Tesla Outsold Mercedes in the US Through September of This Year

Elon Musk now heads the third best-selling luxury carmaker in the nation behind Lexus and BMW.

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As if we needed any more evidence of the growth of EV adoption, Tesla overtook Mercedes last quarter as the third top-selling luxury automaker in the United States. This news is based on vehicle registration data observed by Experian and subsequently reported via Automotive News. Over the first nine months of 2021, a total of 230,855 Teslas were registered across the nation while 213,708 Benzes were registered. For now, Lexus and BMW occupy the top two spots, logging 245,864 and 259,237 registrations over the same period, respectively.

Comparing the same metrics three months ago, Tesla was still in fourth place but has since surpassed Mercedes over the last quarter. This momentum could be enough for the Elon Musk-led company to catch up to Lexus and Bimmer before the end of the year, though at this point, that's pretty hefty speculation. Compared to the same period in 2020, Tesla sales are up 76 percent while Lexus and BMW sales have grown by 33 and 36 percent, respectively. 

Chris Tsui

Granted, the car market is still far from what one would call normal, with the chip shortage still dictating how many cars a given automaker can build and ultimately sell, regardless of consumer demand. So we're hesitant to interpret this news as a definitive sign that Teslas are more popular outright than Mercs. That said, it's still quite the accomplishment for a relative upstart like Tesla with just four models in its lineup to be outselling a century-old marque like Mercedes and its comparatively vast catalog of vehicles in the country. The Stuttgart-based brand is preparing to compete with Tesla head-on with the introduction of its immensely plush and relaxing new EQS electric sedan as well as a whole slew of other EVs. 

Some other tidbits from the report include the fact that Audi is currently numero cinco in the luxury car sales game, showing just 170,092 regs from January through September 2021, followed by Acura and Cadillac. Another fun if not overly shocking fact: California is leading the nation in terms of EV adoption, with California EV registrations up 82 percent over last year and accounting for 35 percent of all EV registrations in the country. In contrast, Texas—where Tesla has chosen to set up its second American factory—contributed just six percent of all new EV registrations. 

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