Tesla Model 3 Is Best Selling Luxury Car In USA — By Far (Q1 2020)

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The Tesla Model 3 accounted for approximately 21% of new small & midsize luxury car sales in the USA in the first quarter of 2020*. For some perspective, the BMW 2 Series, 3 Series, 4 Series, and 5 Series together combined for approximately 15% of the segment’s share (or segments’ share, actually, since we’re combining two segments — small luxury cars and midsize luxury cars). The Mercedes C-Class, CLA-Class, CLS-Class, and E-Class combined for 13%.

The first chart below looks like it’s broken due to the Model 3 being so far in the lead. The second chart pulls together the wide range of somewhat, maybe, possibly relevant competitors for each brand. Of course, the dimensions, passenger space, cargo space, and features of all of these different models shouldn’t be combined in most cases, but as I’ve argued before, if you really want a Tesla, you have only one choice anywhere close to an Audi A2, A3, A4, or A5 (or the same sort of combo for other brands) — the Model 3.

The Model 3 generally has better acceleration and more interior space than the other models in this ranking. Additionally, the Model 3 typically has a much lower operational cost, is expected to have a much higher resale value, and has more advanced semi-autonomous driving features.

And — one of the top features of the car that got me to buy a Model 3 — it’s the safest car you could buy, according to NHTSA probability of injury test data.

In terms of price, performance, and features, the Model 3 definitely belongs in the midsize luxury car class — or some other more premium class. However, due to all of the factors above, as you can see, it doesn’t seem to belong in this class when it comes to sales. As reported last month, the Tesla Model 3 was the 8th best selling car in the USA in the first quarter, right behind 7 mass-market cars with a much lower base price.

Consumer Reports recently reported that Model 3 owners were happier with their cars than the owners of any other vehicle model. Kelley Blue Book shared last month that Tesla won 5 out of 6 “Brand Image Awards” in the luxury class. When all the data are pointing in one direction, the idea that Tesla simply has fanatical support from a niche group of looney tunes loses its appeal. Nonetheless, it seems there are still rather loud critics of Tesla who don’t understand why people buy Teslas. The best piece of advice I have as a solution is: go drive and toy with a Model 3 for a bit. Otherwise, or in addition to that, here’s my list of 70 reasons Tesla Model 3 owners love their cars:

