Tesla Model S Outsells German Flagships In Europe

FEB 21 2018 BY MARK KANE 70

According to the JATO Dynamics, Tesla is disturbing German luxury flagship sales in Europe, forcing brands like Mercedes and BMW to act quickly.

Tesla Model S

In 2017, Tesla sales were relatively strong compared to major ICE models:

  • Tesla Model S – 16,132 (up 30%)
  • Mercedes S class – 13,359 (down 3%)
  • BMW 7 series – 11,735 (up 13%)

In the case of the Model X:

  • Tesla Model X – 12,000
  • Porsche Cayenne – about the same 12,000
  • BMW X6 – nearly 2,000 less than Tesla

The pressure is rising and will go even higher if the market begins a shrinking cycle.

Felipe Munoz, an analyst with market researchers JATO Dynamics said:

“This is an alarm for the traditional automakers such as Mercedes. It says a smaller but smarter brand such as Tesla can beat them at home,”.

“European automakers need to address the electrification faster because customers are showing more and more interest in such vehicles and it seems that the traditional industry “can’t deliver on time,” Munoz said.”

See Also – 2017 US Plug-In EV Sales Charted: Market Grows 26%

In the U.S., data from Automotive News Data Center indicates a similar situation:

  • Tesla Model S – 28,800 (up 9%)
  • Cadillac XTS – 16,275 (down 27%)
  • Mercedes S class – 15,888 (down 16%)

Source: Automotive News Europe

Categories: Sales, Tesla

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70 Comments on "Tesla Model S Outsells German Flagships In Europe"

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(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

Wait a minute, if Teslas has such crappy quality like so many here claims, how can this be happening?!?!?!?!?

/Queue Twilight Zone music……

Just more of the Tesla hype machine.

Not sure if you are referring to Trollnonymous’ comment or the article but assuming it is the latter, the figures pretty much speak for themselves.

They do. Selectively erroneous. Why leave out the the 50,815 BMW X5 sold in the US for 2017? And of course world wide numbers would be more crushing. And this is just the X5. Which can run past $115k for a X5M.How about the fact that BMW exported 272000 SAVS from its South Carolina plant in 2017 alone? Comparing to the niche X6 only? Gross misrepresentation. Helps to know your numbers.


There is some overlap with the X5, but I’m sure the average selling price for Model X is way higher than for the X5.

I was trying to be funny. Sorry.

IEV’s is the best site for electric vehicles. Anywhere. Yeah, the occasional over enthusiastic article/boast sneaks in, but from their electric car sales summary to the articles they write, they are simply head and shoulders above everyone else.
And they have run a remarkably collegial site. I think that for the most part posters here do try to remain above the fray and keep the sharpened barbs to a minimum.
People may criticize but you will notice that they keep coming back.

Sigh, the Model S is more comparable in size and room to BMW 5 Series, Mercedes E Class, Audi A6, Cadillac CTS, etc.

Yeah, not to mention a build quality that is not premium yet.

You’re right with size, Model S is more comparable in size with 5, E, A6…etc

But if you compare in average purchase price, Model S is comparable with S, 7, A8…etc

Sorry friend, Model-S is a 7 seater and has as much interior space as S/7/A8.

Please check the specs again.
No wonder Model-S outsold those 3 in their European Fort.

They cannot get into Germany as the nationalist Germans won’t buy these American cars. But if a drought or heatwave strikes their place, then they will give up their global warming causing gas guzzlers and jump into Tesla bandwagon.

“Sorry friend, Model-S is a 7 seater and has as much interior space as S/7/A8.”

It actually doesn’t have nearly as much interior passenger volume.

The ONLY reason it is classified as “full size” is because its trunk size.

IN FACT, by EPA volume, it has the LEAST amount of interior passenger volume among all FULL SIZE vehicle. It only made the Full size class by having more cargo than any other vehicle in its class.

Yeah, calling the Model S a “7-seater” is certainly an exaggeration. Tesla describes the seating as 5, or 5 + 2 with optional rear child-sized jump seats.

