Tesla Model 3 Could Soon Charge Into The Top 5 Of Sedan Sales


The Model 3 is going to top the U.S. plug-in sales charts for 2018. But if production continues at this pace, the popular EV could also close in on the top 5 for ALL sedan sales in late Q3 and Q4.

The Model 3 tends to be compared to its perceived competitors in the luxury sedan market or the plug-in market. But that’s thinking too small. Moving forward, the Model 3 will be leaving EV and luxury competitors behind. Now, the car stands a very good chance to place near the top of all sedans for the second half of the year.

Tesla announced they finally met their 5,000/week production goal in the last week of June. This came just weeks after an employee let slip that the Gigafactory had accomplished the same feat. Coming off of this even bigger than usual end of quarter push, production stopped briefly in early July. Now the factory is rolling again and production should average well over 4,000 for the remainder of the year.

So The Street decided to throw out some estimates to see where this would place the Model 3 in the grand scheme of sedan sales. Due to a slow start in Q1, hitting the top-10 for all of 2018 would be difficult. However, the Model 3 could very easily end up in the top-5 for the 2nd half of the year. The Street found that if the Model 3 is able to average 5,000/week production for the next 2 quarters, that will put them on a path towards about ~130,000 units between July and December. If Tesla is able to increase average production to 6,000/week, they could top 156,000 units for 2H. These numbers take into account the roughly 11,000 in transit at the end of Q2.

Hundreds of Tesla Model 3s awaiting shipment

Electric vehicles are on the verge of mainstream adoption.

While these numbers are still speculative, they’re also reasonable. We cannot say how well other sedans will perform for the rest of the year, although few competing models are up over 2017. Tesla will need to maintain a high level of production with less scheduled shutdowns. In addition, the number of U.S. buyers waiting on the short range Model 3 could also impact sales this year since it is not expected to launch for another 6-9 months. But with the U.S. EV tax credit dropping to 50% for Tesla in January, demand for the long range model should surge over the next few months.

Even if the automaker averages only 4,000/week production for the rest of the year, the Model 3 could still exit the 2nd half in the top-10 of sedan sales. This is all the more impressive when you consider that currently available Model 3 trims cost $20k to $40k more than other chart topping models.

Tesla certainly has not been the only automotive brand to push us closer to complete electrification of the automobile. But no currently availabile model has the potential to truly hit the mainstream like the Model 3. Seeing Tesla top long-established nameplates like the Malibu, Altima, Sonata, Cruze and Sentra this year would really make a statement on behalf of all electric vehicle owners.


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2. Tesla Model 3
Range: 310 miles; 136/123 mpg-e. Still maintaining a long waiting list as production ramps up slowly, the new compact Tesla Model 3 sedan is a smaller and cheaper, but no less stylish, alternative, to the fledgling automaker’s popular Model S. This estimate is for a Model 3 with the “optional” (at $9,000) long-range battery, which is as of this writing still the only configuration available. The standard battery, which is expected to become available later in 2018, is estimated to run for 220 miles on a charge. Tesla Model 3 charge port (U.S.) Tesla Model 3 front seats Tesla Model 3 at Atascadero, CA Supercharging station (via Mark F!) Tesla Model 3 Tesla Model 3 The Tesla Model 3 is not hiding anymore! Tesla Model 3 (Image Credit: Tom Moloughney/InsideEVs) Tesla Model 3 Inside the Tesla Model 3 Tesla Model 3 rear seats Tesla Model 3 Road Trip arrives in Tallahassee Tesla Model 3 charges in Tallahassee, trunk open.

Source: The Street

Categories: Tesla

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93 Comments on "Tesla Model 3 Could Soon Charge Into The Top 5 Of Sedan Sales"

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By next year, the Model 3 will rank #1 ?

In 2017, the Honda Civic was the best-selling sedan in the US with 377,286 sales. That’s an average of 7256/week. Production could get that high, but only half of Tesla’s sales are in the US. I don’t see them topping the charts in 2019.

