For many years, the BMW 3-series was the top-selling luxury sports sedan in the US. Not only did it hold that title, it also was the top selling luxury car brand in the country. Recently, the Mercedes-Benz C-class has bumped the 3-series down a notch, but it was a short lived reign for Mercedes-Benz in the state of California…today, another brand has pushed both BMW and Mercedes-Benz down in the rankings: Tesla.
The data is pretty clear when you take a look at what the California New Car Dealers Association says. This organization shows that in the first quarter of 2018, the Tesla Model 3 boasted a total of more than 3700 new vehicle registrations in California. This was all registrations from January to March, 2018. When you compare that with other luxury models, specifically the Mercedes-Benz C-class and BMW 3-Series, you can see those falling. The C-class had a bit over 3300 registrations and the 3-Series had just over 3200 registrations. To further compare other luxury brands, the Lexus ES had just over 2000 registrations and the Infinity Q50 had just over 1900. These were the top five best sellers in the luxury car group.
When you look at all stats, Tesla has claimed about 1.5 percent market share for light trucks and passenger cars. This is quite impressive considering that the brand doesn’t have traditional sales models or dealerships.
When Tesla first announced the Model 3, it was supposed to be the most affordable Tesla model, and it was meant to attract the masses. The company planned on selling the car starting at $35,000, and for many buyers, $30,000, since there is still a federal EV tax credit available. However, there have not been any base Model-3 Tesla’s released yet; the only ones that have come out are the pricier trims. Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, did recently announce that the electric car company will soon begin taking orders for the Model-3 performance model, which is around $78,000. Musk was also asked about the base model of the Model-3. He said that if the company because shipping the orders for the Model 3, it would cause the money to bleed money, and he didn’t believe that the company could handle that. He said the company could only start shipping those models when they could create about 5000 cars a week.
Currently, the Golden State is a hot bed for people who want to drive electric vehicles. Approximately 10% of all cars sold in California are electric or hybrid. When considering all cars in California, hybrid and electric vehicles make up about 3% of all cars on the road.
BMW and Mercedes-Benz are working on creating full electric cars, but both luxury car companies say that it would be a few years before these vehicles are widely produced. In the meantime, both brands have a hybrid version of both the C-class and the 3-Series. BMW also has the i3, which is a city car, available as both a PHEV and EV. Once these well-known companies release versions of a full electric car, it will be very interesting to see what happens to Tesla, and if it can compete with brands that have been well known and well-loved for decades.