Tesla Scorches Traditional Luxury Brands
Market supremacy for midsize internal combustion luxury cars has historically been a fierce battle between BMW, Mercedes, and Lexus.
But today, Tesla’s Model 3 is beating them all — and it’s a smackdown.
With more than 125,000 US deliveries in the first quarter, Tesla outsold BMW, Mercedes, and Lexus by at least 50,000 units. That means Tesla outsold lower volume brands including Audi, Cadillac, Chrysler, Dodge, Land Rover, Lincoln, Mazda, and Volkswagen. Tesla nearly outsold Subaru and was less than 10,000 units from reaching Ram.
And Tesla keeps moving forward — sales of the Tesla Model Y midsize luxury crossover are exploding. The closest Model Y rival, the Lexus RX with a gas-powered engine, trails nearly 3-to-1. “With Tesla’s recent sales performance, we can no longer think of Tesla as somehow a separate EV brand,” says Michelle Krebs, executive analyst at Cox Automotive. That’s quite an understatement.
Tesla’s Remarkable Performance vs The Industry at Large
Tesla, it appears, will absolutely own the market until other established automakers roll out enough new EVs to seize some market share.
The folks at Tesla have been busy. In past six months, Tesla’s sales numbers vs. the entire industry have been stratospheric. Tesla continues to suck up buyers — as they ignore worthy competitive models including the Volkswagen ID.4, Ford Mustang Mach-e, and Porsche Taycan. Tesla reportedly owns more than 70% of the EV market in the US.
Kelley Blue Book reports that Tesla sold 310,000 vehicles worldwide in the first quarter, with more than 125,000 of them in the US — 46,707 Model 3s in the US in the first quarter and a whopping 71,358 Model Ys in the same period. Wow.
Tesla Models 3 and Y vs Acura TLX, Audi A4, BMW 3-Series, Cadillac CT4/CT5, Lexus ES, and Mercedes C-Class
Want to compare? It’s no wonder that the Tesla Model 3 and Model Y are outselling midsize luxury cars such as the Acura TLX, Audi A4, BMW 3-Series, Cadillac CT4/CT5, Lexus ES, and Mercedes C-Class — all important models in this segment, with others that sell in lower volume. The supremacy of BMW, Mercedes, and Lexus has ended.
“With Tesla’s recent sales performance, we can no longer think of Tesla as somehow a separate EV brand,” says Michelle Krebs, executive analyst at Cox Automotive, which also owns Kelley Blue Book. “It is a full-fledged luxury brand that challenges and sometimes beats the established luxury brands.”
Here’s how Tesla stacked up to them in the first quarter in US sales:
- Tesla Model 3 – 46,707
- Lexus ES – 10,051 (throw in Lexus IS numbers and you get 14,513)
- BMW 3-Series – 8156
- Cadillac CT4/CT5 – 5236
- Audi A4 – 3597
- Acura TLX – 2991
Mercedes C-Class will come on strong later in the year, but the first-quarter sales numbers are way down due to model changeover.
And the Model Y, the results are essentially the same.
- Tesla Model Y – 71,358
- Lexus RX – 26,795
- BMW X5 – 16,477
- Mercedes GLE – 13,028
- Audi Q5 – 10,368
- Acura RDX – 7878
- Lincoln Corsair – 6944
- Mustang Mach-e – 6734
The chip shortage? Tesla’s cleverly side-stepped it.
Maybe it’s just another Elon Musk miracle, but to be sure, Tesla has managed the component supply shortages better than many other automakers. It’s been an amazing quarter.
Of course, one quarter is another chapter in Tesla’s wild ride—and the first-quarter sales results illustrates why some automakers are going all-in, ready to swear off piston power at a certain point.