Tesla Model 3 Outsold Small, Midsize Luxury Cars From 11 Automakers

Tesla Model 3 Performance

AUG 27 2018 BY MARK KANE 87

A Tesla tsunami hit the small and midsize luxury/premium car market in the U.S.

While most of the reports noticed record Tesla Model 3 sales in U.S. in July (14,250), and sales exceeding comparable conventional models, it’s still not the whole story.

Jest Me Living presents Good Car Bad Car’s data that shows that Models 3 is simply eating into sales volume that normally would be divided between other brands.

Telsa Model 3 alone outsold all small and midsize luxury vehicles from Infiniti, Volvo, Alfa Romeo, Acura, Jaguar, Audi, Genesis, Lincoln, BMW, Lexus and Mercedes in its category, depriving them all of any chance of growth.

We certainly would not be willing to take a role of senior manager at any of these now-beaten makes who will be tasked with the job of explaining the sale collapse to shareholders.

August sales will be reported by us next week and though numbers aren’t yet tabulated, you can bet the Model 3 will come out on top once again.

Small and midsize luxury car sales in U.S. in July 2018 (Source: Jest Me Living, Good Car Bad Car)


Source: Good Car Bad Car

Categories: Sales, Tesla

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87 Comments on "Tesla Model 3 Outsold Small, Midsize Luxury Cars From 11 Automakers"

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It’s simply better than the competition. These figures will continue for a while due to the huge backlog of orders — but regardless the competition has to be concerned!

Of course the competition is watching, and most have projects going behind the scenes to protect their market, but none are in panic…

I don’t know, VW and Silver Lake were willing to invest close to $30B in a private Tesla.

For VW it would have been money well spent. Imagine a Bulli van that could use Tesla Superchargers and such. They could still have it even if not with the major shareholder status.

totally disagree since the long lead times for models from the hidebound, stuffy, corporate nightmare manufacturers combined with their FUD PR campaigns in combo with big oil have left them vulnerable now. They misspent the time they had since the first return of the electric cars in the 90s that they easily crushed out. They thought they would be able to suppress it and delay it and now the day of reckoning is imminent and they SHOULD be panicked. If they aren’t they will be watching their industry rattle and shake as it changes or dies. I only hope that some of the morons who preside over these behemoths will actually get called out for the idiots that they are. Many of us have anticipated this unnecessary waste of energy spent fighting the tide and cannot wait to blow past all this tragedy to a day when emissions free driving is the norm. Could have happened decades ago.

@David Green said: “…none are in panic…”

Good to know the traditional car makers are watching and staying calm while Tesla has taken the #1 position for EV unit sales in North America and Western Europe by a wide margin… and continuing to gain additional market share each quarter.

No need for panic…

“Keep calm and ICE on”.

“Of course the competition is watching, and most have projects going behind the scenes to protect their market, but none are in panic…”

Or maybe those increasingly caught in an Innovator’s Dilemma are trying desperately not to show the very real, increasing level of panic that they are undergoing.


So now on top of claiming to be a past exec and investor, you’re claiming to have attended board meetings at all the top auto manufacturers?

Why am I not surprised?

nokia and kodak were not in panic either , until the customers disappeared.

Kodak spent billions on Digital Cameras at their inception before realising the market was heading a different way to what they expected. They basically wasted it by going early and too fast… Something established car manufactures are probably very aware of.

That and the vast majority of their income and profits was from film, they were a film manufacturer that made cheap cameras (the Gillette model).

None are in panic? BMW and GM comes quickly to mind


While BMW are probably very aware of Tesla and EV’s (considering they’ve been on EV’s for several years now) it doesn’t like like they’re going to be too worried.

Sales stable year on year (slightly up in fact), and Tesla won’t really be able to compete for another few years (with more factories and broader selection of vehicles).

The real question is, how will Tesla do in Europe and Asia?

The country with the highest per capita ownership of Tesla’s is Norway. I visited Oslo this summer and was tripping over them everywhere.

They will crush it over there… with gas prices over $5/gallon..it is cheaper to buy a Tesla 3 then get a free gas car.

I am definitely not a Tesla hater, shorter or FUDster but really would be significant if Tesla starts turning a profit soon. It would be such a shame for the company that showed the world how good EVs can be to start sinking beneath the waves.

Deben seguir invirtiendo en factorias

Si, y en China va fabrica nueva, tambien los carros alli hacer mas dinero y costo menos.

¿Qué pasa con los comentarios en español?

