While taking the number-two spot among such long-established automakers is an impressive feat for a startup company, it isn’t entirely a fair comparison.
The day when electric vehicles outsell the old dinosaurs across the board is at least a couple of years away – but in the “large luxury” segment of the US market, a certain electric sedan is already one of the top sellers.
2013 first-quarter sales for large luxury sedans:
Cadillac XTS: 7,130
Tesla Model S: 4,750
Mercedes-Benz S Class: 3,077
Lexus LS: 2,860
BMW 7-Series: 2,338
While taking the number-two spot among such long-established automakers is an impressive feat for a startup company, it isn’t entirely a fair comparison. The Model S is the media darling of the moment, and none of the others shares its novelty value (or its eligibility for tax credits and other goodies).
Furthermore, Tesla has only one model to offer (so far), and competes with the big boys in only a single vehicle class. The others make everything from coupes to compacts to crossovers. Mercedes sold over 274,000 units in the US in 2012, whereas Tesla hopes to sell some 21,000 worldwide in 2013.
Whatever happens in the next quarter, and the next, this promises to be an exciting race.