I have ridden in a Model S. It certainly is a luxurious full-sized sedan, but it doesn’t have the passenger space of a 7-seater CUV/SUV or minivan.

If calling Model-S as a 7 seater is an exaggeration, then calling it a 5 seater is also another extreme of exaggeration.

A family of 4 if they want to go out with their grandparents, then they can do in Model-S with the kids in the rear seat. Of course kids are also humans. Can they do this in S / 7 / A8, absolutely no.

Besides Model-S has 120 cu. ft. of passenger & trunk space; but what about frunk which has another 6 cu. ft. Adding it makes it 126 cu. ft. which is same as those full sized cars. Its the usable space that matters and not the length. Sedans are not so functional and thats why their sales are declining.

If Volvo launches their V90 wagon as a 7 seater, then everyone could jump in.
In 1950’s & 1960’s there were 9 seater wagons (3 rows of 3 passengers each). It’s still possible to bring those functional vehicles, just someone should start.

“If calling Model-S as a 7 seater is an exaggeration, then calling it a 5 seater is also another extreme of exaggeration.” Extreme? Exaggeration? No, just pointing out the fact that most Model S’s have only 5 seats. The rear jump seats are an option not found in most Model S’s which are actually sold. If you think facts are an “exaggeration”, then you need to put down your Tesla cheerleader pom-poms. I’m a strong Tesla fan, but your extremist viewpoint gives a bad name to Tesla fandom. “A family of 4 if they want to go out with their grandparents, then they can do in Model-S with the kids in the rear seat. Of course kids are also humans. Can they do this in S / 7 / A8, absolutely no.” Sure they can, just like they can in most Model S’s… that is, ones lacking rear jump seats. When I was a kid it wasn’t that unusual for a child to sit on an adult’s lap in a car for short journeys. Amazingly enough, that’s still possible today, altho of course it’s not all that safe. But then, those rear jump seats are not exactly a model of… Read more »

“they will give up their global warming causing gas guzzlers and jump into Tesla bandwagon”

By that logic, places that got cold weather and lots of rain will abandon Tesla and drive gassers.

People do not make purchase decisions based on climate change hysteria. The fact that I’m surrounded by giant SUV/Trucks in my drive is a constant reminder of this. Climate change is inevitable, we’re not going to change the behavior of 7 billion people when we can’t even change people in one of the richest countries and one of the richest cities.

Only if you ignore cargo capacity, and only compare passenger space. Once you compare total space (passenger+cargo) the Model S in is the larger EPA class. That is even EXCLUDING the frunk, which none of those cars have.

Compare with all models on sale.

Both comments are very true, and I agree. However, the post and the source article are citing the company’s flagship vehicles. The Model S, while not as large as these rivals, is Tesla’s flagship, just as the mentioned cars are flagships for those automakers. The base price of the Model S is more along the lines of the luxury midsize cars mentioned here in the comments. However, a Model S is classified as luxury large and an optioned Model S falls more in line with the flagship vehicles’ pricing.

The Chiron is Bugattis flagship. That doesn’t mean that anybody would ever expect that it will be sold in significant numbers.

Very true.

“The Model S, while not as large as these rivals, is Tesla’s flagship, just as the mentioned cars are flagships for those automakers.”

I don’t know enough about the automotive industry to argue over whether or not the Model S is a “flagship” model, but certainly Tesla’s halo model is the Model X… not the Model S. From comments here, it seems as if the Model S is being compared to other auto makers’ halo models, which generally — almost always? — sell in lower numbers than an auto maker’s less expensive models.

Another Euro point of view

Impressive but also in 2017 if one really wanted to buy a long range EV he was supposed to buy what ? That is what a monopoly situation is about and this is what Tesla is going to lose starting Q3 2018.

great, more EVs. We need more BEVs.

Why? What’s going to displace the S as the all electric large sedan leader?

Next year the Mission E might have a shot.

Yeah, like snow-cone in you know where.

The Jaguar IPace and Audi E Tron Quattro are going to bite into Tesla’s Model S/X European sales when they launch later this year.