Hay una problema?

muchos garcias 🙂

Some ppl want to play games. Just reply in English. If any none native speaker wants to see it in English, just translate.

Nope. China will hurt, or at best , accomplish nothing for them.
They need to have factory in Europe.

Given the success of the Model 3 thus far, combined with ongoing success of Model S and X, Tesla would have no trouble raising capital if they need it any time soon.

PRIVATE capital, not from wall Street.

All eyes are on Q3, that is the consensus! I also hope that Tesla gets to the point where they can be profitable regardless of the ZEV credit program very, very soon, and then does the easily-misunderstood thing of not selling their ZEV credits. Why? Force manufacturers to “build more compliance cars” or get into the game with a real BEV line-up. Why do other manufacturers need force? Because they won’t do it on their own. If all you sell is an ICE, and it is cheap as a purchase price, 98-99% of buyers in the US will keep buying it. The remainder either care about the environment, or can do a TCO calculation, or think that BEVs are just amazing vehicles (or some: specifically Tesla). I think the one, major exception to this rule is Harley Davidson. They have been out-performed for years by BEV motorcycles, and their leather waistcoat-wearing, sunburned rebel riders are aging out of the market. Since BEV motorcycles are far less labor to build, as battery prices come down, it makes economic sense for the business. If $100 /kWh is the tipping-point for BEV cars, what is the tipping point for BEV motorcycles? $2000 electric… Read more »

Sure, please name another company that failed because of high demand for a product that they could not make a profit from.

Osbourne, gateway, etc. Plenty of examples where companies fail due to too much success.

I still have confidence that they are on the right path. You cannot make a big profit until the pieces are in place for the entire mission. Cars, Batteries, Solar, home batteries, Charger networks, manufacturing dreadnought, sales and service networks. Still reinvesting profits to better swamp the entire industry it plans on fully disrupting.

@paul k – How do you grow your business from producing few thousands cars a year to tens of thousands then to hundreds of thousands then … without investing any capital ? Same argument was used to complain about Amazon growing in the late 90’s to 00’s.

Yes, but would be nice to see M3 make a decent profit through Q4. Right now, Q3 is all about increasing production, starting a factory ( still think Europe will happen before china ), and 1-3 new vehicle lines. Add in growing solar and battery lines to that. As such, Q4 will likely be profitable to prove to investors that he can, and then he will return to massive growth.

Have to agree that Tesla needs to turn profit on M3, though I suspect they are. The problem is that adding the semi, pick-up truck, and/or MY along with new factories, will kill the profits.

Just like Model X ramp “killed” Model S profits, and Model 3 ramp “killed” Model S+X profits… Not actually a problem, as long as investors understand this.

The last time they raised money … it was 14 times call… which means they were given 14times more money then what they asked. It will be impossible for Tesla to go under… there is way too much cash available.. and if for some reason (impossible) they couldn’t raise cash.. Panasonic has enough cash to buy them outright.. since Panasonic and Tesla are married anyway.

With the declining interest of the US drivers in the non-SUV/CUV/pickup truck species in general, chances are that the TM3 becomes the best-selling sedan, period.

It will be tough for the Model 3 to outsell the Camry, Civic, or Corolla (the top sellers in July with more than 26,000 each) which have such a price advantage, but if Tesla does ramp up to 7,000/week, sustains it for a full month, and delivers all of those to the US, then they could indeed nab the #1 sedan spot for a given month.

They definitely will face challenges hitting and sustaining that kind of production, but it could happen, possibly even before the end of the year.

Given the current trend towards taller vehicles that has to do with utility and convenience and not with not the advent of the EV’s, it would not be the pressure from TM3 that may squeeze Camrys, Civics and Corollas toward the periphery of the US vehicle market; ironically, it could be their own brethren and sistren RAV4, HRV and CHR. So, the TM3 may occupy the abandoned sedan slot by default, so to speak.

Even more ironically, the same thing might happen to the TM3 when/if the TMY shows up, but we shall live and see.

I hope Elon isn’t compelled to get weird with Model Y. Model X is too small, IMO, and has a Murphy’s law cloud over it’s doors (FWD).

“Model X is too small” I disagree. Every time I see one, I remark on how huge it is.

Exactly. Right now they have 3 lines. They bring down/up these lines regularly to add/change the lines. That is why they float around 4000 cars right now.

Would love to see another tent/line be added.

That is NOT the case. Ppl are buying sedans, just not the junk being pedaled by Detroit. In addition, with Detroit pedalling trucks, SUV,xuv, Americans will buy that. But, rivian and Tesla are about cause chaos in the market when both release Trucks in 2019. Yes, I think rivian will release in fall of 2019. I suspect that next vehicle will be semi truck, followed closely by MY aND Tesla pickup truck.

