Tesla Model 3 = 6th Best Selling Car in USA
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.]
|*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:
- Kelley Blue Book expects the Model 3 to have the best resale value of any car on the market.
- Capital One research indicates that the resale values of its premium-class competitors have been tanking since the Model 3 hit the market.
- Last month, iSeeCars reported that the Model 3 has been holding its value dramatically better than any other vehicle on the market.
- Consumer Reports found that Tesla Model 3 owners are more satisfied with their vehicles than the owners of any other cars. For more on why that is, see: “70 Reasons Why Tesla Model 3 Is Most Loved Car.”
- The Model 3 achieved the best NHTSA safety score in history, beating out the #2 Model S and #3 Model X by a wide margin.
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(Originally appeared at our sister-site, Cleantechnica.)