You really think so. I don’t. How many do you think they will sell?

Model 3

The next Gen S should be a bit larger to truly compete with the 7 and S classes. Then slip a model that is slightly smaller than the current S in
order to fight the 5 and 6. I like the S but it is way to too big for me to feel good about owning. And the 3 is jsut a bit too small, it would be cool to have a sedan option between the sizes of the current S and the 3.
Or maybe just go compact SUV and buy the Y when it arrives.

Tesla so far stopped at 100 kWh. That may change in 9-15 months, as Cell at GF1 ramp up.

“That is what a monopoly situation is about and this is what Tesla is going to lose starting Q3 2018.”

I’d love for Tesla to get some real competition. But a claim from a serial Tesla basher like “Another Euro…” does not exactly fill me with hope that this is actually going to happen so soon. I very seriously doubt it will happen until 2020 at the soonest, and even then… where is a non-Tesla EV maker going to get enough batteries to supply a truly high production, long-range EV?

People keep ignoring the huge production advantage that Tesla’s Gigafactory One will give it over the next several years.

If auto makers are serious about building and selling compelling PEVs in large numbers starting in 2020, then they should be starting to build their large-production battery cell factories NOW. (Not merely battery pack assembly factories.) So far, I haven’t seen that even a single legacy auto maker is doing so. I see some talk… but no real action.

By 2020 getting 20,000 120 kWh packs will be a much smaller share of the battery market than it is today and is probably possible for a large car maker. Then they could probably double that sales figure in the following year.
Building 20k BEV’s in your first year of sales is a fairly high bar for just about everyone but Tesla.
Whole lot of “probably” in that guesstimate, admittedly.

I was careful to specify “truly high production”. 20,000 a year ain’t high volume production, not by a long shot.

When you get up to 100,000 per year or more, then you can start talking about truly high production.

The best-selling car, the Toyota Corolla, sold more than a million worldwide last year.

I hear you, but for the first 12 months of production of a sporty mid-sized car/CUV built with a fairly room interior, 20k would be fine for most, I think. Especially if they could ramp up production, say double it, the next year. More is always better, but given how long I have been waiting for that car, I may be setting the production bar fairly low. How many electric cars have ever sold more than 20k a year? A handful?
My focus is more USA-centric so I may be blowing smoke, but 15k BEV’s sold next year in the US and 5k abroad would really be cool if it was a great car. Look at the year end totals of the sales count here on IEV’s. Only 5 electric cars sold more than 20k in the US last year.
I started reading GM Volt dot com in 2007.
Excellent mass produced electric cars can’t happen soon enough for me. Here is hoping that 2018 and 2019 are breakthrough years!

Prolly half of S and X were sold in Norway where a BMW 3 is even more expensive

Why post these hunches when you can lookup the real numbers? Do I really have to do this for you?

Total Model S + X sales in Europe over 2017: 28183.

Norway: 8460

So, not even a third

Everyone are feeling the heat from Tesla, here is the story from Toyota side. Toyota & Lexus charged hefty premium for the hybrid vehicles all along with the Lexus LS600h commanding a $45,000 premium over the gasmobile version until 2016. All that has changed in the current year with Toyota significantly reducing the price premium on many Lexus models. It’s because of the Electric/Plugin vehicles grabbing the share from hybrids. Toyota will not sell Electric/Plugin vehicles, so they will try to sell more hybrids to show that “Hybrids are good enough” and their “No need to plugin” mantra. Gasoline model MSRP* Hybrid model MSRP* Premium ES 350 $38,950 ES 350h $41,820 $2,870 GS 350 rwd $50,695 GS 450h rwd $63,635 $12,940 LS 500 rwd $75,000 LS 500h rwd $79,510 $4,510 LC 500 $92,000 LC 500h $96,510 $4,510 NX 300 awd $37,385 NX 300h awd $38,335 $950 RX 350 awd $44,670 RX 450h awd $45,695 $1,025 RX 350L awd $49,070 RX 450hL awd $50,620 $1,550 Even Prius liftback got a Package-1 model which costs $23,375 ($1,210 < Package-2) which is $20 < Camry gasmobile. Prius V is simply dropped. All these are good. Why GS has $12,940 premium, anyway it sells… Read more »

Comparing a single model is misleading. Tesla Model S should be compared with BMW 6, 5, 7, combined. Model X with X5/X6/5GT combined. Similar with Merc models. In statistics, with selective data points, you can arrive at any conclusion you desire.
The truth is that BMW/Merc still make 10-20 times more cars than Tesla and are infinitely more profitable.