IIRC Rivian itself says 2020?

Impressive and there are still 2 other shoes to drop: #1 is $37.5k (base model 3 in any color but black with delivery) – $48K (optioned up) Standard Range model 3 and # is model Y. In the case of #2, Tesla may have more competition.

35k not 37.5k. If you are accounting for federal tax credit being half of 7500 then it’s 31.25k

He said in any color except black ($1,000) and with delivery ($1,200), so the $37,500 is close. $35k with black paint and without delivery.

Steven, why on your EV range tracking list do you show Tesla Model 3 LR starting at 37500? Tesla does not offer any Model 3 under 49K on their website, and there is no mention of $37,500 anywhere.

The $37500 price is the GM BoltEV. Common mistake that the base GM vehicle is the same price, when it is more expensive. (once they start making the base Model III, of course!)

Except you can probably negotiate up to 20% off a Bolt EV, so the price you pay for a Bolt EV will be less and the Bolt EV is technically better equipped for that price, although I think most would prefer the Model 3 due to other factors like superchargers, available Autopilot (although cost goes way up) and over the air updates.

Good points, but I would also add that EVs from legacy companies — thinking in particular right now of GM, Nissan, Hynudai, and Kia — have the advantage of familiarity of the buying process. We ALL hate franchised dealers, and with very good reason, but the bottom line is that going to your local dealer, driving/picking out a car, negotiating a price, and then picking it up in a couple of days is for the vast majority of car buyers in the US much more in their comfort zone than is buying a new Tesla. (If I bought a M3 today, how long would it take me to get it?)

And yes, no one needs to remind me how dreadful many dealers are at doing anything related to EVs. I’ve mentioned on this site the mind numbingly bad experience I had with Chevy dealers when looking at Bolts early this year.

@Lou Grinzo – “If I bought a M3 today, how long would it take me to get it?” Not in 1 year if you want standard range Model 3. I had been waiting with thousands depositors since 2016 and nowhere to be seen the standard range yet.

@Viking79 – The main advantages of Model 3 over Bolt are styling – performance – handing and supercharger. Autopilot isn’t an advantage because it costs a bundle.

If you have the stomach to go to a traditional dealership ‘


If you can negotiate 20% off the bolt, then it shows how horrible sales are.

Even if they have more competition, it’ll be a much bigger market to steal sales from. Lots of Subaru and CRV drivers who would switch to EV as soon as the option is available. Model Y will probably at least equal Model 3 sales once production ramps up, which means Tesla might be selling 700K-1.2M EVs per year. That would be amazing, and would really force the EV revolution forward.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens. The three has the benefit of being just about the only “affordable” EV on the market at the moment, which helps a vehicle in a shrinking market. By 2021 (likely first sales date of the Y) most major manufacturers will have at least one EV SUV/CUV on the market. Given the likely increased price of the Y over the 3 I’d be surprised if buyers of CRV/Rogue/Santa Fe/Escape’s opt in droves for the Y over (cheaper) EV’s from the established mainstream players they are already buying from (Hopefully by this point battery supply becomes more fluid and less constrained than now). As with the current 3 it’s the BMW/Audi/MB/Volvo/Infiniti crew that need to be worried, and most/all of them will have at least one similar segmented EV out by that time (or earlier – e-tron, I Pace, iX3 etc). VW’s push with Electrify America should give non Tesla EV owners the same benefits of the supercharger network by that time too, so that wouldn’t be such a killer ASP as it is now. I doubt they’re going to sacrifice their most lucrative markets quite as easily as they have with their (largely) dying… Read more »

I agree Model Y may face Asian base model EV competition, for utility in a way Model 3 really has no sedan competition. Or, that MY won’t have as easy a home run. Behind that, may come cheaper Euro options.

Hyundai hasn’t used many of it’s credits, and as things stand that will be major for who wins the budget BEV segment.

Something I hadn’t really considered until reading your “credits” comment (although I assume you mean carbon credits not rebate) is the additional price differential all those non Tesla manufacturers will benefit from in the US, due to Tesla’s use of it’s rebate quota. That’s another $7,500 less all the other CUV’s.

It’s not just the Asian and European manufacturers, most US manufacturers will have at least one EV CUV by 2021.

