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If Tesla (TSLA) can be a tech company when auto sales falter, it can certainly be a car company when sales beat expectations. That’s how Wall Street sees it, as Tesla bulls are back on the rise.

Tesla shares have surged more than 25% in the past week on car deliveries that beat expectations, dwarfing the meager gains of the rest of the “Magnificent Seven.”

When CEO Elon Musk insisted earlier this year that Tesla is not a car company, the message shocked the stock price, even as sales were falling. While convenient, the message was true. And the edict appears to work both ways.

The stock’s surge is a testament to the power of touting an industry-leading product — a lesson for AI startups — and the benefit of making AI ambitions part of a broader business plan, rather than the only aspect of it. But conversely, it underscores that Tesla’s heady AI goals are still intimately tied to its car sales.

The combination of ambitious technological ambitions and selling cars is key to Musk’s sales pitch.

New positive vehicle delivery figures are counterbalancing the wave of negative sentiment.

Battered by rising competition in China, slowing demand at home, price cuts, layoffs and Musk’s own legal and business dramas, Tesla has been a Magnificent Seven laggard. But recent wins have a way of erasing past losses. And Tesla is riding a winning streak now, with an earnings report and a much-touted robotaxi unveiling just around the corner.

In a sense, Tesla’s fluid identity as a car company in good times and a tech company in bad times may be an obstacle to a clear business strategy. Is Tesla still looking to put a mass-market EV in every family’s driveway? Or is it a platform that orchestrates a fleet of autonomous taxis and pushes the boundaries of AI technology?

Of course, it could be both. And Musk is prone to wanting it all. Investors don’t seem to care which metaphorical hat the company is wearing on any given day. As long as the numbers go up. AI can do that. And for now, that includes cars.

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