Tesla Reports Q3 US Sales: Model S Crushes “Large Luxury Sedan” Competition



Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S

Data obtained by Bloomberg shows that the Tesla Model S walloped the “large luxury sedan” competition in the U.S. in Q3 2016.

And how did Bloomberg’s Tom Randall come by such data that Tesla doesn’t normally release on a whim?  (generally only generic worldwide quarterly sales – 24,500 for Q3 overall)

“Tesla accidentally gave me their internal U.S. sales figures for Q3 (which are impressive).”

One assumes the chart/data provided to Bloomberg was originally intended to be included in the company’s upcoming Q3 fiscal report due on Wednesday, October 26th after the market closes and was released unintentionally early.

We contacted Tesla for comment, and they confirmed the data on Model S/X sales in the United States was its own, while the competition’s sales on the chart was data accumulated by Automotive News.

Without further ado, here is the Model S vs competitor data – provided by Tesla.

Via Bloomberg

Chart via Bloomberg

The only argument that might come up on the chart, would be whether or not the Model S actually slots into the “large luxury” sedan category.

Tesla Motors vehicle deliveries – through Q3’2016

Tesla Motors vehicle deliveries – through Q3’2016

Most agree the Model S is “large,” but some argue it’s not in the same league as these other “luxury” cars. Near-luxury perhaps? We’d just be splitting hairs really. The bigger story is that Model S sales are up 59% from Q3 2015!

Separately, Tesla pegged Model X sales at 5,428 for the US in Q3, which would also lead the pack…if it was a large luxury sedan.  Oh, and in case you were wondering, Bloomberg reached out to Mercedes-Benz and BMW for comment on Tesla’s Q3 U.S. sales. Neither automaker responded.

Editor’s Note: As for how Tesla’s data compared to our own earlier estimates for Tesla’s Q3 (which we will now adjust to reflect Tesla-confirmed numbers), we were out ~469 units on the Model S for the three month period (~156/month), and almost bang on for the Model X; we noted 372 units more than Tesla, but our estimate on the Model X is inclusive of North America, including Canada (which logged an additional 233 sales in July and August, with September data pending).  So, not too shabby…again.

Source: Bloomberg, Hat tip to Emc2

Categories: Sales, Tesla

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91 Comments on "Tesla Reports Q3 US Sales: Model S Crushes “Large Luxury Sedan” Competition"

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if you are paying just as much as a luxury 7 series or s class sometimes more and you choose model s i think its fair to say they are competition.

Indeed. Price is more important than the definition of ‘luxury’ when comparing sales in a segment.

Yup. Money is what matters the most.

What is it about Tesla that wouldn’t make it a luxury car? It’s got leather seats, what more do you want? 🙂

Actually, Tesla offers autopilot that’s better than all those other cars. From that perspective, I’d say Tesla is more luxury.

Tesla model S has the price tag of a luxury car but it certainly doesn’t have the finish you would expect from a $100k+ car.

Somebody else out there

Anything to back that up with? Uses a lot of Daimler parts in the interior actually and is way more quiet so you lose on those two points.

Somebody else in there

Well it’s got lesser space than the other cars and is a bit smaller. Also the price range for the s class and 7 series are vast. People who usually buy Benz or other cars are much more wealthy as the base models doesn’t have many features and it wouldn’t make sense. Comparing it with the 5series or the e class would be much more accurate cause one of the most noticeable differences would be that Tesla has autopilot. Apart from that, the other specs are practically the same.

The cargo volume for the 2017 S550 or S600 is 16.3 cu. ft. to the Tesla S’s total of 31.6 cu.ft. of cargo volume. 26.3 cu.ft. behind the rear seats and 5.3 cu.ft. in the front.

That’s almost double the cargo volume of the Mercedes’ top of the line full-size luxury vehicle! And the Maybach versions have even less cargo volume at 12.3 cu.ft.

As far as interior passenger dimensions they are also pretty similar for the driver and front passenger.

I think cargo space is not the most important metric for the Model S and the S-Class.

What about passenger space. Front row about equal, ok. But rear row probably not. Also you have better ligth, massage seats and dozens other options that the model s doesn’t have.

