Tesla Model 3 Breaks Into Top 5 Best-Selling Passenger Cars In U.S.

Tesla Model 3

SEP 6 2018 BY MARK KANE 52

Tesla Model 3 is now the 5th best-selling passenger car in the U.S.

Tesla Model 3 devoured the competition of any kind, regardless of powertrain type.

In August, sales increased to around 17,800, which is an all-time record for any plug-in model.

Good Car Bad Car sales stats (with higher estimations of Model 3 sales than ours – 20,450), shows Model 3 is now the fifth best-selling passenger car in the country (it would be at our 17,800 figure, too)! Only the high-volume Toyota Camry, Honda Civic, Honda Accord and Toyota Corolla Family were able to sell in more volume, but at full swing of 10,000 cars a week and 40,000 a month, it’s just a matter of time before the Model 3 rises to the top.

Passenger car sales in U.S. in August 2018 (Source: Good Car Bad Car)

Comparing Tesla Model 3 to all kinds of cars (trucks, SUVs, etc. included), in August it was 18th based on our estimations or 15th according to Good Car Bad Car. Either way, it’s in an amazing position.

Car sales in U.S. in August 2018 (Source: Good Car Bad Car)

Source: Good Car Bad Car via Teslarati

Categories: Sales, Tesla

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52 Comments on "Tesla Model 3 Breaks Into Top 5 Best-Selling Passenger Cars In U.S."

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Wow – The number of Ford F-Series sold is simply staggering… Tesla needs a pickup truck, before they need a Semi, looking at the above…

Tesla would likely come in at the very top of that pickup market, and initially only compete for a small sliver of that market. Probably well above the $50K initial Model 3 price, and then work down from there.

Each Semi they build will reduce oil consumption by orders of magnitude more each year than each pickup they build. And it would instantly drive a ton of competition and draw in many other companies to build EV Semi’s. The shipping world is just so cost competitive that they would have no choice. The world really needs the Semi’s more.

But gasoline consumption is threefold vs diesel consumption. So yes, very small volume semi vs very small volume pickup, the semi uses more per month but the problem is there are 1,000s of pickups and cars vs one semi being used, so your proposal doesn’t really hold much weight as a solution to the problem.

Just a few thousand Tesla semi isn’t going to change the trucking industry any time soon.

On gas consumption, even with being the bellwether of the US , California has more EVs than any other state but gasoline consumption was actually still growing. So not making huge progress there either.

All these changes are going to come slow, it’s just reality.

The Thing is, Semi Fleets Buy based on Numbers, and Pickup Buyers make more Emotional Decisions, I suspect! So – Until Tesla Can Get the Cost Down, and still give the hard numbers that Pickup Buyers think they get in their Silverado, Ram, or F150, it might not be wise to go there. But – Just as soon as they can deliver an all around whipping of them – go for it!

Tesla’s plan is fine. The pickup sector is already about to get preliminary disruption from the likes of Workhorse and of course, the next recession which is becoming overdue at this point. Meanwhile, gas consumption is increasing in California due to the housing crisis, but I’d expect it to plateau soon now that EVs with decent range are beginning to show up in more affordable segments.

Yes, thousands of Tesla semi’s will absolutely move the industry.

Unlike passenger truck buyers, Fleet truck buyers are well-known extreme bean counters. And even if they can’t buy one of the first thousands of Tesla Semi’s once they are proven, they will demand EV trucks from other suppliers. This is very much an S-Curve situation, where proving that the Tesla Semi will increase profits will trigger a pivot in demand throughout the industry.

The other thing to consider is that a Tesla Semi will likely be operated for approx 11 hours a day (current FMCSA 11-hour rule for truckers). While a passenger pickup will likely only operate for 10% that time a day. Multiply that by the bigger fuel savings of a Semi vs. a passenger truck, and the savings from a Semi becomes evident.

No reason, Tesla shouldn’t aim for very top of the pile. Tesla S of pickups 😉 So 80-90k not 50.

Exactly. They can’t compete with F-150 but the F-650/750 super duty market includes a lot of short-range haulers where the scaled-down Semi that Musk hints about could work.

Or at least the Model Y, If you look at the small SUV’s on the list, there was about 200K sold this month.

Have you priced out trucks lately? I’m seeing prices of 65K every time I look. Sure there are some loss leaders, but most of them are expensive.

oops, that reply meant for @Nix

Median prices are in the $40-50K range. I believe the initial Tesla truck would be well above that $50K median price.


