For decades, the Honda Civic/Accord and Toyota Corolla/Camry have been the most popular cars sold in America. Their reputations for quality and reliability are unimpeachable. On the used car market, they are so much in demand, their prices are often significantly higher than comparable models from Ford, Chevrolet, Chrysler, or other manufacturers. That edge has been called “the Toyota tax,” a premium buyers are willing to pay to get one of the best used cars available.
Now, its true that sedan sales have fallen off a cliff in the past few years, as light duty pickup trucks and SUVs have taken over the majority of the new car market in the US. Still, it’s a bit of a surprise to read in CleanTechnica that the Tesla Model 3 was the best selling sedan in California in the the first quarter of this year, edging out Honda and Toyota for the first time.
Forbes contributor Brooke Crothers writes, “The Prius that is parked outside my next door neighbor’s home is still there but it’s now outnumbered by two Model 3s, which flank it on either side on most days. And five neighbors within 100 yards of my home have Model 3s. That’s a seismic shift from 2 years ago when there were none in my immediate neighborhood. In the wider community there is a plague of Model 3s. At the local shopping mall on Saturday, there were two parked near me plus the first Model Y I’ve ever seen at the this location.”
Now for the Q1 numbers, for the Tesla Model 3 and other electric leaders, courtesy of CleanTechnica:
Here are just the top 3 in the sedan category:
- Tesla Model 3 – 18,856
- Honda Civic – 18,001
- Toyota Camry – 17,871
Furthermore: this is without federal tax credits Tesla had before 2020.
Worth noting that, as of Jan 1, Tesla buyers no longer received any federal tax credit. Model 3 led despite this disadvantage.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 29, 2020
Overall, Tesla sales in the Golden State were up 9.3% year over year, while market share was 4.6%, up from 4.0% a year ago. The only downer in this picture is the decrease in Model S sales, something that may have been a factor in Tesla’s decision to cut the price of the Model S and Model X last week by $5,000. And, of course, the Tesla haters will point to that statistic as evidence the Tesla bubble is about to burst soon. Yeah, like that’s gonna happen.
People still like to snicker that Teslas are for rich people, but the truth is the average price of a new passenger vehicle in the US was $37,851 in January of this year, according to Kelley Blue Book. Sure, the coronavirus has knocked the stuffing out of the new car market, but most new vehicles sold in America today go out the door at pretty close to $40,000, which just happens to be the price of a new Model 3.
So, kwitcherbitchin about Teslas being charm bracelet baubles for the wealthy. Teslas are outselling their mainstream competitors, at least in California. When a writer for Forbes says there’s a plague of them in his neighborhood, that’s a trend you can take to the bank.