GM will have used up its rebate incentives/ quota as well thus making the Bolt quite pricey for what it is vs the competition and especially the md 3 and possibly the M Y

Asians, other than nissan, will not. Both Honda and Toyota continue to think they can manipulate the market.

Manipulate how? Presumably you mean Hydrogen?

If so just because they’re investing in Hydrogen doesn’t mean they aren’t interested in EV’s. Honda already have one EV on the Market in Japan and are releasing at least one next year in Europe for example.

Ugh, if you think that M3 has no real competition, then u are not paying attention.

Awesome to see Tesla taking it to a larger market and crushing the competition. Seems to be an amazing car with potentially wide appeal. I know I would love to have one, though I’ll be waiting about 3-4 years to buy a used Model 3 built late 2018 or later (to avoid at least the worst of the initial quality problems they experienced, and to wait for the used car prices to drop way down.) It will be very interesting to see how Tesla manages the ongoing ramp up towards 8,000 cars per week … I expect demand will be there for years to come to absorb the supply if Tesla can produce them. Up next, and an even bigger potential seller: Model Y. Midsize sport-luxury crossover utility vehicle based on the 3, with comparable performance, much more interior room, and towing capacity. Entry level at ~$40k and optioned out Performance model approaching $90k. How soon can Tesla make it happen? The Y is definitely one of two new vehicles that Tesla is working on now … my guess at the other one is the Semi, given the amount of news we’ve seen about it since introduction. Roadster and Pickup… Read more »

I think they are a lot further along with the Semi than that. My guess is that they are going to wait until they hit a profit point, then start building out a General Assembly line for the Semi. My guess would be Nevada. They do need to sort out suppliers and start building the tooling, ordering robots, and so forth. With the War on Trade, that has likely gotten a bit more complicated.

I think Tesla currently designing the production Semi, incorporating the knowledge they’ve gained from the prototypes that are in the wild now. Once they have the final production design down, and the design of the factory line to build it, then they have to order the factory machines, build the line, install the machines, and build and test an initial pre-production test fleet … all these steps will take time.

It’s good and somewhat impressive that Tesla has some prototypes out touring the country, but from prototype to production is still a long way away even if Tesla skips some steps like they did with Model 3, (i.e. selling the initial pre-production test fleet to company insiders who are under non-disclosure agreement).

Semi isn’t going to use a lot of robots. Assembly will be on a manual line, like GA4 in the tent. Not even sure it makes sense to automate the chassis/body line or paint. Certainly not at first.

That reads like you think it will be very low-volume production. I don’t know why Tesla would be aiming for that, given the very high interest level. Do you see the initial Tesla Semi Truck as similar to the 2008 Roadster, a limited production vehicle, with the intent of developing a more commercial truck a few years later?

Do HGV’s and large vehicles currently have a large amount of machine assembly or are they mostly hand built now?

“My guess is that they are going to wait until they hit a profit point, then start building out a General Assembly line for the Semi.”

I very seriously doubt Tesla is going to wait on any profitability point to put the Semi Truck into production. Given the high level of interest in that, the sooner they can get it to market, the better. In fact, Elon might even start a new round of financing to specifically advertise for investors in the Semi Truck venture, given the high level of interest by many trucking companies.

I was surprised to see another current article here at IEVs suggesting that Tesla is about to wrap up pre-production testing of the Semi Truck. I’m fairly sure that’s incorrect. Elon has stated quite plainly that Tesla is going to produce a new design for the truck, following feedback from potential customers. Hopefully a second Reveal event will show something close to the actual production vehicle. The vehicles shown at the first Reveal event were likely more technology demonstrators or concept vehicles, and not production prototypes, just as I’ve been saying all along.

14K Model 3 sales and the market only expanded by 2K, looks like the ICE competition is hurting.

It is worse than that — look at the numbers in the last column, the totals. Those numbers do not include Tesla. Now compare that top total to the number of TM3s sold — Tesla now has about 20% of all sales in this segment. Even now — before it hits full production, with no advertisement, being actively anti-sold by Tesla, embroiled in manufactured controversy and negative news — the Model 3 is dominating the market. Once the various production quirks get ironed out & they ramp to 10k per week, the neighbor effect alone will make sales explode.

You can’t look at Tesla’s model 3 initial sales as a marker for their ongoing sales. Only after the initial demand has been satisfied will we know what they actual ongoing demand there is for the model 3. See the model S/X sales currently as an example. They have leveled off to where most people thought they would be.

Yes, do look at the Model S/X sales, and note how much higher annual production is than the initial pre-orders indicated.

You’ve reached the wrong conclusion, because you’ve ignored the way MS/MX sales have grown over the years.