You can drive a S-Class at 180 km/h (110mph) for hours and feel relaxed afterward, that defines luxury in driving.

U can drive 180 kmh for hours only in Germany and u will be nothing close to relaxed. U need maximum concentration to do that. After a few hours u are very tired, this is similar to racing.
The luxury doesn’t help there a bit.
If u want to relax, then put your Tesla on Autopilot (of course slower than 180 kph.

“Price ranges for S and 7 are vast”

Does it start at the same point as Tesla S?


They they are comparable. That Tesla lack some options (massage chair? :D), do not mean You can not compare the cars. LOL.

Back what up? It’s my opinion that the Tesla interior looks like an economy car, not a luxury car.
It has Mercedes stalks on the steering column. Wow, luxury…

I take it you have never driven a Tesla? The screen and controls make a Mercedes seems cartoonish. And the performance and handling is un paralleled.

Lol Tesla is focused on changing the world, not using the world’s trees to make nice interior on their green cars.

Model S has a wonderful clean and simple interior. Nicest interior i’ve seen. S-Class has better materials, Yes, but that doesn’t matter.

I dont give a sh*t what kind of tree the leather came from. S-Class has better tree material and burns fossil fuel. It loses

Model S the beSt

Trees are renewable. And wood holds the carbon in place that it contains. So, we should use Wood and leave them be as in products.

Otherwise, burning it or letting it decompose would produce CO2…

Agree Tesla is not that luxurious, however Ferrari is more expensive and not a luxury car inside, so what matters the most is price.

S-Class and Co are luxury cars from the past millenium. Tesla is a computer on wheels from the 21st century. Many people embrace evolution. These are the Tesla buyers over S-Class and co.
And its not because they are green, that’s just a pleasant side effect. It’s because they are like the smart phone againt the old mobile phone.

It’s not the price that matters. A fully loaded 340i can match the price of a 550i. Same class? No way.

Nothing luxurious of large tail pipes spewing toxic gasses…

Unless you use whale oil to lubricate your 12 pistons.

“Tesla accidentally gave me their internal U.S. sales figures for Q3 (which are impressive)”

I doubt it was an accident.

When you get good news, you share it.
Claiming it’s a leak adds to the hype.
Good job PR department!

That’s what my comment was going to be…. “accidentally”, lol

Kdawg, if you and John are claiming that our IMPRESSIVE SALES FIGURES, did not get out by accident, I have something to say to you guys! ……………..Okay you got me!?

Exactly because how often does reply “no comment”? Often…

“We contacted Tesla for comment, and they confirmed the data on Model S/X sales in the United States was its own, while the competition’s sales on the chart was data accumulated by Automotive News”

“The only argument that might come up on the chart, would be whether or not the Model S actually slots into the “large luxury” sedan category.

Most agree the Model S is “large,” but some argue it’s not in the same league as these other “luxury” cars. Near-luxury perhaps? We’d just be splitting hairs really.”

Another way to look at it; if someone has about $100,000 to spend on a car, they are much more likely to buy a Tesla. 😀

Whether to compare the Model S to a 5 Series or a 7 Series is moot as it out sells both of them now.

Another not “large” reality is handling. Tesla are not shooting for the marshmallow ride Mercedes S-Class is. Some customers want that, where they deliver agility and the greater stiffness that comes with it.

what marketers try to do with labels like “large luxury” is to identify a group with common marketplace characteristics. my suspicion is that the tesla model S may be redefining the label somewhat. i suspect that the population that buys the tesla model S is different from the population that buys the b#@z-o s-class. for example, the price range of the model S includes the combined price ranges of the benz e-class and the b#@z-o s-class.

“The only argument that might come up on the chart, would be whether or not the Model S actually slots into the “large luxury” sedan category.

Perhaps the BoltEV should be on the chart in the future since you claim it has more interior room than the model S;)

No, the Bolt EV is in the TARDIS class (Time And Relative Dimension In Space). Bigger on the inside than on the outside.


(ok.. who’s going to make the grade-school joke..)

Oh, and my point was more about the price-points of the cars. I kinda lump everything with 6 figures into the same group. Basically the “will never be on my radar” group.

