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Published on October 20th, 2018 | by Zachary Shahan


Tesla Model S Still #1 Large Luxury Car In USA — By Far

October 20th, 2018 by  

Poor Model S and Model X. Their younger sister came along and completely stole their thunder*. For years, the Model S and Model X were the hottest items in the auto industry. In particular, the Model S’s dramatic, unexpected, sharp rise to the top of its class — in terms of sales, consumer satisfaction, glowing reviews, and everything else — was the story of the century.

Then along came Model 3.

Now everything is Marsha, Marsha, Marsha Model 3, Model 3, Model 3. It must be difficult for poor forgotten Model S. And Model X too (the bloated middle child that never got enough love).

So, let’s all pause for a moment to give some love to S & X again.

Cutting to the chase, weeks after having fun with Model 3 sales figures and Tesla’s overall sales figures from September and Q3, I’m finally getting to my usual quarterly sales report for the Model S and Model X compared to their gaseous colleagues. Below are how the premium-class, zero-emission, torquey electric giants fared in terms of US Q3 sales**.

Well, that wasn’t even close.

Rather than just beating the competition in the large luxury car class, the Model S seems to be demolishing it. Tesla Model S sales have been fairly steady, though, so the bigger sales gap than in previous quarters comes from declining sales of competing large luxury car models. Those drops in sales have partly been due to people switching to SUVs and CUVs, and some of them are surely from more people in this class of cars shifting to the Model S (while more would-be Model S buyers from years past switch to the Model 3).

Now, this is the point where some people jump into the comments to claim that the Model S should be competing against midsize luxury cars. However, other car websites also put the Model S in the large luxury car class and I do think it fits best there, so that’s where I’m leaving it. Furthermore, when I look at Model 3 sales, I compare Tesla’s smaller sedan to both the small and the midsize luxury car competition.

The Model X has had more difficulty topping the charts in the extremely popular midsize luxury SUV class, slipping just outside the top 10 here.

That’s the class GoodCarBadCar puts the Model X in, but if you want to slot the X into the large luxury SUV class due to price and the skyward falcon-wing doors, then the X performs much better. It comes in second to only the class-dominant Cadillac Escalade.

I’m not telling you which group to put the X in — that’s your call — but it seems tome that it belongs in the large luxury SUV class. However, I imagine the bigger question you’re already brooding over is what Tesla Model Y will do in the midsize SUV and small SUV/CUV categories.

*I don’t really understand how you steal thunder, but I have to admit that I love having fun with a little multi-article metaphor.

**US sales are estimated based on previous Tesla/Elon Musk statements, European EV sales, and Chinese EV sales. 

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About the Author

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species). He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor. He's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love. 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, and Canada. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in. But he offers no professional investment advice and would rather not be responsible for you losing money, so don't jump to conclusions.

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