Everybody wants a good deal, and there are different ways to find one in the stock market. Some investors play it safe by buying blue-chip companies with consistent profits, while others take a riskier approach by betting on comeback stories like Ford Motor (F -1.91%).
Let's dig a little deeper to find out why this American automaker might just offer some of the best investment bang for your buck thanks to the fast-growing electric vehicle industry.
EVs could supercharge growth
Consulting firm Deloitte expects electric vehicle sales to grow at an annual rate of 29% -- to 31.1 million units and 32% of all new car sales by 2030. Ford's management doesn't plan to miss out on this opportunity, with CEO Jim Farley stating: "We are not going to cede the future to anyone when it comes to electric vehicles."
Ford is investing $29 billion in its electric vehicle program through 2025 with plans to target segments where the company already has a competitive advantage, such as pickup trucks, transit vans, and the Mustang sports car platform. Ford's all-electric Mustang Mach-E crossover has already gone into production and is expected to be available for consumers this summer. And its iconic brand (coupled with dashingly good looks) could help it hold its own against Tesla's (TSLA -5.00%) Model Y -- the current market leader in electric vehicle SUVs.
Ford will also benefit from a $7,500 federal tax credit for its first 200,000 EV sales, a perk Tesla has already used up. And the company has named Alphabet's Google Cloud its preferred cloud provider, with plans to roll out Android operating systems in millions of its cars beginning in 2023.
A relatively low valuation
The rapid expansion of the EV industry has led to shockingly high valuations among some high-profile players. Tesla boasts a forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 200 and a market cap of $752 billion. Upstart EV maker NIO (NIO -2.57%), which isn't profitable on an annual basis, trades for 32 times sales with a market cap of $89 billion -- almost twice the size of Ford.
Ford has a market cap of $47 billion and a forward P/E multiple of 12, making the stock a great way to invest in the EV transition without all the hype that may be inflating the share prices of its rivals. The automaker will face some competition from modestly priced General Motors, which is also pivoting to electric vehicles, but Ford's efforts to streamline its business model could give it an edge. The company is already enjoying the fruits of its restructuring program -- which has seen it cut unprofitable vehicle lines and eliminate staff redundancies to boost margins. In the near term, investors should expect Ford to become smaller (in terms of revenue) but also more profitable.
Fourth-quarter revenue fell 9% to $36 billion because of lower vehicle sales volume. Ford offset this trend with higher net pricing and an improved product mix leading adjusted EBIT to soar from $500 million to $1.7 billion year over year. The company now boasts an EBIT margin of 4.8%, up from 1.2% in the prior-year period.
Ford is a strong buy
Ford stock is dirt cheap compared to much-hyped electric vehicle rivals like Tesla and NIO, making the company a good bet for investors who want to get in on the ground floor of this rapidly expanding opportunity. While the automaker has historically struggled with low margins, its compelling EV strategy and rock-bottom valuation make it a top choice for value-conscious investors.