Tesla Takes Top Spot in US Luxury Car Sales, Dethroning BMW

Despite the chaos of the last year, Tesla has come out on top.

byLewin Day| PUBLISHED Jan 11, 2023 7:07 PM
Tesla Takes Top Spot in US Luxury Car Sales, Dethroning BMW
07 February 2020, Lower Saxony, Hanover: Cars from Tesla stand in front of a sales shop and service center of the manufacturer of electric vehicles, Tesla. Photo: Julian Stratenschulte/dpa (Photo by Julian Stratenschulte/picture alliance via Getty Images).
Share

Against a backdrop of share price turmoil and unending controversy, Tesla clinched the top sales spot for luxury cars in the US last year.

As reported by Jalopnik, Tesla wrested the top spot from German rival BMW. The Bavarians had held the title for the past three years, but 2022 saw a changing of the guard. In 2022, Automotive News estimates that Tesla sold 491,000 vehicles in the US. In comparison, BMW shifted just 332,388 cars, trailing by over 150,000 units. Tesla's ascendance marks the first time an American brand has led the luxury sales charts in almost a quarter century.

It bears noting that the Tesla figures aren't exact, as the company doesn't break down its sales data by country and region. The figures from Automotive News are estimated based on vehicle registration data. With Tesla recording such a large lead, though, it's clear that the company is well ahead of its rivals on sales. It achieved this despite a tumbling share price in the wake of CEO Elon Musk's Twitter acquisition, and ongoing controversy around the company's "Full Self Driving" technology and the yet-to-be-delivered Cybertruck model.

It's a sharp reversal of the 2021 figures, in which BMW was previously on top, selling 336,644 units. In comparison, Tesla sold an estimated 313,400 cars, trailing by just over 20,000 units. Where BMW's overall sales remained roughly constant into 2022, Tesla saw enormous growth, with deliveries up 44% according to Automotive News.

BMW still managed to stay ahead of the rest of the pack, however. Mercedes-Benz came third in the US luxury market, shifting 286,764 vehicles. Lexus remained close behind Mercedes in the US, selling 285,704 vehicles. Moving down the list, Audi came a distant fifth with 186,875 sales, with Cadillac yet further away at 134,726 units sold. Acura and Volvo recorded 102,306 and 102,038 sales respectively, in seventh and eighth place.

While BMW will be disappointed to lose the US crown to Tesla, it nevertheless remained ahead of Mercedes-Benz in the global standings. As covered by Motor1, BWM sold 2,100,692 cars globally last year, compared to 2,043,900 for Mercedes-Benz. Notably though, BMW's global sales were down 5.1% overall, compared to Mercedes, which shed just 1% in the same time period.

The numbers show that the luxury space is quickly shifting towards electric cars. Tesla not only outsold BMW and all its other rivals, but did so without a single combustion-engined car in its lineup. Tyson Jominy of analytics firm J.D. Power noted that the tide is quickly changing. "Not only do luxury buyers want EVs, but the one that only sells EV is now the sales leader," Jominy told Automotive News, adding "If you want to be at the top of the luxury segment, you've got to beat Tesla, and you've got to do it with EVs."

Got a tip? Let the author know: lewin@thedrive.com