What you’re looking for is called the ATP or “Average Transaction Price”…Here’s one article where Ford states the F150 has an ATP of $35,800 for May 2018…


Interesting. I would have thought that the F150 ATP would be $45k at least.

there in the 40k-57k range

Yet Ford stock was recently downgraded to almost junk status. Maybe deriving 90% of global profits from F150 makes Ford the one trick pony people don’t like to bet on. I wonder what a 200KWh battery Tesla super truck will do to F150 sales some day.

To piggyback off of what Nix said, the Tesla pickup would be a luxury niche vehicle with the primary buyer most likely using it to tow their boat…It’ll most likely be more expensive than the S…However, we’re probably a minimum of five years away before the pickups are delivered since Tesla will be very busy with global Model 3 deliveries, the $35K Model 3, the Semi, the Roadster 2.0 and the Model Y…

Well, Walmart just ordered 30 more Tesla semis based on how well the first order of 15 they haven’t gotten yet so hey, you can’t beat success LOL

With these 30 going to Canada near Toronto, that’s going to be great seeing how well they work in that tough winter climate.

Rivian’s pickup starts at 50k and will be at the LA show this year

How cute, you actually believe them…

I think breaking into the Semi market will help their success in the Pickup market. It is very difficult to win sales in those segments from loyal buyers. It is sort of like inserting yourself as a 3rd party candidate in the US election process…

The semi’s are going to be very niche and may spend a lot of time doing promotional events for the owning company (“bring the kids to Walmart from 9-3pm and take a selfie with the Tesla Semi”) vs driving…

I am thinking halo effect. “Tesla makes real trucks, they can make pickups too.”

from reuters this morning:
Ford recalls two million trucks to address seat-belt fire concerns

Yeah, and Ford is going to have to take 2 million of those trucks back for a recall.

While the top two pickup sales are staggering, they are pretty much alone at the top… Total size of the segment is (thankfully) still much smaller than SUVs or even sedans. And it’s almost certain to be a tougher segment for EVs to break into. So sales prospects for a Tesla pickup are not nearly as good as looking at the F-Series sales would suggest. Similar to the Roadster, it would be more important as a statement than as a volume seller.

(Also, doesn’t “F-Series” suggest that’s actually a bunch of different vehicles, thus not really comparable to other entries in the list?…)

..and this in a world where passenger car models are falling out of favor and by the wayside.
To me it really encapsulates the true demand for the ev, which has continually been minimized by those who would rather have us believe it’s just not happening. au contraire mon frere.
So I watched Autoline and their report on August vehicle sales, no mention of Tesla, at all.
Starts around minute 1:00,
Paraphrasing from the report: ‘passenger car sales fell dramatically, all makers suffering from significant drops with an average of
– 20%, and it appears to be getting worse.’
There’s something happening and they don’t know what it is, do they Mr. Jones.

A rather sedate view of the subject, and one that does mention Tesla, unlike autoline, who ignore the elephant in the room.

Looks like GM sales are missing from their stats.

When they are added, the outcome will still be the same.

I noticed the GM figures missing too. It will push Tesla down for overall sales from the 15th or 18th spot as listed in the article. GM sells a lot of Trucks & SUVs.

GM doesn’t report monthly anymore.

Neither does Tesla, but they’re listed.

Of course Tesla has a lot more stalkers than GM 🙂

It’s a LOT easier to calculate Tesla because many states offer credits and rebates for zero emission vehicles. As a result, it is easier to extrapolate numbers from the state agencies that report rebates on a monthly basis.

how would Tesla compare with numbers per US delivery locations vs Toyota and Honda? Bet it is not even close…

Like it or not, currently Tesla is considered a Luxury brand, therefore Lexus and Acura are much more equal comparison…

Toyota Motor Co (includes Lexus and Scion) has ~1500 US dealers and delivers ~210k cars per month. That’s about 10x as many as Tesla with about 20x as many stores. So Tesla now delivers about twice as many per store as the average Toyota dealer, but fewer than their biggest dealers.

What’s amazing is the number of cars Tesla is selling in the 50-150k price range. Yes, they’re filling pent-up demand, but still.

Do any of these sales reports come from Wards?

The reason is I understand Wards uses vehicle registration data.

“Only the high-volume Toyota Camry, Honda Civic, Honda Accord and Toyota Corolla Family were able to sell in more volume, but at full swing of 10,000 cars a week and 40,000 a month, it’s just a matter of time before the Model 3 rises to the top.”

