Tesla Model 3 = 6th Best Selling Car in USA

  • Published on April 6th, 2020

The Tesla Model 3 isn’t done with the headlines, despite the Model Y’s review-grabbing arrival and the coronavirus pandemic we’re dealing with at the moment. Tesla has climbed the rankings of the top selling cars in the USA and placed the Model 3 on the 6th rung*. That’s up from 9th in 2019 as a whole, up from 13th in the 1st quarter of 2019, and up from 7th in the 4th quarter of 2019. [Update: There was an error in the data of the original article that put the Dodge Charger too high on the list. That has now been corrected.]

Tesla Model 3 holds its resale value



*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. That said, CleanTechnica’s estimates are based on a variety of sources and data points, and our numbers have historically been validated (more or less) nearly 100% of the time by other sources, Elon Musk tweets, and details in Tesla quarterly reports days or months later.

As usual, the stunning thing about the Model 3’s high ranking is that its base price is much higher than the base MSRP of the other vehicles on this list, which are typically ~$15,000 cheaper on the low end. Furthermore, most Model 3 buyers add features or buy higher-trim, longer-range, higher-cost versions of the Model 3.

That said, for most people very familiar with the Model 3, including owners like myself, the Model 3 gets much closer in cost and can even beat the cost of these other models when conducting total cost of ownership calculations. The Model 3’s most notable benefits in those analyses are low operational costs, low maintenance costs, and high resale value.

Additionally, the value for the money is very high with the Model 3, helping to explain how it ranks so highly in sales comparisons. There is no car on the market with a higher value for the money as far as I’ve seen.

If the Model 3’s base price was lower, making the car accessible to many more people who would like to buy it, it’s likely that it would be the top selling car in the country quarter after quarter.

Note that the above ranking is just for cars. If you compare with all passenger vehicle models — SUVs and pickup trucks included — the Model 3 falls in the rankings to #19. I don’t personally collect all of the model numbers for SUVs and trucks as I do for cars, but Reuters published a list of the top 20 vehicles in the USA three days ago and I am using those figures. That list, however, did not include the Model 3, presumably because the reporter just compiled official data and did not venture into the world of US Tesla delivery estimates. (As a side note, Tesla would surely get a lot more headlines in the mainstream media about its sales leadership if it broke out its US data instead of only reporting global production and delivery numbers.)

As I wrote on Friday, US vehicle sales are dominated by SUVs and pickup trucks. That makes it very likely Tesla Model Y sales will surpass Tesla Model 3 sales once production capacity is high enough (and once the COVID-19 crisis passes or at least gets more moderate). The biggest question regards how high Model Y sales can go. Another big question is whether Tesla will start splitting out Model 3 and Model Y deliveries. If it doesn’t, it is going to get very hard to estimate numbers for the two models.

Getting back to the Model 3, I think a few independent rankings and findings help to explain why the Model 3 is such a top seller:

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.

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(Originally appeared at our sister-site, Cleantechnica.)

About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.