Finding a way to mitigate Tesla’s impact is now a top priority for some automakers, according to one of the largest car dealer groups in the US who admits that Model 3 is affecting its BMW sales.

The comment was made by Jeff Dyke, President of Sonic Automotive, a company that operates over 100 car dealerships for many different brands in the US.

Sonic reported its financial results for the last quarter this week and its BMW sales were noticeably bad.

On the company’s earnings call yesterday, Dyke was asked if he sees Model 3 having an impact and he answered:

“There’s no question. I mean… they’re calling out to sell well over 300,000 cars this year, they sold a lot of cars last year. […] you can say all you want about their service problems and all of this, they just keep selling more cars. And I don’t know if it’s more of a cult than it is anything else, but my hat off to them. They’re selling lots of cars [..]”

Furthermore, Dyke says that he gathers from meetings with automakers that combating Tesla is now a top priority

He continued:

“I can tell you that I’ve spent a lot of time in manufacturer meetings and five years ago Tesla was just not even a real big topic and today it’s the top of everybody’s board and it needs to be.”

Dyke says that Audi, one of the brands they are selling, is doing a “good job” to come out with electric vehicles to compete with Tesla, but he thinks that BMW needs to do more.

Audi has at least one new all-electric vehicle lined up every year starting this year.

BMW has the Mini Electric coming later this year, but its real EV push is expected to start next year with its next-generation electric powertrain and the new BMW iX3.

Electrek’s Take

This is great. It was always Tesla’s goal to light a fire under other automakers to accelerate their EV programs and going after their sales is the best way to do it.

Last year, Tesla revealed the top 5 cars Tesla Model 3 buyers are trading in and the Prius topped the list:

  • Toyota Prius
  • BMW 3-Series
  • Honda Accord
  • Honda Civic
  • Nissan Leaf

Toyota recently admitted that the Tesla Model 3 is affecting Prius sales and they even said that Tesla is currently responsible for half of Toyota’s owner defection rate.

Now it looks like BMW dealers are also confirming that Model 3 is affecting them.

If that doesn’t push them to come out with better all-electric vehicles sooner, I don’t know what will… other than regulations, but that’s not happening in the US — at least not right now.

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