Let that sink in for a moment: an electric vehicle built by a company that only started making cars ten years ago, sold in much higher numbers than models from luxury car giants.
That’s a great achievement, particularly since the Model 3 launched at a much higher price than initially advertised. It would appear then that Tesla has really nailed it with the Model 3, and its introduction to China and Europe in February 2019 is likely to send sales through the roof even more.
Earlier this year, Tesla announced it sold almost as many vehicles globally in 2018 (245,240) as it did in every previous year combined — going back to the company’s founding in 2003. A big contribution to that fantastic growth was the fact that the Model 3 became the best-selling premium vehicle in the United States.
Tesla’s smallest car made up more than half of total sales, with 145,846 units reaching customers worldwide. The automaker didn’t release U.S. sales figures for the Model 3, but it is known that the bulk of deliveries stayed in the United States. InsideEVs‘ research points to Tesla selling about 139,782 Model 3s to American customers.
The next best-selling luxury car, the Lexus RX, was left far behind, with 111,641 units sold. The list also includes premium SUVs like the Mercedes-Benz GLC (62,435 units) and Audi Q5 (61,835 units). So not only did the Model 3 sell better than vehicles from established luxury automakers, but it also beat SUVs, the hottest market segment right now.
Furthermore, Model 3 sales accelerated in the second half of last year as production setbacks got solved. In the third quarter of 2018 alone, Tesla sold over 55,000 Model 3 units, with the number growing to 63,000 in the fourth quarter. Currently, the Model 3 starts at $42,950 for the Dual-Motor All-Wheel-Drive version. However, the much-anticipated Rear-Wheel Drive version with a standard battery that will be priced at $35,960 isn’t expected to go on sale until at least February.