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Published on August 6th, 2018 | by Zachary Shahan


7 Charts — Tesla Model 3 vs The Competition (US Sales)

August 6th, 2018 by  

As Tesla Model 3 production and sales have grown, I’ve felt more and more inspired to compare the car’s scorecard against that of other models. I intended to update my “Small & Midsize Luxury Car Sales” charts and report this weekend, but then got a bit carried away. As a result, below are 7 sales charts regarding the Tesla Model 3 and some of its wide ranging “competition,” which includes not only small and midsize luxury cars but also some of the most popular, mass-market cars in the United States.

As you can see in this first one, in a straight model-to-model comparison, the Tesla Model 3 now embarrasses the competition in the small & midsize luxury car class.

One thing I love about that chart is that the Tesla Model 3 bar almost looks like the top border of the chart.

This is another way of looking at the data in the first chart. Instead of just comparing the Model 3 to a handful of models, I combined almost every single model in the small and midsize luxury car categories to find out what percentage of the market the Tesla Model 3 had gobbled up. The result = 23%.

As fun as it is, I was a bit unsatisfied with the bar chart at the top. After all, the other manufacturers do have multiple models in the same general price vicinity, allowing customers a bit more personalization in terms of size, features, etc. I figured the Tesla Model 3 competes with the entire small + midsize luxury car lineups of other manufacturers. So, I created the chart above. Interestingly, the Model 3 still won. (And production is still ramping up!)

Naturally, it’s sometimes more interesting to look at how things have changed over time than it is to look at one blip in time. In the chart above, note that you can select “January” (via a circle near the top on the left) or “July” (via a circle near the top on the right).

Aside from seeing the Model 3 bar pop up in that fun way, an interesting thing to watch is how the sales of the next three automakers drop down going from January to July. The BMW quartet drops from a total of 12,201 to 9,502; Audi’s A3 through A6 team drops from 9,149 to 7,982; and the Mercedes mass-market monsters collapse from 11,271 to 7,517. (Shhh, don’t tell their shareholders.)

For those of you who want a lot more detail, the chart above goes through every month from January to July and goes back to breaking the numbers out by individual model. That’s just fun, right? The July ending is epic. Except — the party’s not over.

Okay, maybe we’re not being fair. For various reasons, the Model 3 goes beyond the luxury car classes and appeals to people who want a green car, a sporty American car, a practical car, an efficient car, and a computer on wheels. So, to make the competition more interesting, I compared Model 3 sales to sales of some of the most popular models around.

These are note the most popular cars in the country, but rather a selection of models I thought it would be particularly interesting to track over time. I picked three of the models that Tesla just reported get traded in the most for the Model 3 (the Toyota Prius, Honda Accord, and Honda Civic). I added in a couple of other mass market cars that approach the price of a base Model 3 but don’t slot into the “luxury car” category — the Nissan Maxima and Toyota Avalon. To tie the knot, I dropped in America’s most popular “muscle car” … before the Model 3 arrived — the Ford Mustang. I’m super curious to see how the sales of these models change over time.

Note: If you hold the cursor over one of the lines on the graph above for a moment, that will make the other lines fade so that you can see the selected line better.

But this last chart is probably the one I’ll be watching most closely as it changes from month to month. This is a chart of the 10 most popular cars in the United States. As you might glean from a quick scan of the chart, the other cars are much, much cheaper than the Tesla Model 3. To be specific, base MSRPs are as follows:

1. Toyota Corolla = $19,000

2. Toyota Camry = $24,000

3. Honda Civic = $19,000

4. Honda Accord = $24,000

5. Nissan Sentra = $17,000

6. Nissan Altima = $23,000

7. Hyundai Elantra = $17,000

8. Tesla Model 3 = $35,000 eventually, $49,000 today

9. Kia Optima = $23,000

10. Ford Fusion = $23,000

In other words, one of these cars doesn’t belong. Yet, it also belongs here more than any other.


Sorry, Elon — Tesla Model 3 Much Better Than I Expected (#CleanTechnica Review)

Tesla Model 3 — 7th/8th Best Selling Car In USA — Is In A Class Of Its Own

Our Tesla Model 3 Long-Term Review



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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in NIO [NIO], Tesla [TSLA], and Xpeng [XPEV]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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