Tesla Model 3 Outsells All Premium Mid-Sized Sedans In US Combined

Deep Blue Metallic Tesla Model 3 Gets Aftermarket ADV.1 Wheels

AUG 2 2018 BY MARK KANE 85

Legacy automakers cringe and head back to drawing board.

Tesla released a graph pointing out that the Model 3 outsold all other premium mid-sized sedans in U.S…. combined. But there’s a chance Tesla left off a possible competitor or two.

In July, that is. The same month the Model 3 blew away all sorts of previous records.

Over 50% share of the market in which you are playing, not even considering Tesla is selling EVs while others only mostly ICE, sounds to us like a serious blow for the legacy automakers.

In July, Tesla Model 3 sales exceeded 14,000 and there is serious risk that when Tesla doubles output to 10,000, it will take not 50%, but 75% of the mid-sized premium sedan market. Those legacy automakers had ought to be hugely concerned now.

Categories: Sales, Tesla


Leave a Reply

85 Comments on "Tesla Model 3 Outsells All Premium Mid-Sized Sedans In US Combined"

newest oldest most voted

I think BMW and several others already knew this was coming and that’s why they’ve been pushing electrification more and more the last few years and I suspect they have some great competitors coming soon, like Jaguar’s I-Pace. But I think companies like Lexus and Acura are probably screwed.

Going by BMWs announcements, they do not seem to have anything in this class before 2021.

Which is about right if they saw this 2016 after Model 3 reservations started. Maybe 2020.

BMW 3 series is in last year of the current iteration.

I have 2 neighbors that bought BMW’s M3 just this year. I suspect that in under 2 years, when 3 on up series sales collapse in 2020, and prices come down, these ppl will be very upset.
At that time, their 70K cars will be worth less than 10K.
Sadly, they will likely still be paying on it for another 3-5 years and it will only be at close tot he end of the loan, when resale value == what is owed.

As you point out, and most folks don’t realize, the ICE resale market is likely going to get crushed in the next few years for sedans soon to be followed by SUV’s and pickups.

An M3 is still an awesome track day car. While a TM3P looks like it will be a good track car as well, almost no tracks have charging facilities on site or even nearby so that kind of limits how usable it will be for that purpose.

You also have to wonder what TM3 depreciation is going to be if they truly do sell several hundred thousand of them. The argument can be made that those who spend $70K for a TM3P today might have a car only worth half that in a couple years.

What percentage of owners will run their car in a track? I think few so I don’t see an impact in sales due this reason.

Sounds about right.

I’d just convert my M-Car to Electric.

Even if Ford, BMW, or any of the others could match Tesla in electrification and powertrain tech in, say 2-3 years, and do it at scale, they’re still screwed. Why? Because, as laid out by Elon on yesterday’s call, Tesla is also years ahead of them in other areas having to do with autonomy, the car’s supercomputer, the interface, electronic infrastructure and architecture.

Ford might be able to match them here too in 3-5 years (doubtful), but Tesla is doing it right now and, importantly, doing it at scale.

Powertrain and Computer tech – That’s just two broad areas that I mentioned. There’s all the other areas where Tesla has either a huge lead, or a momentum advantage: Charging infrastructure, sales and service, manufacturing innovations, design and engineering culture. All of this is now being achieved at mass scale, which takes years for even a seasoned company to achieve once the tech is in place. Many legacy companies are still struggling with the tech! The public is not going to be forgiving and wait for them to catch up. Some of these legacy automakers will fall as a result.

They might build the car bodies. But where are they gonna get the batteries to put in them?

Tesla, with the help of Panasonic, has spent billions of dollars to control its own battery supply. The other auto makers, with the exception of BYD and to a limited extent Volkswagen…. not so much.

From Samsung, or maybe from CATL, who are both building battery factories in Europe right now.

And yet my friend can’t get his Jaguar I-PACE.
Weird right? Since big automakers should easily be able to make BEVs and trump Tesla.

The European factory will only have production of 14 gwh by 2022. Considering it’ll most likely be spread between hybrids, EVs and multiple automakers, it isn’t that much.