Tesla’s global automobile sales totals:
2012: 2650
2013: 22,300
2014: 31,655 (+41.95%)
2015: 50,580 (+59.8%)
2016: 76,230 (+50.7%)
2017: 101,312 (+32.9%)

Not the shorts. They were way off.

Not surprising as there is a distinct lack of brain power amongs Tesla critics.

The Audi a3 and a4,BMW 3 &4 series and Mercedes c class numbers are huge,and Tesla mod 3 is going to dominate that segment,sure would like to be able to eavesdrop in those automakers Boardrooms!

Not really. The A4 was 84th best selling vehicle in the US last month, with the 3 Series 85th.

The premium sedan market is small fry compared to most markets. To put it in perspective Honda sold 10x more CRV’s than BMW 3 Series and Ford sold twice as many Mustangs.

It’s one of the reasons, if Tesla want to move from a small scale manufacturer, they need to start producing CUV’s and cheaper mass market vehicles.

Also interesting to see that both Audi and BMW group sales were up in the US YOY last month.


That’s not to say that BMW and Audi aren’t aware of their direct competitor though.

The problem with data like this it only shows half the picture. Tesla is winning the sedan sales in a declining market. Look at those same manufactures SUV/CUV sales. They are increasing faster than the sedan sales are decreasing. The question with Tesla is what is the saturation point for the model 3 – especially in California. Currently they are just filling a hole

The sedan segment has been hurting for a few years, just assuming a single yearly decrease is due to Tesla is too simplistic an argument. Take BMW for example, their combined US sales in the Small/midsize market (2,3,4,5 and i3 as in the table in the article) for the last 6 Julys look like this. 2013 – 14747 2014 – 19176 2015 – 14786 -23% 2016 – 15475 +5% (BMW sold 845 more i3’s than the previous year, more than the increase) 2017 – 12595 -18.5% 2018 – 9966 -21% This market peaked in 2014 for BMW, with a minor peak in 2016 due to sales of the i3. The drop in sales was 21% from 2017-18, but 18.5% from 2016-17. It jumped by 5% from 2015-16, in part due to i3 sales, but had it’s biggest fall from 2014-15 with a drop of 23%. I’m not going to work it out for every other manufacturer, but this trend is consistent among most. There was a drop of 5% in the small to midsize luxury market from 2015-16 and 13% in 2016-17. What we can say is the Model 3 has expanded a shrinking market, what we can’t say with… Read more »

Most of the competing models Tesla outsold have heavily subsidized lease and finance incentives to move the metal. Greater than 1/3 of all these premium sedans from other automakers are delivered as leases.

Tesla has no lease program available yet on the Model 3, subsidized or otherwise. It’s not hard to understand their confidence when they’re gobbling up market share with only the expensive versions available and only then through cash or market-rate finance purchase.

Throw in a ~$40k version and a lease and the volume will be incredible.

Model 3s gross margin is still lower than those subsidized leases, so it is impossible to offer that kind of lease.

Tell us what Model 3 margin is and how you know.

28% for the base.

According to other studies, base M3 is 28% profit margins. They have been claimed to be the highest in industry. And you think another car which at MSRP is already lower profit margins, then add in major cuts 10-20%, and they will then be higher margins?
You either work on Excell or have an MBA.

Is or will be? Musk himself said a few months ago that the base model would not be profitable if built then.

Are they gobbling up a marketshare that most OEM have pretty much left? Take a look at the SUV/CUV sales. They are increasing faster than the sedan sales are declining.

Some of you have indicated that MY will be based M3. I suspect that will not be the case. Assembly of M3 is cheaper than ICE, but, musk considers it too difficult and expensive.
I suspect that MY will be built the way that musk wants, which is using a combination of double ring network for backbone between switches and then, homeruns from local switches to controlled item. Then 2 different double ring power ( high and low voltage ). That will drop manufacturing and maintenance complexity.

No ICE car manufacturer would be profitable if they had to pay for the costs of incidentals of air pollution, wars to secure the supply of oil and the countless cancers created by synthetic oils and toxic chemicals needed to keep those poisonous engines running. Tesla has to do everything from scratch and against the tidal wave of rollbacks to the meager EV subsidies now that established politicos claim BEV don’t need any help anymore and in fact will penalize people with EVs with higher registration fees. Also not so subtle forced depreciation of the vehicles even though it makes little sense ie EV have fewer moving parts and are more reliable so a 5 year old BEV is almost brand new compared to a 5 year old ICE POS.