Tesla Model S Outsells BMW 7 Series, Audi A8, Mercedes-Benz S-Class and Lexus LS in US in Q1 of 2013

5 years ago by Eric Loveday 16

Model S Sales in Q1 Trump All "Large Luxury" Competitors

Model S Sales in Q1 Trump All “Large Luxury” Competitors

In the first quarter of 2013, Tesla Motors claims to have delivered in excess of 4,750 Model S vehicles in the United States.  That figure, in the plug-in vehicle category, puts the Model S ahead of all of its competitors, but the Model S doesn’t really face competition in the plug-in segment.

Sales of the Mercedes-Benz S Class Came Closest Out of This Group, But the Model S Still Blew it Away

Sales of the Mercedes-Benz S Class Came Closest Out of This Group, But the Model S Still Blew it Away

We’d argue that Tesla’s main competitors aren’t plug-in vehicles, but rather luxury sedans from European and maybe even one Japanese automaker.

So, how did the Model S stack up against its conventionality powered “large luxury” competition?  Well, here’s a look at the Q1 US sales results for the Model S’ closest competitors.

  • BMW 7-Series: 2,338 units
  • Mercedes-Benz S-Class:  3,077 units
  • Audi A8:  1,462 units
  • Lexus LS:  2,860 units

The logical question that follows would be related to price.  Does the Model S outsell these vehicles because it’s cheaper?  No, that’s not the case here.  Below you’ll find the base MSRP for the cheapest version of all of the vehicles listed above.

  • Audi A8 $72,200
  • BMW 7 Series $74,195
  • Mercedes S-Class $92,350
  • Lexus LS $71,990

Then there’s the Model S, which depending on pack size and whether or not you opt for the Performance version, with the following pricing structure (base MSRP without incentives)

  • Tesla Model S $69,900 or $79,900 or $94,900

So, the Model S falls right in the mix.  It’s both the cheapest and most expensive of the bunch if you opt it out in certain ways, but for the most part it’s priced in line with the competition.

Not only is the Model S the US’ top selling plug-in vehicle in Q1 of 2013, it’s America’s leading “large luxury” in this elite group, too.

Via Value Walk and Tesla Motors Club

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16 responses to "Tesla Model S Outsells BMW 7 Series, Audi A8, Mercedes-Benz S-Class and Lexus LS in US in Q1 of 2013"

  1. Anthony says:

    “Losers” no more.

  2. kdawg says:

    What about Cadillac CTS sales (7,862) or XTS sales (7,130)?

    1. Eric Loveday says:


      We’d say the CTS is midsize, so not same category and the XTS is unfortunately burdened by a non-desirable FWD setup. Someone shopping the vehicles listed in the article probably wouldn’t even consider a FWD model, but maybe that’s just my performance-oriented take on the matter. Although we’re still not sure Cadillac is in the same league as the named vehicles and at least it isn’t in the eyes of most, perhaps that’s why it’s priced far below the rest of the vehicles (base MSRP $44,075)

      1. kdawg says:

        CTS-V starts at $65K

        1. Mike says:

          CTS-V is a low volume car

          1. kdawg says:

            So are the ones mentioned in the article.

  3. David Murray says:

    Very good news indeed. It really puts things in perspective.

  4. James says:

    Proof in the pudding will be when all the preorders have been
    filled and Model S is more on it’s own with Tesla’s unique
    marketing model.

    We’re all used to comparing monthly, quarterly, and yearly
    sales tallies based in the traditional sales model, so it’s easy
    to make assumptions here regarding Model S’s sold and
    delivered thus far.

    There’s NO DOUBT a Model S makes all the above-mentioned
    cars pale in comparison. I think the average successful person
    who can afford a luxury performance car didn’t get there on a
    trust fund or by winning the lottery – you have to have some
    smarts to achieve an income level whereupon you can consider
    these automobiles. In that, the comparison comes down to
    whether you feel wasting money ( something real successful
    people don’t do a lot of ) by buying a gas burner is too much
    excess in an already excess-status move…Or that buying
    a long-heralded European brand like Mercedes or BMW is
    superior to buying a plainly superior car in Model S. Tesla’s
    only a few years old and those marques have been around
    since Methusela! Yet how long has Apple been making iPhones,
    or Asus touchscreens?

    It’s a new world – and smart people who actually compare
    benefits will be stunned at how superior Tesla’s Model S is in
    literally every category imaginable. Even in the “prestige” category,
    I mention “Tesla” and people’s eyebrows rise, and they say –
    – “yeah – NICE!”….

    So let’s see where this is trending – How many times people
    will buy a Mercedes S Class, an Audi 8, Porsche Panamera or
    BMW 8 and look stupid when it’s parked next to the sexy,
    alluring, no-gasoline, faster-than-them – Model S > MADE IN USA.

  5. James says:

    I think a very interesting topic is – whether having two models
    at such different pricepoints ( Model S 85kwh Performance; 60kwh )
    that look exactly alike helps or hurts total Model S sales in the long run.

    Just think – you’re a successful person living in an upper-end neighborhood
    and you buy the 60kwh model that sets you back BMW 5 money,
    and your neighbor buys the 85kwh model which sets him back Mercedes
    S Class money! Only those few in-the-know re: Tesla, or electric cars
    knows the telltale signs ( larger finned wheels… ) of the 85kwh, and those
    can be purchased as options on the 60kwh… So you basically have the
    bling and success-appeal of the guy who laid down $108,000 bucks!

    I think that’s a big sales incentive for the 60kwh model, yet the lack of
    differentiation may sway folks who seek that “respect” or appearance by
    buying the top model. Isn’t that why traditional luxury marques spend so
    much developing differen’t sized and priced series?

    Tesla buyers choose according to budget AND capability which comes
    in basically the same package.

    It’s a great perk, and to my mind, more folks buy the mid-level luxo cars
    than the top-line ( Mercedes S ) ones, so if they buy a Model S 60kwh,
    they get the status shot of buying the top car – at a much more
    reasonalble bottom line! – So it’s a plus for Tesla IMO.

    What do you think? Does it hurt or help Tesla in selling Model S?

    1. Mike says:

      People (for the most part) aren’t buying a Tesla S for bling or prestige: their buying it for “(salivate) GOTTA HAVE ONE!!” and they option it out according to their pocketbook. The owners who meet in their groups don’t look down at each other because of a lower-cap battery or fewer options: they pat each other on the back and smile knowingly at each other.

      (FYI, no I don’t own a Tesla: I own a Volt, but I know some people who have a Tesla and they are free to charge up at my EVSE any day.

      drive on juice, not oil!

    2. Priusmaniac says:

      What about specific Model S-60 and model S-85 marks. It is easy to do and fit the recognition as well as a BMW M mark.

      1. Priusmaniac says:

        Model S-85P should also be added of course.

  6. Cavaron says:

    I hope the old carcompany-dinosaurs do wake up now and realize that the game has changed… no wait – better to let them die 🙂

  7. Max says:

    Um no, they didn’t outsell, they out-delivered. These were ordered over the past couple of years and are only being delivered now, whereas the figures for the other cars are new and actual sales made and delivered in Q1.

    But they WILL outsell and out-deliver as soon as they finish getting caught up on the pre-orders.

  8. Dave K. says:

    Max is right, the Tesla market is currently supply constrained. So you could either say “if they could make more sales would be higher” or “If there wasn’t saved up demand sales would be lower”. I personally think once Tesla owners take their neighbors for a ride Tesla demand will be supply constrained again.

  9. dave says:

    is there a tax credit for tesla and not the others