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If Tesla (TSLA) can be a tech company even when car sales are down, it can certainly be a car company when sales are higher than expected. That's the way Wall Street sees it, as Tesla bulls are charging higher once again.

Tesla's shares have surged more than 25% over the past week, helped by better-than-expected vehicle deliveries, leaving the modest gains of the rest of the “Magnificent Seven” in the dust.

When CEO Elon Musk insisted earlier this year that Tesla was not a car company, the message sent the stock price soaring despite a drop in sales. Convenient though it was, it was largely true. And the edict apparently goes both ways.

The surge in the stock shows the power of promoting 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 sole aspect of it. But conversely, it underscores that Tesla's key AI goals are still closely tied to its car sales.

Combining high-tech ambitions with moving cars from one place to another has been a key to Musk's salesmanship.

New encouraging vehicle delivery figures buck the wave of negative sentiment.

Tesla fell behind in the Magnificent Seven, dogged by fierce competition in China, sagging demand at home, price cuts, layoffs and Musk's legal and corporate drama. But recent wins have gone a long way in erasing earlier losses. And Tesla is now riding a winning streak, with earnings reports and the much-hyped robotaxi unveiling just around the corner.

In some ways, Tesla's flexible identity as a car company when times are good and as a tech company when times are tough may be an obstacle to a clear corporate strategy. Is Tesla still trying to bring a mass-market EV into every family's driveway? Or is it a platform organizing a fleet of autonomous taxis that is expanding the limits of AI technology?

Of course, it could be both. And Musk wants it all. Investors don't care what metaphorical hat the company is wearing on any given day. Just as long as the numbers keep going up. AI can do it. And, for now, cars can do it, too.

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