Tesla Model S becomes US bestseller

Posted on 18 Oct 2016 by Michael Cruickshank

The Model S sedan produced by Tesla Motors has risen to become the most popular vehicle in its category.

Specifically, the battery-electric car was the bestselling luxury sedan in the US in the 3rd quarter of 2016 by a wide margin.

All up, the company sold 9,156 vehicles within this time period with its nearest competitor, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, trailing far behind at 4,921 sales.

Previously the Model S held a marginal lead in this category; however, compared to the same period last year, the company has now almost doubled its sales.

Furthermore, sales of Tesla’s Model S represented over a third of all luxury sedan sales in Q3 2016.

Over the same time period, the company’s most recently released vehicle, the Model X SUV also sold well.

All up 5,428 of these vehicles were sold in 2016, representing a 6% chunk of the luxury SUV market in the US according to Bloomberg.

Autopilot woes not hurting sales

One interesting thing which this data demonstrates is that the company does not appear to have been hurt by the ongoing controversy regarding its ‘Autopilot’ technology.

This technology, which offers a form of limited autonomous driving, has been linked to several accidents, including one which was fatal.

While these crashes were covered extensively in the media, it appears consumers have instead heeded Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s claims that the Autopilot software has prevented far more crashes than it has caused.

Tesla beginning to solve production issues

Another important takeaway from these figures is that Tesla seems to have got a handle on its previously lacklustre production speed.

The volume of cars now being sold – especially of the new Model X – indicates that the company’s production rate can now more effectively keep up with the demand for its vehicles, without this causing a reduction in quality.

Such a production speedup with likely be welcomed by Tesla’s investors prior to the launch of the mass market Model 3, which has already taken hundreds of thousands of pre-orders.