In the first quarter of 2019, for the third quarter in a row, Tesla outsold Porsche and Jaguar globally.
When you think of how well known and long respected Porsche and Jaguar are, Tesla’s consistently higher sales are a notable marker. There are frequently claims by critics and short sellers that once the big, old automakers decide to get moving, they will crush Tesla. Porsche and Jaguar have often been cited by those fortune tellers, with many a reference to the Jaguar I-PACE and Porsche Taycan, for example. But the sales data show us that Tesla is already bigger than Porsche and Jaguar. It is already the bigger boy.
Interestingly, Porsche’s Q1 2018 sales were slightly higher than Tesla’s Q1 2019 sales, but the German high-performance carmaker saw its sales drop 12% year over year, from 63,478 in Q1 2018 to 55,700 in Q1 2019. That reminds us that we’re not looking at Tesla’s growth in a vacuum. It is taking sales from other automakers, some certainly from Porsche, which was highly regarded as the performance driving leader before Tesla came along.
Of course, both Jaguar and Porsche sell several more models than Tesla. As Tesla expands its vehicle lineup, its sales consistently grow. The lower-cost Tesla Model 3 exploded Tesla’s sales, and the Model Y crossover is expected to do the same within a couple of years.
Also worth noting is that Jaguar and Porsche have long remained in the premium-class, exclusive, rich-person car category. Tesla, on the other hand, through its much more efficient electric powertrains, has made the argument that a Model 3 can compare on cost with mass-market cars like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord — while still offering the performance of a Porsche!
There’s a split in the broader analysis of Tesla. Some think the Tesla Model 3 had a ton of pent-up demand but that is now served and sales will collapse. Others think it’s only a matter of time till each Model 3 owner sells their car to 3–4 other people (or more) by showing them how wonderful the driving experience and tech of a Model 3 are — for the cost of a Camry or Accord. I’m clearly in the latter group, and I simply question if it takes a matter of months or a couple of years to get to a steady-state Model 3 demand level.
As you ponder the above, below are Q3 2018, Q4 2018, and full-year 2018 global sales data for Tesla, Porsche, and Jaguar.