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Handicapping Tesla's Fate: Independent Or Acquired?

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2013 Tesla Model S

2013 Tesla Model S

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It's been a great run for Tesla Motors these last few months.

The startup electric-car maker delivered 4,900 Model S luxury sport sedans from January through March, got a rave review from Consumer Reports, and reported its first-ever profitable quarter.

CEO Elon Musk even dropped hints that it might be working with Google on self-driving car technology.

But Green Car Reports argues that Tesla is unlikely to remain independent in the long term.

A few commentators--here and here--have suggested that Apple might acquire Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA], but that seems to stretch credulity.

Instead, the two carmakers that already own stakes in Tesla are by far the front-runners to take over the company--or at least expand the joint product development deals each has used to engineer low-volume electric compliance cars to meet California zero-emission vehicle requirements.

Those companies are Daimler, which makes Mercedes-Benz and Smart cars, and Toyota.

Green Car Reports suggests that Ford, not currently a believer in electric cars, might be a logical acquirer for Tesla as well.

What do you think? Can Tesla stay independent while it grows, or is it bound to be bought up by some large global automaker?

Leave us your thoughts in the Comments below.

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