Yes, it is very unrealistic for the higher priced Model 3 (even in Standard Range trim) to outsell the $20K Honda Civic.

But I look forward to the people aligned against Tesla to move the goalposts from complaining that Tesla would never build the Model 3, to won’t built it until 2019, to won’t make it past 200 cars a month, to will never hit 5K/week, to won’t sell as many as BMW 3-Series/Audi A4, to complaining how it doesn’t outsell the Honda Civic….

What will people complain about if the car *does* manage to outsell the Civic in 2019 or 2020?

Doesn’t outsell the F-150? Doesn’t outsell all ICE sedans combined? Doesn’t cure cancer? 🙂

Oh, the Usual Suspects are already whining about sales not being able to touch the light truck (pickup plus SUV) category. They’ve got a head start on moving the goal posts yet again.

They have also starting whining about Tesla not being able to match the total production of Toyota or GM. That shows just how much practice they are getting at moving the goal posts!

Go Tesla!

Oh well, let them keep moving the goal posts.

Eventually they will move the posts so far out that they won’t even realize everyone else left the field and moved to the basketball court.

Tesla does not need to match GM/Toyota/VW, at least it keeps these behemoths seat hot since these companies are making planet Earth hot.

Gas cars do cause caner you know.

Good point! 😀 The Model 3 might not *cure* cancer but it could help contribute to lower rates of cancer.

When not if the M3 outsells the Civic when the base model M3 is produced and sold will be a ho hum day for me. As of now seeing a M3 is a special event in my parts of the world. Seen 1 blue only for now among an ocean of civics and appliance drivers made my day that much more less ordinary. When M3s will be common place I understand will be great for the planet but it will become a common appliance like Civics and Corollas and at least less interesting.

No, model 3s will be as common as prii have been for last ten years…a virtual flag bearer for a new, better propulsion system in many eyes of the ev inexperienced.
Model 3s will usher the ignorant into the wonderful world of bevs as they become ubiquitous in a few years. A million model 3s should be on USA roads nlt the end 2022

What!? It doesn’t cure cancer? Why was I not informed? Definitely shorting TSLA to the max.

The Honda Civic sold almost 378,000 units in the US in 2017. The Honda Civic can also be bought for as cheap $19,000. The Model 3 no matter if you combine all trims and global sales will not sell 378,000 units ever in one year.

Yeah, #5 is attainable, but not #1. Price points matter. What I don’t remember is whether the Model Y will be more expensive (like the X versus S) or less expensive than the Model III. If Tesla manages to get to that next level of automation in manufacturing, then I could easily see them have the Model Y cheaper than the Model III.

Camry is hard to beat. If only Toyota had pursued BEVs instead of FCEVs…

I don’t know that Tesla has talked about pricing for the Model Y, but the TMY will be more expensive than the TM3 at the time it goes into production (the price on the TM3 might come down by then), just like the Model X is more expensive than the Model S, and for the same reason.

Are you high?? Why would any seller lower the price for any product that they have hundreds of thousands of buyers waiting to buy at the old price let alone an even higher price of wanted. No way in hell Tesla will lower the price for any of their products.

Are you asleep? 😉 Tesla has lowered the price of its cars several times during its history.

Tesla lowered the price for some options on the Model 3 just a few weeks ago. Wake up and smell the coffee!


I have no facts to back this up, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the price gap between Model 3 and Model Y ends up being the same as the gap between BMW 3-Series and X3 prices for similar performance/features.

Toyota is essentially lost to the bev world for the next few years.
Base model Model Y will certainly cost at least 30% more than the base model 3 for 3 simple reasons:
1) inflation being a few years later will raise pricing
2) Model Y will be a bigger car that has falcon wing doors and probably awd standard too…$$$
3) Hello??? Charge more if demand is high and your supply is limited. Model Y is in a ever more popular class of vehicle, small suv, while the model 3 is popular but sedans continue to lose market share.

I’ll eat my hat if the Model Y has falcon wing doors.