  1. It achieved the highest safety rating ever from the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).
  2. Autopilot/Full Self Driving is a tech wonder that makes driving oodles more relaxing and safer — and is fun!
  3. The instant torque + motor and battery power capacity, especially in a midsize sedan body, make for some of the funnest driving possible.
  4. It’s a beautiful car.
  5. Supercharging doesn’t just make road trips possible, it makes road trips more enjoyable and in some cases more convenient than road trips with a gasmobile or non-Tesla EV.
  6. Destination chargers are hotels around the country/world. (Of course, in times of social non-isolating.)
  7. The way the door pops open with the touch of a button (from the inside) — continues to be a fun, gratifying experience for me after more than half a year with the car.
  8. Free or cheap fuel. (Not having home charging, I’ve only charged at public charging stations, which are all free in my area. Some areas have paid public charging, and most people charge at home, which is still normally cheaper than driving a gasmobile but does cost money.)
  9. Can charge your car at home.
  10. The glass roof — so nice to look out of it at certain times/places.
  11. Preheating/pre-cooling of the car via smartphone app.
  12. Automatic preheating/pre-cooling based on your calendar — if you’re into that.
  13. The seats — best seats I’ve ever experienced except for the Mercedes-Benz S-Class ones that massage you.
  14. Keyless locking/unlocking. I don’t do anything to lock or unlock the car — the phone and car do all the work.
  15. The steering wheel — it’s just nice.
  16. Netflix.
  17. YouTube.
  18. Hulu (I don’t use it, but looks good).
  19. Twitch (again, I don’t use it, but many people do).
  20. Spotify/music streaming.
  21. Beach Buggy.
  22. Stardew Valley.
  23. Chess (against the car or another person).
  24. Other games.
  25. Santa Mode.
  26. Mars Mode.
  27. Rainbow Road (w/ cowbell).
  28. Fart App.
  29. Trax.
  30. Camp Mode (including nice, warming campfire visualization).
  31. Autopilot visualizations (aside from the usefulness of the tech, it’s just fun and interesting looking at the visualization).
  32. Did I mention it’s pretty?
  33. Plenty of cargo space in the main trunk area, under-trunk compartment, and frunk. (Or you can get tons more cargo space in the Model Y if you prefer.)
  34. Can charge your car with solar power, and then can tell people you are driving on sunshine.
  35. Cabin Overheat Protection (makes sure the vehicle cabin doesn’t get above 105°F when you are away, unless the battery goes below 20%).
  36. Dog Mode.
  37. Drawing pad. (Great for kids! But also fun for adults!)
  38. Monty Python Easter egg.
  39. White & black interior is stunning.
  40. Sound system is top notch.
  41. Super smooth driving experience/feeling.
  42. Quiet at low speeds (not very quiet at high speeds, but I hear that’s gotten better).
  43. Best navigation system in the world (because of hardware + software).
  44. Heated seats — 3 levels.
  45. Automatic windshield wipers (though, they aren’t always good enough to use on their own).
  46. Vegan, PETA-approved interior materials for seats, steering wheel, etc.
  47. This is before getting the car, but it’s worth mentioning — no sleazy, scammy auto dealer to go through!
  48. Summon (you can bring the car to where you’re standing via your phone).
  49. Sentry Mode (watches out for intruders, vandals, and other passersby, and records them just in case).
  50. Can open trunk, frunk, doors, and windows via phone app. Can even remotely start the car. (Waiting for a Tesla to be featured in a Marvel film.)
  51. #FrunkPuppyFriday
  52. Can engage in a bit of fun trolling and honk at someone using phone app while you aren’t in the car. (I’ve done it too many times.)
  53. Great range on a full charge.
  54. Valet Mode & Speed Limit Mode.
  55. Superb handling — feels like a sports car packaged in a midsize sedan’s body.
  56. Navigation screen and phone app both show # of free Supercharger stalls at a Supercharger station.
  57. Can schedule service easily through phone app.
  58. Can request roadside assistance, and select from list of common problems, via phone app.
  59. Can find location of car via phone app.
  60. Carpool lane access, free parking, or other perks in certain places.
  61. Voice commands. Work very well, including the voice-to-text feature for text messaging.
  62. Driver profiles.
  63. Air conditioning vents — unique, designed by Tesla, and work better than typical car air conditioning vents.
  64. Tremendous efficiency.
  65. Almost no maintenance.
  66. Great resale value — best on the US market.
  67. Minimalist interior.
  68. Over-the-air software updates that routinely improve your car (in the time I’ve had my car, we’ve gotten updates that increase range, increase power, and add several of the items above, like Netflix, YouTube, some games, some Autopilot visualizations).
  69. Can read CleanTechnica on vehicle browser/touchscreen!
  70. Zero emissions.

Want to buy a Tesla Model 3, Model S, or Model X? Feel free to use my referral code to get some free Supercharging miles with your purchase: https://ts.la/zachary63404You can also get a $250 discount on Tesla solar with that code.

*Note: This is based on official figures from other automakers but an estimate for the Model 3. Tesla only reports global sales, without splitting them out by country or region, and has also started combining Model 3 and Model Y sales/deliveries. A little while after I published articles about Tesla’s US 1st quarter sales earlier this month, I discovered that our estimates for foreign sales had been too pessimistic. Sales abroad were much higher in the 1st quarter than we initially thought — most notably, in Europe, South Korea, and China. That meant that US Tesla sales estimates were too high. So, I think for the first time in my history of doing this, I had to pull some sales reports and wait for a bit more data before publishing updates. (Next quarter we will simply wait longer to publish our reports.)


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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.

Zachary Shahan has 7295 posts and counting. See all posts by Zachary Shahan