Nissan also built their own battery factory…

You might be missing that Toyota has the largest manufacturing base in the World, they now only have their assembly plants, but own a vast network of suppliers, Lexus will be ok… and Acura, maybe you missed that Honda is hooking up with GM in battery development… again, they will be ok….

I think there is something really important missing, it’s “outselling” in terms of deliveries. With 2 years of preorder backlog, pretty normal

As other commenters are pointing out regularly, the same has been said about Model S and then Model X; yet in each case, actual sales remained steady after working through the backlog…

Indeed, Model is already in its 7th production year! And still selling strong, which is unusual

That could change, soon. Yes, the TM3 is a smaller vehicle, but not by a whole lot, and given the range, same AP, and price, it’s leaving the MS in the dust! The Model 3 can go, according to Consumer Reports, 350 miles on a single charge: that’s RWD with aero wheels – a $43k combination!! Add EAP ($5k), and you’re still under $50k for a comparable 0-60 time (5.1s, according to Tesla, probably less in real life, if past experience holds true). Although the MS P100D can do 0-60 in 2.5 seconds, the P3D can do it in 3.5 seconds, which is very nice for $64k, before AP and paint. In Tesla’s lineup, only the MS 100D can match the range, and it’s twice the price! Unless people have the money laying around, or need a large vehicle, and/or REALLY want a sub-3 second 0-60 time, the Model 3 is going to continue to explode in popularity far in advance of Tesla’s ability to produce them. MS & MX are going to need range refreshes to justify the additional $$. Maybe the new versions will get the same AWD treatment that the TM3 has (reluctance rear/induction front) for improved… Read more »

The Model 3 is significantly smaller. Not exactly “small” (by European standards at least); but definitely smaller. And less premium in a number of ways.

While it’s true that S and X could need some upgrades to the newer technology, thus far demand hasn’t waned because of Model 3.

jp — Actually the CFO covered that issue in the conference call. Tesla recently opened up orders for just the Performance and LR versions (with PUP) to the general public. Tesla received many times more orders from non-reservation holders than they expected. Tesla actually had to increase projected delivery times on their website for that.

That excludes the SR and non-PUP versions. Most car companies don’t have waiting list. Uou don’t have to configure your order from the factory. You just go and buy off the lot with stock that is on average 60 days old.

What is behind the 2 years of reservation backlog is an additional backlog of people who would order a car but don’t want to put down a deposit for a reservation. That has already been proven to be bigger than projected. Behind them are people who don’t want to order, but would buy a car in inventory if they could test drive it first. This is likely by far the largest backlog of buyers long past the 2 years of reservations.

Whistle-past-the-graveyard. Verb. (idiomatic, US) To attempt to stay cheerful in a dire situation; to proceed with a task, ignoring an upcoming hazard, hoping for a good outcome.

I’m confused… Is this an anti-Tesla comment or a pro-Tesla comment?

I take it as meaning the legacy OEMs are the ones whistling. They tried to ignore this tsunami that was coming, thinking they could somehow stop it, when the best they can do is slow it down. At that, they’ve been effective. But there is no stopping a tsunami.

This gets real when we hit the “why wall” (or perhaps “why not wall”).

As in “why are you getting a gas car?”. Why not get an EV?

At this point, I think it’s fair game to point out to people with single family homes (easy access to electricity) that they are choosing to cause harm to people buy driving ICE. It’s like smoking. We need to apply peer pressure and begin to point out the harm they are doing. It’s effective among a certain percentage of people, and for those it’s not effective, they weren’t going to switch anyway.

Does anyone have that graph with absolute numbers of cars sold? The one from Tesla implies the growth of M3 happened at the expense of the other cars listed. That may or may not be true. The graph doesn’t say anything about it.

While we are at it, it would also be good to see absolute numbers of other car types in the M3’s price range, as well as numbers of non-premium sedans. There may be correlated too. M3 is in an entirely different product, it shouldn’t be compared to one specific segment of ICE cars.

Stop moving the goal posts.
What this shows is that their is already strong market demand for compelling, long-range EVs and that as the knowledge spreads about these vehicles and more people start to understand how they are superior to LICE, the demand will continue to grow.

Let’s hope that the laggard, legacy LICE makers will get on board and start putting out large numbers of their own compelling EVs to meet this demand.

