won't disclose the timing or the amount of the latest sale, which was first confirmed in a report by Nikkei business daily.

"We have a good relationship with Tesla, and will evaluate the feasibility of working together on future projects," Toyota spokeswoman Kayo Doi said today in an e-mail to Bloomberg.

He added that the sale resulted from Toyota's "regular review" of its investments.

Tesla has been supplying batteries and motors for Toyota's RAV4 electric SUVs, which went on sale back in 2012. That arrangement will end this year however, after Toyota sold just 2,000 of the vehicles, according to Reuters.

Telsa CEO Elon Musk recently said the company could sign a new deal with Toyota sometime in the next "two or three years."

Earlier this week, Daimler AG confirmed that it sold its remaining 4 percent stake in Tesla for a gain of approximately $780 million.

The parent company of Mercedes-Benz took a 9.1 percent stake in Tesla for around $50 million back in May 2009.

Tesla provided technology for the electric version of Mercedes Benz B-class cars and Smart vehicles, according to Reuters.

Analysts said the sale could be a sign that the once-close partners now view each other as rivals in the competitive electric car market.

"There is a difference between working together and partnership. In our view the ties between the two companies have loosened over time," analysts at ISI Research said in a note, according to Reuters.

Tesla's shares were trading at $236 on Thursday, according to NASDAQ. 

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