Tesla Crushing Incumbents In Large Luxury Segment −

100% Electric Vehicles

Published on February 10th, 2016 | by Zach


Tesla Crushing Incumbents In Large Luxury Segment

This is a point that I already highlighted in an article approximately a month ago, “#1 Large Luxury Car In US = Tesla Model S (2015 Sales Comparison).” Now, however, Tesla* has provided us with its official numbers! Our estimates for US Tesla Model S sales were a tad high for both 2014 and 2015, and the result is that Tesla’s year-over-year growth was even higher than projected. Either way, though, the story is the same: Tesla crushed the competition in the large luxury car market in 2015. Here’s Tesla’s table and own words on the triumph:

Tesla Sales Large Luxury SedansIn Q4, we increased global deliveries over 76% year on year as Model S market share gains continued in every geographic region. In the U.S., just over three years after entering the market, Model S took share from all incumbent manufacturers to become the number one selling comparably priced four-door sedan. In fact, Model S was the only vehicle in its class with growing sales last year. Even on our competitors’ home turf and in countries without government incentives to purchase electric vehicles, Model S is winning. For example, in Switzerland, Model S outsold the Mercedes Benz S-Class, the BMW 7- Series, the Porsche Panamera and the Audi A-8 combined for the full year, and also outsold the Mercedes Benz E-Class. In Germany in Q4, Model S outsold the Porsche Panamera. Finally, across all of Europe last year Model S outsold the Audi A8 and A7 combined and the BMW 7-Series and 6-Series combined.

Here’s the 2015 data put into chart format (since I love charts so much, and know others do too):

Tesla Tops US Large Luxury Car Sales

Image by Zachary Shahan | EV Obsession | CleanTechnica (available for republishing with the same credit)


Since I’ve already covered this general story, I’ll just repost what I wrote last month (for anyone who missed it or wants a refresher). And, by the way, Elon made the same point regarding the Model 3 vs similarly priced competition in the gasmobile segment on the quarterly conference call that just concluded. Anyhow, here are my brief words from last month aiming to add more context:

Giving the conventional automakers a little bit of slack, you could note that if you combined their various models on this class, Mercedes would be a little bit above Tesla, and BMW and Audi would be… well, still quite far behind.

Of course, Tesla doesn’t have the extensive dealer network Mercedes, BMW, and Audi have. Tesla doesn’t have the decades of brand building and advertising. And Tesla doesn’t have the production capacity of these giant automakers.

Think Mercedes, BMW, and Audi (Volkswagen) are getting a little bit concerned about Tesla at this point?

And what about when the Tesla Model 3 comes to market, challenging the BMW 3-series/5-series, the Audi A3/A4/A6, and the Mercedes A-Class/B-Class/C-Class?

I have an idea.

And since I didn’t mention it last month, I fully expect the Model X to take over the luxury SUV market at least as much as the Model S has taken over the large luxury car market. As Elon noted today on the conference call, he thinks the Model X is the best car in the world. I agree. Tesla execs may have ordered many headaches and sleepless nights for themselves due to the complexity of the X, but they also put together the most amazing car on the planet, imho.

Tesla has been purposefully suppressing demand for the X since it is so production constrained right now, but once word starts to get out there, reviews start to get published in the mass media, and more and more people see and experience the vehicle, X demand will increase in tremendous fashion.

Stay tuned for an update in a year or so. 😀

And if you need an intro or refresher on why the Tesla Model S & Model X kick the competition in the rear end so hard, check out:

Tesla Model S P85D Review

Tesla Model S 70D Review

i8 vs Model S vs ELR vs Panamera S E-Hybrid vs i3 (Exclusive)

8 Reasons Electric Cars Kick Your Car’s Boot

The #1 Reason Why Electric Cars Will Dominate The Car Market

The Other #1 Reason Why Electric Cars Will Dominate The Car Market

Tesla’s Competitive Advantages — 5 Big Ones

5 Ways Teslas Trump All Other Electric Cars

*Full Disclosure: I’m an investor in Tesla (TSLA). That is, I own stock in the company and don’t intend to sell it for at least 10 years. As such, I may be biased, but I have enthusiastically covered Tesla for much longer than I’ve been a shareholder and I don’t aim to move the stock price with my words. Frankly, I just write about what I find interesting and important. I think Tesla will be a long-term success for a handful of obvious reasons. I also fully support its mission. These are the reasons I’m long TSLA.


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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. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, SCTY, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB. After years of covering solar and EVs, he simply had a lot of faith in these companies and felt like they were good companies to invest in as a portion of his retirement strategy. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.

  • Speaking for myself, why would anyone buy “luxury car” that is herky-jerky? I drove my friend’s Lexus LS 460 (was top of the line at the time), and I couldn’t help but notice the jerkiness. Then there’s the sound of the engine up and down, up and down. Sound is low, but it’s annoying as heck; you’d never notice it until you’ve driven EV, even one of the cheapest one like SparkEV.

    As such, what is surprising is why isn’t Tesla dominating (ie, taking 90%+ of sales)? I just don’t see anything compelling about gas “luxury cars”.

    • El Prasito

      Maybe the problem is Elon himself who said many times that the Model S was *not* a luxury car. I personally don’t know what to call such a car that starts at $70,000+ …

    • There’s still surprisingly limited awareness about EVs, including Teslas. Those of us who follow closely think that most people know about them, but I think the opposite is actually true. This is out of date, but was shocking at the time nonetheless: http://evobsession.com/22-population-familiar-tesla-model-s-31-familiar-nissan-leaf/

      • Well, we’re talking about luxury car buyers, presumably better informed than general public that value fuel economy higher. They should care about smooth and quiet ride far more. But then again, I may be giving far too much credit to luxury car buyers.

    • milliamp

      I saw a post on reddit titled “Tesla sold almost as many cars in 2015 in the US as Rolls-Royce, Lamborghini, Ferrari, Bentley, Maserati, and Jaguar combined with a 60.8% increase over 2014.”

      There is a chart taking 2014 to 2015 change and projecting it forward to 2016: http://i.imgur.com/c3rUSl4.png

      But as you probably know Tesla is still manufacturing limited rather than demand limited. It may not quite be a luxury cars in the sense of some others but one of the differentiating features is becoming things like sophistication of things like infotainment systems where Tesla leads so on grounds of included technology it would be considered a luxury car.

      Then again on grounds of acceleration it would be considered a sports car. On grounds of fuel efficiency it would be considered an econocar. On grounds of available space it competes with crossovers. It’s not hard to see why there is demand for it.

      The link to the post is here:

      • I don’t know if Tesla should be compared to Ferrarris and Bentleys. They are different price class, and I don’t think those buyers would look to Tesla, though Tesla is lot smoother than any of them and quicker than most.

        But compared to similarly priced cars like BMW 6/7, Mercedes, I just don’t see why they’d take gas car over Tesla. I guess one reason could be that they live in areas without supercharger, but Superchargers are available in most well-to-do areas. I’m still puzzled by so much demand for gas luxury cars. Or maybe I’m just being too rational about car choice.

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