Tesla Model 3 Might = 5th Best Selling Car In USA In August

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We’ve got three solid signs of Tesla Model 3 production growth —  maybe 4* — so we figured it was a good time for another Tesla Model 3 sales update.

First of all, before getting to a slightly modified July sales chart, I’ll briefly mention the sources. The most bullish sign came yesterday from a couple of analysts who claimed Tesla is on track to reaching a Model 3 production rate of 8,000 cars/week. I actually think there was some confusion somewhere along the way and Tesla is actually on the verge of reaching 8,000 cars per week of all models (Model 3, Model S, and Model X), or ~6,000 units of the Model 3. Maybe I’m just being too cautious, but I think what’s more likely is a misunderstanding or mistake in communication regarding Model 3 production. The analysts who brought us this news, by the way, were Evercore ISI analysts George Galliers and Arndt Ellinghorst.

Another analyst, Ben Kallo, also indicated this week that his firm, Robert W. Baird & Co., recently had investors out at the Fremont factory and they estimate that Tesla is now producing “over 5,000 cars” a week. Kallo wasn’t actually clear there if he meant all Tesla vehicles or just Tesla Model 3s, but given the context and his overall conclusions, it appears he meant over 5,000 Model 3s per week.

Those statements line up quite well with the Bloomberg Model 3 tracker, which has estimated a weekly production rate over 5,000 during most of August and is now forecasting that Tesla will nearly hit 6,000 in the coming week.

With those notes out of the way, I think we can safely estimate >20,000 Model 3s will produced in August, and possibly 22,000 or so. The 5th best selling car in the United States in July was the Nissan Sentra at 19,362 deliveries. If Tesla manages to deliver 20,000+ Model 3s, that will likely put it in the #5 spot. If the Nissan Sentra does end up a bit above the Model 3, Tesla’s premier mass-market car is almost certainly going to land in the #6 spot.

With the #5 or #6 best selling car in the United States being a Tesla, and with Tesla passing Jaguar and Porsche in terms of its production rate, it seems you have to really be fighting reality to claim Tesla isn’t yet a major car manufacturer or that it doesn’t know how to execute.

Another interesting note is that two of the cars above the Model 3 — the Honda Accord and Honda Civic — are two of the top five cars traded into Tesla when buyers take home their Model 3s. That came as a bit of surprise since those cars are much cheaper at the register and are not the premium-class cars we expected Tesla would be pulling the most sales from.

Something else worth remembering is that sales of almost every other sedan have been dropping year over year. All four of the cars that will presumably remain above the Model 3 in August saw lower sales in July 2018 than July 2017.

Model July 2018 July 2017 % Change
Toyota Corolla 26,754 28,333 -6%
Toyota Camry 26,311 33,827 -22%
Honda Civic 26,311 36,683 -28%
Honda Accord 24,927 30,903 -19%
Nissan Sentra 19,362 18,724 3%
Nissan Altima 16,015 22,314 -28%
Hyundai Elantra 13,753 13,287 4%
Tesla Model 3 13,500 30 44900%
Kia Optima 10,919 7,933 38%
Ford Fusion 10,822 13,886 -22%
Hyundai Sonata 9,548 10,648 -10%

Yes, it’s true that Tesla doesn’t sell millions of cars a year, but it has only 3 models, with two of those being large luxury vehicles that are far outside the price range of a normal buyer. Imagine a Tesla lineup that includes a large luxury sedan, a midsize luxury sedan, a small luxury sedan, a large SUV, a CUV, and a pickup truck. That’s the future. Stay tuned to CleanTechnica to watch it arrive.

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Zachary Shahan

Zach 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 Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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