Don’t see how Greg’s comment is “moving the goal posts”. His comment is quite reasonable, Tesla’s chart cherry picks certain d-segment premium cars/models.

It’s not “cherry picking” when the models picked are the leading sellers in that segment of the U.S. market. Well, the leaders other than the Model 3.

You could add other models which have only a small fraction of the sales of those listed above, but that wouldn’t change the overall picture.

I am not questioning the trend and I am pleased with the results. I just dislike misleading graphs. The news is good enough without distorting data.

It isn’t distorting any data at all. Top 5 competitors displayed in terms of market share and not absolute sales is an industry standard comparison. You wanting more data on more also-ran competitors and overall market trends doesn’t make industry standard top 5 market share comparisons “misleading” or “distorted”.

What you want is called “supplementary data” on top of “Market Share” data, that further breaks down or broadens data into more detail. You can find all that data you desire at goodcarbadcar or any of a number of other websites.

But supplementary data does NOT make these graphs of industry standard Market Share data “misleading” or “distorted”. They just provide different data. So the question naturally is, why do you want to move the goalposts and ignore industry standard Market Share data, and instead want to look at other data? You calling industry standard data “misleading” and “distorting” simply exposes the need for you to answer the question, why do you need to move the goalposts consider data wrong that car users have been using for decades?

Fair enough Greg, like Nix says you can get the supplemental data you seek if you look.

They list 4 specific models, it outsold the A4, 3er, Lexus IS, and C-Class. This is something like 14k Model 3 vs 13k others, you can go look them up from each brand. So it wasn’t the entire premium market, just specific competitors. However, if you look at individual model premium cars or even most brands of premium cars, Tesla cars outsold them (for example, Model 3 and S outsold all BMW cars in US 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, x1, x2, i3, i8).

Please call Model 3 by its name. BMW owns a legal trademark for M3, and in this context could easily be confused.

A4 sales in the US increased 17% year over year in July 2018. Just use the google.

We were just looking at the A4. Compared to the TM3, it didn’t make sense at all.
Every spec that mattered to us was inferior.

Goodcarbadcar reports the small and midsize luxury market sales here:


(That’s the June numbers – the July numbers won’t be out for another week or two).

The four models that Tesla is comparing itself to don’t match up with how GCBC breaks down the segment – they regard those as *small* luxury sedans, not midsize (which it reserves for the 5-series, E-class, A6, and GS). It’s not clear why Tesla would regard the 3-series as midsize and the 4-series as *not* midsize; same for the C-Class and CLA-Class.

If the 3-Series is a midsize sedan, then the U.S. luxury midsize sedan market is probably about 40K units per month, excluding Tesla. That would include comparably-sized sedans from luxury brands that Tesla has excluded altogether (like Infiniti, Cadillac, and Acura) and the other true midsize sedans mentioned above (plus the Lincoln MKZ).

That would put Tesla at about 25% of the market segment with the Model 3.


The Model S has taken the leadership in the large luxury sedan market quite a while ago, outselling the Mercedes S class, BMW 7 series and Audi A8. Cars that are often less costly than a maxed out Tesla.
Then came the shorts and said: No, that is not correct, you have to compare the Model S to the Mercedes E-class, the BMW 5 series, Audi A6, because that’s it’s class of cars to be compared with (albeit some of those being way cheaper).
If the Model S is in the same class as the above, than the Model 3 has to be one class lower, because of smaller size, or the Model S is one class higher, because of larger size.
In conclusion: Soon enough shorts will retreat to the next defense, “Tesla does not outsell every other vehicle with wheels combined (numbers including kids tricycles and skateboards), they are doomed for sure!”

Well, the shorts were wrong. The Model S is a large sedan, and the Model 3 is a midsize sedan – more akin to the 3-series than the 5-series.

Regardless, if the Model 3’s comparables are the 3-series and C-class – what GCBC considers small luxury sedans – then there are about 35K of cars in that vehicle class sold per month in the U.S. (excluding Tesla). The four vehicles Tesla uses in their charts don’t constitute the entirety of that vehicle class – heck, BMW sells almost as many of the 4-series as the 3-series.

