Earlier this month, Tesla claimed that Model 3 is about to become the best-selling mid-size premium sedan in the US – electric or not.

While it could be there soon, it’s already there in California, where Model 3 outsold the BMW 3-Series and Mercedes C-Class to become the best-selling car in the segment during the first quarter, according to a new report based on new registrations. 

A few years after its launch in the US, Tesla’s Model S already took the crown in the large premium sedan segment – though there’s some controversy about considering the Model S “a large premium sedan.”

Model 3 is climbing to the top of its own segment even faster as Tesla starts to produce the vehicle in higher volumes.

During the first quarter, production was still fairly limited, but deliveries were mostly concentrated in California and it was enough for Tesla to take the top position.

According to the California New Car Dealers Association (CNCDA), 3,723 Model 3 vehicles were registered between January and March, which pushed the vehicle to the top of what they refer to as the ‘near luxury’ segment:

Models Regs. Share
Tesla Model 3 3723 14.3%
Mercedes C-Class 3323 12.7%
BMW 3-Series 3260 12.5%
Lexus ES 2024 7.8%
Infiniti Q50 1944 7.4%

In the second quarter, Tesla has ramped up Model 3 production, but deliveries have expanded around the US and in Canada.

It’s not clear how it will affect the vehicle’s market share in California, but Tesla predicts that Model 3 is “already on the cusp of becoming the best-selling mid-sized premium sedan in the US” in its Q1 2018 shareholders’ letter released today.

Tesla produced this chart of the market share in the segment over the last 6 months (roughly since the start of Model 3 production):

It’s particularly interesting since Tesla generally doesn’t release deliveries per market on a monthly basis.

Unsurprisingly, Model 3 deliveries in California have also made Tesla the fastest growing automakers in the state based on registrations.

Here are the percentage increases during the quarter over the same period last year:

A similar impact is expected in the entire country as production increases and reservation holders get their cars.

Tesla has recently maintained a production rate of over 2,000 units per week and based on an email from Elon Musk to employees that we leaked last week, Tesla was on track for 3,500 Model 3 vehicles per week.

The company is working toward its goal to reach 5,000 units per week at the end of the quarter in order to work through its backlog of reservations, which was still at over 450,000 reservations at the end of last quarter, according to Tesla.

Here’s the full report from the California New Car Dealers Association:

View this document on Scribd

About the Author