The Bolt EV at $37K… definitely on the radar.

Unfortunately, my Gen I Volt is the anti-TARDIS. Smaller on the inside than it looks like from the outside. I just noticed, again, that the headrest for my drivers seat is halfway back the rear side window. Having two motors and a genset up front means GM had to move the firewall back 3 or 4″ which is why those back seats are so small.
I regret the lack of back seat legroom more than any other Volt compromise.

The climate changes needs for all to go to renewables for transportation. It would be very helpful to have Tesla start the production of the model 3 as soon as possible, so we would witness the same kind of sales dominance over other vehicles segments. I also can’t wait to see when a 100% electric pickup truck will be available!

No problem. Tesla is literally doing the best they can. Unfortunately, they can’t magic the thing into existence, so “as fast as they can” appears to not be enough for you.

Wowzer! Nice 🙂

Reports of the demand ceiling in the home market are obviously unfounded.

BMW 7 Series doing pretty well too… is that due to the new version? Perhaps it’s just aa flash in the pan.

Tesla’s Q3 sales are also a flash in the pan. Forbidden “discounts”, 2-yr leases, added a lower price point (which will most certainly disappear by the time Model 3 launches)…oh, well.

The only reasonable conclusion is that the demand is still there…as if any more proof of that was needed.

No matter what Tesla did, only them and BMW grew.

Customers loved what Tesla (and BMW) did. 😉

Tesla(BMW) win.
Others fail.

What is the story with BMW 7 Series? Did it have a new model?

There has been a new 7 Series and a new S Class in the last year or so.

the results for the bm 7 are a bit surprising. then again, bm is probably more competitive with mercedes-benz in the US than in other countries. it also may be the case that the new bm 7 series will help turn around bmw’s fortunes. last year, worldwide sales figures for the bmw 7-series were less than half of those for the b#@z-o s-class.

In germany the new 7 series starts by the beginning of next year.

Maybe discounts on the old version?

so…after years of being caught flat footed by Tesla… now we see exactly why Mercedes is finally promoting an electric car future.

And because Germany banned ICE cars by 2030

Instead of wondering how Tesla plays with this accurate, but manipulated, table I think it is impressive enough that their Q3 24,500 was almost as big as ALL of BMW’s sales for September (25,389). They reached a third of BMW’s sales!

This way, you don’t have to wonder about how E-class outsells S-class, or what happened to “BMW 5-series”?

I thought those cars were considered mid-sized by volume and in a slightly different price bracket?

Not sure why this is still surprising … you have that kind of dough, you’d be stupid not to buy one. Unless you of course really need the daily range or different batch on your grill.

among the people who “have that kind of dough”, i’m sure that the model S is not their only car. if i had a b#@z-o, my second car would be a tesla. my main criticism of BEVs is that it’s not a good idea to have one as your only car.

Lots of people have Teslas as their only vehicle. I have yet to hear much complaining on that front.

Hmmm, I’d like to see what the percentage is of households whose only car is a Tesla. My guess is that’s pretty low. Most people who can afford a Tesla car own more than one car.

You’re quite right Pushmi, that at the price point of Tesla’s vehicles, owners are by and large more affluent and more likely to be able to afford multiple vehicles. My real gist, was to address ‘no comment’s’ implication that an electric vehicle shouldn’t be an only vehicle, when there are multiple accounts on YouTube and elsewhere, of single vehicle EV owners.

I’d guess single car households (ICE or EV) are a minority in general.

That being said, when I get my BEV, it will be my only car (Just like my Volt now).

I don’t have the Tesla as my only car, I also have a Mercedes B Class electric! No issues with range.

I agree with u. U need a Bolt as second car too!

How once can have so much cash to spare and need to drive long distances every day? And I mean really long distances bacause anything short of 600 miles will not give big enough difference in travel times between ICE and Tesla to matter.

So who earn so well on those looooooong daily trips to earn Tesla?

This is a beat-down of epic proportions. Mercedes and BMW must be freaking out big-time.

Model X is moving up the charts against it’s large luxury SUV competition. Again, the comparison is not on the size of the vehicle so much as the price. The Escalade leads the pack with 3,750 sold in September. I think Model X may pass the Escalade in the fourth quarter, which would be impressive.

