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Tesla Now Selling More Vehicles In USA Than Lexus, Volkswagen, Mercedes, BMW, & Many Others

I just published a report highlighting the fact that Tesla’s US sales have been growing as the overall auto market has tanked, and I also published one looking at companies’ EV share of auto sales (Tesla being at 100%, of course). I nearly closed all my Google Sheets and left the topic of US EV sale until next quarter after those but then remembered one more key set of milestones that some readers have highlighted. That is that Tesla has been passing up automakers in terms of overall vehicle sales in the USA.

First, let’s look at the 3rd quarter of 2020 (last year). In the 3rd quarter of 2020, at 59,110 sales* (read: deliveries), Tesla had more US sales than Buick (49,163), Audi (47,893), Acura (39,664), Cadillac (32,965), Chrysler (31,870), Volvo (30,349), Lincoln (27,554), Mitsubishi (24,857), Infiniti (17,367), Porsche (15,548), MINI (9,064), Alfa Romeo (5,056), and Fiat (1,102).

With Tesla sales up 67% in the 3rd quarter of 2021 compared to the 3rd quarter of 2020, and no other automaker close to that, we know that Tesla must have stayed ahead of all of those companies. But with that 67% growth, especially as most automakers dropped in sales, Tesla also collected more victories over other brands. With ~99,000 deliveries, Tesla was able to pass up GMC (97,254), Lexus (81,093), Volkswagen (79,321), BMW (75,619), Mercedes (71,185), and Dodge (49,059). That’s 6 major auto brands that Tesla just passed. Of course, it’s also worth pointing out here that Tesla has just two main models (Model 3 and Model Y) and the more expensive, limited-production Model S. Imagine what sales could get to with a few more vehicle body styles.

Also, I know close Tesla followers are already jumping out of their seats to point out — Tesla deliveries are not the same as Tesla sales. There is more demand for Tesla vehicles than Tesla has been able to supply. I just found out that if you order a Tesla Model Y today here in Florida, the estimated month of delivery is April. That’s a long wait, indicating far more consumer demand than Tesla can satisfy. The company also recently raised prices by a couple thousand dollars on the Model Y and Model 3.

Now, others will be quick to point out that all the automakers are saying supply is limited due to a lack of automotive chips. Tesla is not unique in having a supply–demand mismatch that leads to lower sales than automakers could make if they could just get those dang automotive chips. That said, a 6-month wait for a non-Tesla is certainly not normal.

Tesla’s Q3 sales numbers actually put Tesla as the 11th best selling auto brand in the USA. That compares to Tesla coming in 17th in Q3 2020.

Going back one year further, Tesla was 19th in the country in Q3 2019. Since then, you can see Tesla has climbed above Buick, Audi, Lexus, BMW, Mercedes, Volkswagen, Dodge, GMC (barely), and almost Subaru.

Where will Tesla be sitting in this ranking in Q3 2022? What about Q3 2023? Also, where will Tesla rank in Q4 2021, this quarter?

* Tesla sales are CleanTechnica estimates based on official Tesla data, Tesla registration data in other countries around the world, Troy Teslike’s Tesla sales estimates, and some other statements and data.


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Written By

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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