US vehicle sales use to be posted monthly but after GM said they were only releasing them quarterly they decided to stop publishing the information n June 2018. They had published the numbers for years.

@Greg, those 4 cars are the key competitors of the Model 3, or do you think the Ford F-150 fits better? But! on the other hand the decline of the top4 can also caused by a shift from Sedans to SUVs in general if that is what you mean?

Not all… but 4 of the models at least. 😛

Given the trade-ins that Tesla has reported, one could expect also Honda to feel some hurt (quite a surprise for me).
BMW will be hit the hardest, though, and likely Daimler and Audi will feel it, too.
When the base model is out, every mid size sedan maker (not just premium) will likely see it in their sales numbers, when the smart buyers start calculating TCO, that surely will rise for ICE, given the lowering of emission standards by US government.

The trade-in data confirms something that many of us who follow the Model 3 progress have “known” all along: the Model 3 appeals to a large audience, many of them are first time EV buyers. Distribution of age and income among the Model 3 buyers is also spread out according to several surveys on Tesla-related websites.
When the Short Range Model 3 becomes available, we will know how far reaching the Model 3 really is.

Honda is the #1 selling OEM in CA. Guess which state also has the most TM3 owners…

Yea, I could see the Civic being outsold through the end of the year…

Sedans were already in a sales downslope in favor of CUVs. Thus Ford announced they would stop making sedans.

Saying there is a direct market share correlation with Model 3 is a stretch. Especially given Tesla’s own data of trade-in models.

I think it is telling to compare it to all of BMW US car sales 14,265 (Models 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, x1, x2, i3, i8) vs Model 3 sales of 14,250.

M3 Owned- Niro EV TBD - Former 500e and Spark EV,

Not really unless there was a sudden loss of interest in sedans, yet a direct delivery in of Model 3 starting in March 2018. The sum total sales tracking is pretty remarkable correlation. Tesla Model 3 is eating their lunch and dinner. Q3+4 2018 are going to be really interesting to see what BMW/MB/Audi do.

Yet the Model 3 is a sedan…

More importantly: it outsells all plug-ins of all other carmakers combined. Goes to show what difference making a serious effort makes.

This is only going to push the legacy automakers to focus more on trucks and SUVs. Part of me believes they don’t really care about the sedan segment anyway. Certainly not in the U.S.

But the real sweating is going to happen when BEVs creep into the CUV and SUV segments. When that happens, watch out.

This, and notice how GM, Ford, Ram etc have steadfastly avoided PHEV (much less full electric) SUVs and trucks?
Hell, all GM had to do was scale up their class leading Voltec and put it into some CUVs/SUVs/maybe light trucks and they would be in a dominant position going forward right now in these segments.
It is like they never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

Where the US laggard, legacy LICE makers will really “hit the fan” is when Tesla brings out a compelling BEV truck and Model Y.

Should also mention that the laggards are also screwed if the Trumpster gets us into a major Middle East war and petroleum prices sky-rocket.

I am guessing, but since Hatchback Owners are trading in for the Model 3 Sedan, this has begun already! Plus, if Model Y Knocks it out of the park on Next Years Reveal (With Even Bigger #’s of Reservations), they will have to make the move, fast, or Hang On for one tough ride!

I just looked up Honda Accord and Toyota Camry on good car/bad car. BOTH of their monthly sales are plummeting this year, and Camry dropped over the last 2 years.

Tesla Model 3 sales are impressive, however the graph is meaningless. It indicates Tesla sales have come at expense of other 4 models, but that may not be true.

It doesn’t indicate that, that is just supposition, but it does show that Model 3 sales are rising and average of those other cars are falling. However, there is certainly cross-shopping between these cars, so it is safe to assume at least some of the decline is from the Model 3.

The graph is presented to imply other three model sales have dropped by 55%, that is simply not true, while old 3 series is down comparing to last year, i think overall three German brand sales are flat comparing to last year.

It doesn’t IMPLY that at all. The graph is clearly marked “US MARKET SHARE”. Which means exactly what it means.

Market Share in a segment is an industry standard measurement. If you are reading what is clearly marked “Market Share”, and reading more into what Market Share means than what the industry standard understands it to mean, that’s not the fault of the graph.

