Toyota Motor sells share in Tesla Motors Inc

Toyota Motor Corp said yesterday it had sold some shares in Tesla Motors Inc but that it would continue to study possible cooperation with the US electric car maker in the future, Reuters reported.

Toyota, the world's biggest automakers, invested $50 million in the Palo Alto-based startup in May 2010 ahead of Tesla's IPO in June that year.

According to Toyota, at the time of the investment it had a stake of about 2.5 per cent, but the size of its current stake was not clear. The Japanese car maker said, it would not disclose the timing or amount of the latest sale, which was first reported by the Nikkei business daily.

According to Toyota spokesman Ryo Sakai, the company would continue to have good relations with Tesla, adding that the sale resulted from Toyota's regular review of its investments.

Tesla's shares traded at $236 on Thursday, up from their IPO price of $17.

Tesla had been supplying batteries and motors for Toyota's RAV4 electric SUVs that went on sale in 2012, though that arrangement would end this year after Toyota sold just 2,000 of the vehicles.

According to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, the company could sign a new deal with Toyota over the next two to three years.

Meanwhile, Daimler AG, the parent of Mercedes-Benz, also said earlier this week it had sold its remaining 4 per cent stake in Tesla for a gain of $780 million. Daimler had acquired a 9.1-per cent stake in Tesla for around $50 million in May 2009.

According to The Next Digit, the move came from the company as a result of the rivalry that had been an ongoing concern between the two companies.

Daimler had also recently invested in its Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive and electric powered smart cars. According to analysts, Mercedes-Benz looked at Tesla as a rival in the market, especially that of the electric car market.

Earlier, when Tesla Motors announced its patents to the world it hoped that other automakers would follow the lead and help in the development of electric vehicles.

However, it did not work out that way for the company and Daimler took Tesla as a rival and consequently, sold off its shares.

According to commentators, Tesla ended up on the losing side as its transparent opening about patents was misinterpreted by rivals (See: Tesla Motors to give away its patents).