But it will be a bigger vehicle and thus will cost more.

That’s what Elon is promising apparently. It doesn’t matter a whole lot to me either way

The Y will cost more.

“But I look forward to the people aligned against Tesla to…”

Bravo Nix. Post of the month.

You’re assuming Honda sells the same number of civics in 2019 which will not happen. Honda’s own accord and hybrid insight will take tens of thousands of those sales let alone potential civic folk thinking smarter and going with a plug in vehicle.
The sedan class overall has decreased dramatically this decade in the USA and will continue to do so…but not the model 3.
I do see the model 3 being the best selling sedan in CA next year and possibly the USA as well. If not 2019, 2020 for sure all of USA as further improvements are placed on new model 3s in typical Tesla fashion.

With Tesla the question is less about max sales for an individual model, but what the sustained yearly sales are. Is it 100k/yr or 250k/yr.

Or 500k/year or 1 million/year … capacity will keep growing and the audience is huge for Model 3 and Model Y when you consider worldwide customer base.

Then add in the Tesla pickup and variations on that base … there’s no end in sight to the growth if they keep executing.

number 1 selling EV in the US sure. Number 1 selling sedean? Not going to happen!

BMW: increasing production of the i3. Tells you something. The superior characteristics of the electric drive experience are getting out there.

My wife was lukewarm about us buying a PHEV, but when it was recently in the shop (mouse ate a wire) and we had an ICE loaner, she HATED the delayed response. It’s hard to go back – and we have a C-Max, not a performance car.

Every time I switch from Bolt to Crosstrek, I’m ugh, noisy, slow, laggy….. Electric drive is just better

I have told coworkers – that ICE Cars – when you squash the Pedal – First Make a lot of Noise, then Start to respond; but Electrics, stay Quiet – and Just Respond, Instantly!

I like the i3 but you’re making stuff up. All automakers sans Tesla build, increase production of, and sell bevs to comply with regs so they can sell their fossil fool vehicles…at least that is for the next few years till they finally wake up.
Tesla is practically doubling model 3 production every quarter and you’re mentioning a slight yearly percentage increase in this article of somewhat competitor…ridiculous.

I mean, BMW is selling far more than necessary to comply with any regs and even Tesla sells their credits that they earn from making BEVs, so the “compliance car” claim really doesn’t make much sense.

This is great. Even though sedans are a shrinking segment it is a big step. Next milestone would be on a list of top overall vehicles.

Enter the Model Y…

You mean Tesla Truck :-). Look at top vehicles, the leading three are all pickups. If Tesla can pull off a great truck they have a shot at entering the top 3 overall: http://carsalesbase.com/us-sales-june-2018-models/

Oh yeah. Tesla Truck is game-over for ICE. GM & Ford are going to struggle financially once a mainstream BEV pickup is comparably priced. However, a 27k pickup truck is hard to beat from a price point.

I don’t know if a Tesla truck alone is enough. There are people that will not by a truck from a brand other than the one they follow. If a Ford buyer will not get a Chevy, RAM, Nissan or Toyota or vis-versa. What does Tesla bring to the market that would be unique? Tesla would have a more uphill battle with those people. People that buy trucks aren’t looking for gas savings, performance or quietness, otherwise they would choose some of the options currently out there.

I think the Sequence Elon has gamed into his plan – is: First – Tesla Semi (Showing it Can Haul Ass & Loads, just as fast!); then a Competitor to the F550 or F650 Size Large work Trucks that do daily work for Money, similar to the Folks that drives Semie’s – these will be about capabilities, and Profitability for the users (The Pickup that can Carry a Pickup, Remember?); Then – the F150 Level Competitor – when most every excuse has been already stripped away, particularly and ‘Specs’ Level Excuse!

Agree, but they will hit the luxury end of the F150 and other P/U truck market where people are spending $60K for a truck, with all the comforts. Then just using the to commute as a single occupancy driver.