I went to compare these numbers to the sales scorecard, and they’re identical. I assume they were updated.

How did the accuracy of the scorecard fare prior to updating the numbers to match these internal sales stats?

Ah, found it cached on Google. 9625 estimated by InsideEVs versus 9156 above. Not too shabby!! 🙂

Yeah, they’re getting good at this!?

Appreciate the compliment floydboy,

Although we have been so close, for so many quarters now (around 75 or so units per month on average), there may have been a little luck thrown in there on occasion too…we are certainly feeling the pressure to keep “the streak” going, lol.

didn’t the article above say that the insideevs estimate was within 469 of the tesla reported figure?

The article indeed notes our prior estimates (before adjustment), and we are quite pleased with the results this quarter.

Although numerically being out ~156 on avg per month in Q3 was actually our worst showing to date, it was a very tricky quarter to peg, and by volume the largest by far for Tesla.

one big “red flag” of caution that i would note about the bloomberg chart is that it represents a certain mixing of “apples and oranges” to produce a misleading result. a b#@z-o s-class starts at around $95,000. by contrast, a tesla model S starts at around $65,000. so, unless bloomberg segments the tesla sales into more conventional price ranges, this chart isn’t really providing an accurate picture of the “large luxury” segment.

A fair point to be sure, we do reference the fact the Model # maybe one misplaced.

I should add, the chart isn’t Bloomberg’s…it is from Tesla.

Our speculation is that the chart was originally intended to be included in the company’s Q3 report and someone had a ‘oopsie’ moment and set it out early to Bloomberg in response to a query of some kind (as historically, Bloomberg seems to have ‘special powers’ when interacting with Tesla).

That was added after I posted. Perhaps their own “not too shabby” reference was a hat tip to my comment, haha. 😉

Actually it was there, maybe you just missed it…it is kinda nestled there at the botoom. I added the “editor’s note” myself when I was editing the story out ahead of publishing and getting a comment direct from Tesla on the data leak because I knew some would be curious, (=

Hi Jay… Was it really? Haha! That’s kind of hilarious given that I used the same “not too shabby” terminology. Apparently some sub-conscious part of my brain must have picked up on it before I commented myself.

Now if I could only get the conscious part of my brain to pay attention… 😉

Hehe, yupe. We are definitely on the same wavelength of something!

it was, my first comment was posted before your first comment and i saw the “editor’s note”. that’s why i was a bit confused about your comment.

No worries, definitely my mistake. My sub-conscious must have seen that note but not my conscious, haha. 😉

Just EV bonus. Imagine the same car gas powered and the sales would be less than any Lincoln

If Norway & Germany both go through with what they have said publicly, in 2025 {Norway} and 2030 {Germany}, no new ICE cars allowed. The traditional manufacturers will need to up their EV game or pull out.

Why no Cadillac’s or Lincoln’s on the list? What about the Genesis?

Who ever made the list of luxury brands probably decided that both Cadillac and Lincoln aren’t in the same luxury segment as them.

I’d argue differently since both brands NOW have their flagships full-size sedans, the 2016 Cadillac CT6 and the 2017 Lincoln Continental.

Cadillac CT6 = 3,412
Cadillac CTS = 4,242
Cadillac ATS = 6,366

Forgot the XTS = 5,138

Because Cadillac/Lincoln aren’t your traditional “import luxury” segment..

Many luxury buyers don’t cross shop them (even though they should).

Genesis is a new comer which has established itself yet as premium luxury import.

The problem with this article is that it is unfair to compare a car manufacturer that only sells two models to a car manufacturer that sells many more than two.

This shouldn’t be hard to understand. When people walk into a Tesla store or gallery, they only have two choices to choose from to get into a Tesla vehicle. The same couple walking into a Mercedes Benz dealership has the freedom to choose many different models to get into a Mercedes Benz vehicle. Only when all factors are the same can you compare who sells the most luxury full-size sedans in the U.S then.

You have to stay objective when confronted with surveys folks.

