International Expansion Could Spark Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA) Stock's Next Great Run

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Tesla Motors Inc. (Nasdaq: TSLA) stock has seen a meteoric rise since its initial public offering in 2010 - up more than 1,200% in less than four years.

In 2014, TSLA stock has climbed nearly 70%, and in the past 12 months it's up 618%.

And now Tesla's international sales push could usher in the next growth period for TSLA stock...

In a statement yesterday (Tuesday) at the Geneva auto show, company officials announced that combined sales in Europe and Asia are expected to nearly double those in North America. Tesla anticipates a 55% jump in global sales for 2014.

TESLA MTRS
NASDAQ: TSLA
Jul 31
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Price: 223.30 | Ch: -5.62 (-2.5%)

Part of its international effort will be the release of right-handed-drive versions of its signature Model S sedan for the United Kingdom. Tesla will also begin offering leasing and financing programs in Europe, shortly.

The company also announced today that it will be opening 30 new stores and service centers in Europe as sales increase.

Tesla vehicles are currently sold in Belgium, Denmark, Switzerland, and Germany.

While upping sales in Europe is a natural next step for Tesla, its expansion to China could be a game-changer for the automaker...

Nasdaq: TSLATesla's (Nasdaq: TSLA) Expansion in China

Earlier this year, Tesla reiterated its plans to expand into China - the world's largest auto market.

Customers in China can reserve a Model S for 250,000 yuan, or $41,000, but deliveries of the vehicle aren't expected until the end of March. No specific number has been provided, but Tesla China's Vice President Veronica Wu has stated that "several hundred" vehicles have been reserved.

There is currently one showroom and one sales and service center set up in the country. They are both located in Beijing. The company is looking to open similar storefronts in Shanghai.

Because of "unavoidable taxes, customs duties and transportation costs," the Model S will retail at approximately $121,280 in China. That's about 50% higher than its retail price in the United States.

The Chinese government wants to see at least 5 million alternative energy-powered vehicles on Chinese roads by 2020. China's well-documented problem with air pollution is one of the driving forces behind the push.

"[China] could be as big as the U.S. market, maybe bigger. I don't want to get overexcited about it," Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk told Bloomberg in January. "Even without building there locally, it's always going to be the second-biggest market after the U.S."

And now the company is planning to develop free charging stations in China, much like the "Supercharger Network" Tesla has created in the United States. These networks allow Tesla Model S owners to drive long distances - even across the country - for free.

As Tesla continues to expand globally, investors are justified in wondering how high Tesla stock can go...

The Future of Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA) Stock

Nothing has been able to slow Tesla's momentum recently. In the past month alone the stock has climbed an additional 43%.

The news of the company's plan to expand globally is further sweetened by its recent "Gigafactory" announcement.

Last week, Musk revealed more information about the Tesla Gigafactory, which is expected to help the company produce up to 500,000 vehicles annually by 2020. The $5 billion factory and will employ 6,500 people and help the automaker meet rising global demand for electric vehicles.

Following the news, analysts at Morgan Stanley more than doubled their price target on TSLA stock from $153 to $320.

"We raised our estimates and price target after Tesla both fleshed out its plans for a 'gigafactory' aimed at driving battery cost down and raised a large amount of capital on highly amenable terms to fund its construction," Morgan Stanley Analyst Ryan Brinkman said at the time.

According to analysts surveyed by Thomson/First Call, four rate TSLA as a "Strong Buy," three as a "Buy," six as a "Hold," and only one as an "Underperform."

TSLA currently trades near $254, just down from its all-time high of $265. As Tesla expands globally and continues to increase its production, there is no telling how high TSLA stock can go in the long-term.

Do you own Tesla stock? What do you think about the long-term potential of the stock? Tell us on Twitter @moneymorning using #Tesla.

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