Please, get a good night sleep, then hit a delete button on that line. Tesla even in future base trim will sell for way more then above cars. Sure some trims from those cars are higher priced then future base trim, but by volume most are cheaper. There is nothing that will compel such masses of people to buy more expensive cars. They buy what they can afford, and $35k is what upper HALF of the market can afford.
Please hit that delete button.

(Tesla will climb in sales by simply eating up upper halfs of more markets. EU? Asia? Richer parts of Africa? They all have markets for entry luxury models – and that’s what base Tesla trim is – entry luxury.)

People will start to realize the price of the car itself is not the only thing they have to pay for in the total lifetime of the car after hearing more from friends who already drive electric.

You DO understand that Tesla already has the orders to support a 10k/week production level for several months, right?

Given the number of 3 reservation holders, they would probably have around 38 weeks/ 9 months of 3 sales at 10k 3s a week. Plus they will have the reservations made in that time, so even if they do average 10k sales a week for 9 months, they will still have unsatisfied demand for the 3.
But I think Tesla is going to grow their sales rate a bit more slowly going forward from here. I dont think they will hit 10k week/40k mth until the middle of next year.
Regardless, the next 12 months are going to be entertaining! Getting to 25k 3s sold in a single month is going to be huge!

“… hit a delete button on that line”

Yeah, if/when Tesla builds 10k Model 3s per week almost half of them will go overseas. I can see them doing 25k+ in the December tax credit rush, but 30k+ is very unlikely.

” $35k is what upper HALF of the market can afford.”

Their trade-ins show they’re grabbing some share from $20-30k cars even at their current price. If they can get manufacturing costs down they’ll be able to grab more.

Considering that the Model 3 has no real competition at this point, while the various combustion models have to fight for market shares among each other, it is actually plausible that Model 3 might outsell each individual combustion car model, even while being more expensive…

Not likely to happen any time soon though, since they will start exporting to other markets by the time they reach this level of production.

All it takes is a couple thousand per year from each of the current 4 best selling sedans to put the Model 3 at the top of the list. I agree that the reason sales are so strong for these models is the cost of the lower trims. But those looking at the highest trims of those 4 models could easily consider and afford the Model 3. I could see the Model 3 taking the 3rd position relatively quickly. Taking the #1 spot is still a maybe, but it’s not impossible.

I was looking at Inside EV’s Sales Charts, and Noticed Model S Started in June, 2012, and by the end of the year Total (USA) Sales were 2,650, while Model 3 Started (USA) Sales in July 0f 2017 and by the end of the year, it’s total (USA) Sales were 1,772! So – Model S Sales Ramped up comparatively more Quickly at the beginning! Then I noticed that the Whole of Tesla’s First Full Year of Model S (USA) Sales, in 2013, came to 17,650, While The Month of August, 2018, Model 3 (USA) Sales Alone – Came to 17,800! So – Model 3 Sales are catching up Fast! Also – Tesla Model X (USA) Sales Began in September of 2015, and by the end of the year had a (USA) total of just 214 Sold! However – that picked up pretty good in 2016, with First Full Year End Total of Model X (USA) Sales at 18,223, Just over the August 2018 Monthly (USA) Sales of the Model 3 as reported at 17,800! Full year of Model X (USA) Sales for 2017 were 21,315, and for the Model S it was 27,060 USA Sales! Maybe September’s USA Model 3… Read more »

Model 3 didn’t really start sales until end of Dec 2017, as the “buyers” couldn’t sell the cars they “bought”.

Not sure why you compare first year sales, with different numbers of months in the first year for each model. If you add January 2018 for Model 3 for example to get the same number of months as Model S had from June 2012 to December 2012, Model 3 is higher…

When are you going to make a chart by revenue and model? Model 3 is probably beating everyone.

“Only the high-volume Toyota Camry, Honda Civic, Honda Accord and Toyota Corolla Family were able to sell in more volume”,

Trump clearly making America great again. Ironic that the only competitive US car has been created by a ‘tree hugger’. 😉
BTW I realise the market is about trucks

That’s a common misconception. The overallluxury sedan market that the Model 3 fits into wasn’t down YoY in July or August so it’s not like people are choosing trucks over cars there. They’re just choosing one car in particular. It’s kind of sad that Tesla is pushing automakers into the SUV market until they can come up with their own long range EV’s.

its 17,800, and GM sales are not reported