That’s like saying “these metric tons don’t weigh 2,000 pounds, something is wrong with these metric tons”.

And a Metric for that would be “Tonnes”, or 1,000 Kg, but a 2,000 pound “Ton” is the other one!

The total of those four brands has declined.

I don’t have time to put together numbers, but I looked briefly and noted that Mercedes sales have dropped in July, but BMW is essentially flat (0.1% increase), and Audi is up 2.1%. So your notion of declining sales is not correct.

What is meaningless is your serial anti-Tesla FUD, agzand.

Then ignore it. What I post is none of your business. I never complain about your serial Tesla fan boy rhetoric.

Well done!

Now, could I hope that in a couple of years Tesla will take the TM3 chassis, make the body 6″ taller, give it a hatch instead of the trunk lid, call is Model Y and sell for about $35K in the US?

Capitalism at its finest. Come up with a car that cost 66% less to fuel, requires almost no maintenance and potentially you can drive for 1 million miles on the same drive train, a car that can practically drive itself and performance is far above it’s class…. this is a no brainer! If there is a superior product on the market, all inferior products should just fade out. People with half-a-brain are figuring this out now… about time!

And American made. Odd that there is so much anti-sell. The Model 3 is basically better all round: safety, efficiency, performance, environmentally, tech, convenience (charge while you sleep).

“a car that can practically drive itself”
Close…but no!

And the fun has just started. Six months from now, that number would be at least 2x higher @ 8000/wk production. The end of ICE age has begun.

Weird, haven’t heard much from bro1999, SevenElectrics, or KindaWeird since Tesla’s earnings call and the stock market opening this morning..

I have a feeling they are either in denial, starting a grieving process, or maybe too busy changing their freshly dirty “shorts” if they are smart enough to see the facts!
Actually, they are probably busy desperately scouring Seeking Shorters for something, anything to counteract what is happening and to reinforce their serial anti-Tesla bias.

“Seeking Shorters” LOL – priceless! 😀

Well, posters that were paid for spreading FUD probably are in a bit of a pickle right now, as their employers, the big shorts, run out of money and have to start cutting cost.
The unpaid independent ones that fought their lonely fight may have left their short posittions eventually, and see no longer need to help others that are still hodling on…

Enjoy it while it lasts.

Shrinking market segment and pent up demand helped.

That isss F’ing Awesome !

I do not expect this trend to fall off as the tax credit expires. Tesla did a damn good job with the Model 3 – the RWD version can go 0-60 in 5.1 seconds and go 350 miles on a charge for $43k. There is only one production EV that can do better on both parameters, and that is the MS 100D, with a rated range of 335 miles and a 0-60 time of 4.1 seconds, and it costs quite literally more than double (obviously, the P100D does even better… for a price). The only other advantages in the MS favor are a bigger vehicle (if needed), fancier interiors (if desired), and a nice rear hatch (practical).

The LR Base Model3 actually rips to 60mph in 4.7 sec.

Not bad at all!

Really?? Very cool!

Well, I spoke too soon – just got on Tesla’s website, and they just jacked up the base price by $6k. RWD with no options is now $49k. Paint upgrades increased by $500 (metallic paints are now $1500, the white and red are now $2k). The EAP is the same ($5k) and the AWD upgrade is the same ($4k).

@Mark Kane, we need an update on the price hike!!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big Tesla fan, but I do not see the model 3 as in the same class as BMW and the others.
So the fact that they sell more than them is an odd comparaison.

If they continue to ramp up, they may hit second spot at the end of the year (behind F150). That would be fantastic

What did Sandy Munro say about the Mod 3 tear down? ” Ignore this car at your peril”, and if Tesla had gotten the fit and finish right? “Even Toyota would be “Crapping their pants” ,well now that some sales or trade ins are coming from Toyota customers “Toyota might be Crapping their pants, I do know the MIRAI has RE-FUOOLING problems .LOL-LOL

Excellent news and I am very happy an American company pulled this off. I suspect BMW et al are already puckering about the other elephant (Model Y) that will be entering the room in the next 2-3 years.

but the model 3 is not a premium car lol