I see what you’re saying. However, they may not care about gas savings when switching from 20 mpg Ford V8 to 22 mpg Hemi (making up exact #s here for argument). But they’re a lot more likely to cater when they can get 60+ mpge higher by switching to a Tesla truck. Especially if it comes with potential improvements like far-higher tow capacity etc. Not to mention autopilot and decreased maintenance.

I think you’re right those buyers are harder to convince. Which is why it’s good they’re starting with other segments. Model 3 and Y will expose truck buyers to compelling EVs via their neighbors and wives, and make them more open to considering the switch from their pickup brand of choice.

Almost certainly going to be in top-10 all by itself.

So far demand and production both seem to be holding up. I am reminded of the iPhone, which was more than most people could afford, but many people stretched and bought it anyway, as it was the new must have item. Designer jeans work the same way.

These days, many people have switched to cheaper Android phones, but it was quite a run.

So you are saying that Tesla sales may get stuck at 200 million+ per year, after becoming the dominant force in the automotive market. Like Apple.


It will let the haters maintain their complaining. Always makes me laugh when I read about the “sales growth slump for iPhone, Apple in trouble” articles. There is a limit to sales and being the company restrained by that limit is no bad thing.

People stretched to buy designer jeans. I think you mean squeezed to fit! Good analogy.

So 7 pretend E wears skinny jeans at his Wall Street job?

Apple kept raising the prices while android stayed lower.
OTOH, Tesla prices are coming down to the point where a Tesla is the same price as its ICE competitors.
Note that Tesla has said that in a couple of years, they will be doing sub-compacts, similar to camrys, etc.

When did Tesla say they would produce sub-compacts?


Elon made an off-hand remark at the last stockholder’s meeting about Tesla perhaps making a compact car in a few years, but I don’t think any Tesla spokesman has ever said Tesla is going to make a “sub-compact”.

Camry is a midsize, not a sub-compact.

These days Camry is a more of a full-size. Corolla is mid-size, IINM.

Tesla just raised the price of the Model X and S, BTW. Although they are including more options as Standard.

They increased the base S/X price by $2000 dollars, while making a $5,000 dollar PUP package standard.

Current inflation rate is now close to 3%. That means the cost of a $100 dollar product has to increase to $103 just to keep up with inflation. Based on 3% inflation, inflation effectively would increase the price by over $2000 dollars.

When adjusted for inflation, S/X buyers just got a free $5,000 PUP package while the price barely moved in Real Dollars. Meanwhile prices of ICE cars continue to go up, and nobody even talks about it. But I’m sure we’ll hear about the price increase like it is the end of the world for Tesla….


Exactly Nix, people forget about the affect of inflation. IMO this is how EVs will compensate for the loss of the federal tax credit. At 3% inflation even the lowly $30k Leaf should be going up in price by almost $1k per year. By the time Nissan loses the tax credit, the effective price of the Leaf in real (inflation adjusted) dollars will be down more than enough to compensate for the credit. Plus the car has gotten loads better over that time. And I’m just using Leaf as an example, this applies to most EVs. Price stays the same over time, while gassers go up a bit each year b/c of inflation. Eventually those paths intersect and EVs become price competitive UP FRONT with comparably equipped gassers.

I haven’t heard Tesla mention sub-compacts.

However, Musk did hint at producing a compact within the next 5 years. That is most likely what you’re thinking of. 🙂

They already produce a compact.

Not according to Tesla, they don’t.

Wikipedia describes the Model 3 as a “a mid-size (US) / compact executive (EU) luxury all-electric four-door sedan”.

Article title: “Tesla Model 3 Could Soon Charge Into The Top 5 Of Sedan Sales”

Within six months article title will be:

Tesla Model 3 Could Soon Charge Into The Top 3 Of Sedan Sales

… and not to forget Model S continues to hold hold a respectful sales position:

“Tesla Model S Crushes Large Luxury Car Competition In USA…Out of 10 large luxury car models, the Tesla Model S gobbled up a notable 34% of sales. The Mercedes S-Class trailed it most closely with 23% of sales. ” source:

It’s starting to get real for the EV laggards…

What this doesn’t account for is the rise of those luxury automakers CUV/SUV. Mercedes and BMW are selling more vehicles than ever – just not cars.