It depends on country. Each country has its own incentives in Europe. It is reasonable to compare Model S with MB S class for market share in Germany by price tag and ignore space/luxury features. As Germany has relatively few incentives, other than avoidance of fuel taxes, so price tags or cost to own may be indeed similar.

But the same way you need to compare it with something like VW Golf by effective cost to own in Norway if you account for all the incentives as no huge purchase taxes, no tolls, no registration taxes, no huge fuel taxes and so on.

BMW 5, 6, 7 each has different dimensions and is a different model. You cannot club them all.

A small company like Tesla beating a long time selling vehicle like 7 Series / S Series / A8 in their own European market needs to be appreciated.

Agreed Tesla is no where near REAL luxury cars in terms of materials, workmanship and, electro convenience items found in top shelf German sedans. Problem is people with $100,000 to spare care more about driving a premium BEV than a gas mobile luxo. Once Audi, BMW and MB have equivalent BEVs in their top shelf lines with all the same amenities Tesla is toast in these markets as the will have zero market advantage. Tesla better be in the red by then to invest a ton on money on high end vehicle R&D to be competitive then.

“Once Audi, BMW and MB have equivalent BEVs in their top shelf lines with all the same amenities Tesla is toast in these markets as the will have zero market advantage.”

Tesla bashers and haters have been saying that since 2008.

Tesla doesn’t appear to have much to worry about from that direction.

January sales Figures for Tesla y-o-y are:
Switzerland -85%
Sweden -80%
Germany -60%
Norway, Finland, Netherland all down 30% or more.
Tesla is already dead in Europe. So who has to worry about what???

Yeah, right. It’s dead and that’s why the Germans keep trying to kill it.

Anyone who knows much about the automobile industry knows that automotive sales vary a lot by season and month; they know that a single month’s sales figures mean little. It’s a favorite tactic of Tesla bashers to use cherry-picked monthly or quarterly figures to “prove” that Tesla’s sales are declining.

They just hate it when we point out the reality:

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%)

Go Tesla!

32.9% sales growth is their worst year in a while and with the 3 coming out in decent numbers, 2018 will see sales growth considerably over that 33% figure.
Here is hoping the other automakers bring some better options to the table. The new Leaf is a nice choice at its price point. I am not a fan of the Prime, given its short AER, but it is a decent starter drug for electric cars. The Bolt is a decent car and if GM spins off the Buick CUV variant they teased, THAT would be a nice car! Especially if they have faster charging and a more comfortable, upscale interior. They probably will do that but then overprice it to the point that no one buys it, (a la the ELR) then blame it on lack of demand for electric cars.

“Tesla better be in the red by then”

Please elaborate….. 😉

He probably meant in the black, which does beg the question, does he have a clue?
Um, in, financial terms black is good red is bad.
Also green=black.

Not too likely! People often switch for reasons beyond what you measure!

Just around the corner!

The only space where 5 Series and E Class compete with Model S is in Total Cost of Ownership.

Model S is wider than 7 Series and S Class and has MORE usable passenger space. Both 7 and S have a lot of room above and around your head.

Tesla average transaction price is higher than 7 Series and about the same S Class.

Model S, 7 Series, and S Class are the flagships of each company as well. That is the proper sales comparison.

This article implies all those lost Euro sedan sales went to Tesla. How do we know this? How were the sales of Euro SUVs? BMW just released a big SUV. Volvo’s sales are increasing. SUVs are stealing sales from sedans all over the world. More context is needed before claiming buyers of a subset of models are leaving the Euro manufacturers all together.

