Report: Tesla Model 3 Is Fifth Best-Selling Car of August in the US

Sales of Tesla's compact sedan are expected to increase as manufacturing output climbs.

The Tesla Model 3 was the fifth best-selling passenger car in the United States during the month of August. It sold 20,450 units according to GoodCarBadCar, presumably a sales figure similar to the number of vehicles Tesla could produce throughout the month, as Model 3 demand still outstrips supply. 

Tesla officially releases its own sales data quarterly, and declined to comment when asked for confirmation of this figure. Nevertheless, Model 3 sales reportedly ranked fifth among passenger cars, behind only the Toyota Camry (30,141 sales), Honda Civic (27,677 sales), Honda Accord (26,725 sales), and Toyota Corolla (26,155 sales). Strangely, it occupies a no-man's-land between the Corolla and the next-closest vehicle, the Hyundai Elantra, which is down at 15,475.

Reported Model 3 sales also beat out the combined totals of its chief German competitors in the premium compact sedan segment. In the same period, Audi moved 3,768 A4 sedans, BMW 3,751 3-series, and Mercedes-Benz 4,071 C-class vehicles, combining for 11,590 sales.

Including truck and crossover sales, however, the Model 3 slips down to 15th in the context of the entire U.S. market. Its volume is dwarfed by the Ford F-series pickup (81,839 sales) and FCA's Ram pickups (49,912 sales), as well as three crossovers each moving upwards of 33,400 vehicles each. However, the Model 3 still outsold one of FCA's biggest cash cows, the Jeep Wrangler, which moved 20,168 SUVs, a 20 percent increase over 2017 volume.

A common attraction for customers of the Model 3 is the vehicle's high Environmental Protection Agency mpg-equivalent (EPA MPGe) efficiency rating, allowing reduced running costs. However, the Model 3 is disproportionately expensive to insure when compared to its competitors owing to expensive bodywork and higher claim rates than average, offsetting this cost some. This may be partially attributable to frequent misuse of Tesla's "Autopilot" automated driving assist suite, though this may be in turn caused by misunderstanding of the difference between automated and autonomous.

Controversial or not, the Model 3 is already one of the nation's bestselling vehicles, and Tesla just needs to figure out how to make more of them to boost its sales.