They’re not comparing manufacturers so much as comparing a vehicle class, large high end premium sedans. By that criteria, Tesla Model S would compete with others purchased within that one limited category. Therefore the availability of additional choices wouldn’t apply if it falls outside of the category. It wouldn’t compete against Sprinter vans, even though they’re Mercedes vehicles, because even if more people chose them, they’re a completely different category of vehicle.

Once again, it isn’t fair to compare a manufacturer with two models to one that has many more. The only way to get into a “Tesla” is to buy a full-size sedan or a crossover. This absolutely affects the survey because that’s all Tesla sells.

Wow, would like to congratulate InsideEVs again on its amazingingly accurate Tesla estimates. Well done

That is because they are cheating in the comparison.

Tesla Model S along with every other hatchback designs are using STUPID AND ARCANE EPA loop holes in vehicle classification to gain advantage by comparing a smaller interior passenger volume vehicle to a larger interior passenger vehicle by using a larger cargo area.

Model S is much closer to cars such as BMW 5 series and Mercedes Benz E class in terms of wheel base and interior passenger volume. But due to extreme larger trunk for its class, it managed to squeeze itself in the “large class” instead. That is no different than how Prius is considered as midsize car while its interior passenger volume is smaller than every midsize sedan on the market today.

The same goes with Model S which has smaller interior passenger volume than every midsize luxury car and almost every midsize sedan such as Accord/Camry.

Of course, if you compare against 5 series/E class/A5/6 sales, then the Model S sales won’t look nearly as impressive.

The Model S however is a price class that is higher than those cars and is also physically wider, like a “large class” car is.

Probably cars like the 6-series sedan, CLS, A7, Panamera are closer comparisons in terms of price class and styling.

Higher in price doesn’t justify a classification in size.

Width alone can’t justify the class either.

It is interior volume that is used to justify it. In fact, the most important factor is the interior passenger volume which isn’t in Model S’s favor as it is low and wide which means you get more shoulder room but less head room.

“price class that is higher”

I would disagree. I germany the prices are as following (with tax included):

Mercedes E-Class 44.300,- to 140.300,-
Tesla Model S 79.400,- to 180.000,-
Mercedes S-Class 87.800,- to 238.500,- (not the long version)

While there is a price difference i would consider the first two cars in the same price class. But in reality the Model S is exactly between the E- and S-Class pricewise, so it’s not so easy to answer.

Great job, to everyone at Tesla. 🙂

Eric (or Jay), it has been mentioned a couple times (and I realize that it is a Tesla-focused article) but do you have any thought/guidance/guesses as to the 129% increase of the BMW 7? Any breakdown as to sales of the Plugin version?

(I apologize if I missed it elsewhere – I do a search for the letters “FUD” at the top of every comment section and ASSume it is an adolescent slash fest if found, so I just skip some/most article response sections entirely)
(as certain responders tend to make me nauseous – TES, no doubt)

I can take this one. The new 7 Series (6th gen) was announced in June of 2015, and went into production a month later…but everyone and their dog was aware of it (including BMW dealers). Inventory was already thin, and new/next gen 2016 inventory was slow as heck arriving in the US (which reminds us of the 740e today), opening up a vacuum in late July that was not rectified until mid/late October…basically Q3 of 2015 was a total wipeout for the 7 Series. So there is nothing “special” about the 7 Series results this year, the model has basically been mired in a 10-13k/year (1k sales per month) rut for almost a decade. That said, the 7 Series plug-in is very competitively priced in the US (and elsewhere) compared to the petrol version, and BMW has experienced a “run” on the product (in terms of orders), and some initial trouble producing them and getting them out in a timely fashion (what new?)…which is obv given its slightly delayed arrive in the US, where exactly none have yet been cleared to be sold. Overall, maybe ~300 or so have been sold globally to date…unless BMW has made a big push… Read more »

“whether or not it will..”
exactly my thoughts, thanks for the quick reply!

if you happen to return, what is your charity of choice for our wager (I’ve still got 12 Months, dammit!) on the off-chance that other regulars might wanna know, with the holidays coming up — and do they allow donations-in-other-names so the wager can be confirmed?
WAYyy OT, but thanks!

Heeh, you really keep long records. It is no worries…just playing the ‘game’ is its own reward, (=