Also, how much of a factor are government incentives?

Have a look here: http://annualreport2017.daimler.com/the-divisions/mercedes-benz-cars

Mercedes car deliveries are up 8% in 2017. Doesn’t look like trouble at all.

It is actually kind of funny and interesting that Model S (despite being classified as full size) has LESS INTERIOR PASSENGER VOLUME than Model 3. The only reason it made the EPA full size list is due to its extra large cargo size.

Have you ever actually ridden or even sat inside a Model S? I have.

It’s a luxurious full-sized car. If you’re looking at measurements that indicate otherwise, then somebody is either measuring things wrong or mis-reporting those measurements.


I have driven it since 2013. And I have ridden in it many times.

I have sat in Model 3 as well. You haven’t. So you got nothing to compare.

Model 3 has better head room in the 2nd row which beats out the Model S in overall Interior Passenger Volume. The biggest problem with Model S is headroom. It compensates by giving you extra legroom.

Again, among all full size sedan classified by EPA, Model S has LEAST amount of interior passenger volume.

..and the most amount of car.

“I have driven it since 2013.”

You’re a serial Tesla bashing GM fanboy who suddenly claims to have been driving a Tesla Model S for ~5 years?

So, you now claim you’ve put your money where your mouth most definitely isn’t?!?!

Strange. Very strange.

The large luxury sedan segment is in decline in Europe. BMW 7 Series sales increased by 13% and so gained segment share.

The S Class had a small 3% sales decline, roughly 300 units. On the hand, Model S sales increased by about 4,500 units.

My conclusion is the Model S sales increase came at the expense of other models, very likely from different segments. This is consistent with the fact that the Model S has significant sales only in markets with large EV incentives, which make it price-competitive with cars with much lower list prices.

Norway is the prime example of such markets. It’s only 1% of the total European auto market, yet it generates 30% of Tesla’s sales in the region.

Tesla Model S is no way compatible with a BMW 7-Series. Perhaps not even with a 5series.
The model S is only luxury when you look at the price tag…

Exactly. And I hope they aren’t seriously comparing X sales to the X6 only. The X6 is a small volume model compared to X5, X3. And remember BMW makes an X1, X4, X2. So funny to pick the lowest volume SAV from BMW to compare to the model X. And where is the list to reference thsee numbers?

12,000 miles on my Model X and not a single problem. Just think what a 5-6th generation will be like! I will never go back to an old school ICE car. The convenience of charging at home with solar panels and no petroleum smells in the car or garage. Plus bleeding edge technology with new updates over WiFi. Other car companies should be afraid! Driving the safest car in the world and most environmentally friendly.

How did Europe get 12,000 Model Xs?
Isn’t current production only about 550 per month?

this is exactly why Tesla should build the first GF outside of America, in Europe. I believe that Tesla would quickly rise to the top with a true plant in Europe.
Also, Australia and India would be ideal as well, but esp. Australia. If nothing else, build a battery plant there since Australia is loaded with minerals and far better to build there than have them shipped to China.

Given the Australian government’s hostility towards EVs in general, the EV market there is pretty poor. I don’t think it makes sense for Tesla to have a battery factory in Australia. Generally speaking, businesses want their factories to be in regions with good sales of the product.

It would make much more sense to mine and possibly refine minerals in Australia to be shipped by sea to battery factories in the USA, China, and Europe. Shipping via water is pretty cheap. On the negative side, the supply line from Australia to either Europe or the USA is pretty long. China is far closer, so that might make Australia a more viable source of minerals and possibly precursor materials.

Tesla can outsell others because of the tax incentive. The incentive easily reaches euro $10k. Once the subsidy is removed, the sales would drop 90%. Thats what happened in Norway and Hong Kong

If you think Tesla’s sales are going to drop 90% in the USA with the tapering off of the Federal tax incentive, then prepare to be disappointed. Very disappointed.

You’re citing cases of extreme government incentives — in Norway, that means avoiding taxes and fees up to 100% of the price of the car! You’re trying to sell us the FUD that this is the average incentive.

Your FUD is bull pucky.