Is a CUV classed for licensing/tax purposes as a “light truck”? Seems like it ought to be classed as a “car”, since it’s built on a car frame/unibody. But maybe that’s too logical for the Dept. of Motor Vehicles. 😉

Tesla charges $5K more for the Model X SUV than the Model S sedan; imagine if Tesla delivered the Model Y before the 3 for same price minus the forced $5k PUP?

Tesla Model 3 sales in 2020:


More like 399,800

Yeah without taxpayer Money sales will go towards zero

Ha Ha – you trolls kill me – so delusional..

You Usual Suspects must love being wrong, since you always are about Tesla’s sales! 🙄

Imagine how quick the adoption to EV would be if we weren’t giving billions of dollars in tax breaks to oil and gas to artificially lower the price.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

Beat me to it…….lol
The douche-bag must not know about the petrol subsidies.

There is not a single penny of taxpayer money in the tax credits.

@jelloslug said: “There is not a single penny of taxpayer money in the tax credits.”

Excellent point that many (that’s you @James) don’t comprehend.

Not sure I follow your logic there. Tax credits allow the taxpayer to keep more of his hard earned money, therefore the credit is taxpayer money. But if you think about it, everything the government does is with taxpayer money. Don’t get me wrong here, I support the EV tax credit because I support anything that allows the people who earned the money to keep more of it instead of sending it to the black hole that is Washington DC. I just don’t understand what you are saying about the tax credits not being taxpayer money. Seriously, not arguing here, I don’t understand and would appreciate clarification.

@Rightofthepeople! said: “…Tax credits allow the taxpayer to keep more of his hard earned money, therefore the credit is taxpayer money… I just don’t understand what you are saying about the tax credits not being taxpayer money…”

The original @James comment “Yeah without taxpayer Money sales will go towards zero” implies “taxpayer Money” to mean redistribution of collected taxpayer money is subsidizing the purchase of EVs.

That is due to a combination of reasons.

1. Model 3 sales/production continue to ramp up.
2. Sedan sales in the US continue to shrink. Camry/Accord/Fusion/Altima/Malibu used to sell over 1.2 million combined. That segment has been shrinking steadily. Of course, Civic/Corolla/Cruze also easily sell more than 200K each per year as well. But that segment is shrinking as well.

When you consider the Tesla Model 3 has essentially 3-4 years of suppressed demand (due to Tesla’s timetables), we will not know what the ‘normal’ Model 3 sales will be once the backlog has been satisfied.

I hope Tesla will be all smiles when they get swamped wiith a 70% take rate for only the base configuration. Elon will be all smiles.

If the “70% take rate for only the base configuration” (Model 3 @$36k + T&L) is achieved by Tesla next year in early 2019, the estimated $80.00 price of oil in 2020, will further add to the additional backlog, for the Base TM3.

Elon will still be swamped with demand, while tRump will still be trying to drain said swamp, with his terrifically terrible tariffs.

There is not a single car sold in the United States that sells 70% of their cars in the base configuration with not a single option added.

In fact, base model cars with no options are a rare unicorn on car lots for most car models. They are really hard to find, because buyers prefer cars with at least some options.

model3tracker.info documents with a massive data set of members that the Model 3 demand is exactly the same. Completely stripped base model configurations are a tiny fraction of what reservation holders plan on buying. Why do you folks absolutely refuse to look at the cold hard data, even when handed the link on a silver platter story after story?

“…a 70% take rate for only the base configuration.”

The whining from the Usual Suspects is getting more and more desperate, innit? So few things left for them to whine about.

Are you forgetting export sales? Only to Canada for the rest of this year, but from next year an increasing percentage of Model 3 will be exported, (unless Trump’s trade war results in retaliation by Europe and others).

Yep, I foresaw this months ago. While people were kvetching about EVs being “only 1% of sales”, it was also clear that the Model 3 would obliterate the charts and create a situation that makes EVs impossible to ignore. Already, they will almost certainly crest the 10% of all sales mark here in CA sometime before the end of the year buoyed along not just by TM3, but a whole host of other options too. Those kind of numbers will stun people beyond description.

> The Street found that if the Model 3 is able to average 5,000/week production for the next 2 quarters, that will put them on a path towards about ~130,000 units between July and December. If Tesla is able to increase average production to 6,000/week, they could top 156,000 units for 2H. These numbers take into account the roughly 11,000 in transit at the end of Q2.

No they don’t. How do I know that? Because I can do simple multiplication in my head.

Half a year is 26 weeks. 5k per week is 5k*26 = 130k. 6k per week is 1k more for 26 weeks, so add 26k, 130k + 26k = 156k.

Saying “The Street found” in this context is akin to saying it “found” two plus two to equal four. But for anyone who don’t immediately spot what the calculation was, the wording creates the impression that it’s some sort of much more sophisticated estimate. Saying it includes the 11k in transit seems to indicate you think it IS something more.

Seems you assume no international deliveries. Granted, Canada hasn’t absorbed a big volume and maybe cannot absorb a big volume, but zero would mean actually stopping the few international deliveries Tesla has started doing a while ago.

Do you really not expect Tesla to start delivering Model 3 in Europe before 2019?

Yes, at the moment Canadian deliveries have more or less stopped. Almost no Canadian Model 3 deliveries reported since mid-June. That may change in the coming months, but I wouldn’t expect many if I were waiting in Canada right now. No mass deliveries like in late May/early June.

As for Europe, at best a few token deliveries might begin in late Q4. European deliveries will start in 2019 for any quantity that matters for the purposes of comparing sedan sales in the U.S.

They tell European reservation holders 1Q19. I expect Tesla to ship as many 49k+ US Model 3s as possible in 2018 to capture the full $7500. Then I expect 49k+ deliveries overseas before 35k US. Whether that’s Q4 or next year depends on US demand for 49k+. My bet is Q4.

Shortage of other EV brands used to be common in Canada. That might change since Ontario got rid of the EVHIP credit though.

78,260 light duty plugins vehicles were sold in China with another 4,000 heavy duty plugins.
Tesla sold 2,350 Model-X, but don’t expect the same this month because of tariffs.

In Canada, Tesla sold 2,050 Model-3 and total sales of plugins in that country hit a new high of 6,130.
Seems 2018-06 is racing for a new Worldwide high.


Well I’m expecting 400,000 EV sales in the US for 2018 and 2,000,000 globally for 2018. So EV are definitely going main stream.

400,000 EV sales in the US in 2018? 199,826 EVs were sold in 2017. You believe that will double in 2018?

The article is not overly clear that you are talking about US sales. At least I think that’s what you mean? Also, Without listing the top ten cars and their sales figures for 2017, and predicting their 2018 sales based on slumping sales figures (or use the current 2018 monthly sales), it is hard to judge. For example from business insider article and car sales base website, the number 10 sedan in sales in the US I think is the Chevy Cruze with ~185,000 sales in the US for 2017. For H1 2018 vs H2 2017, the Cruze is down about 25%. If that trend continues the Cruze looks to have about 140,000-160,000 sales in 2018. The number 5 sedan in 2017 for the US was the Nissan Altima with 254,996 sales. Which also appears to be slumping at about -20%. So maybe 204,000 for 2018? The pessimistic to optimistic estimates for Tesla Model 3 US sales appears to be 130,000 to 160,000 sales. So, I can see the Tesla Model 3 having a shot at getting into the top 10 for 2018 if they really keep increasing production, but highly doubtful they crack the top 5. Still, pretty good… Read more »

Say it with me. Production does not equal sales/delivery.

What exactly is the white car (with a ‘wrap’??) forth one from the front?

Could this be something other than a Model 3/S/X?

There is a second similar car in the next to back row…