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Tesla beats BMW and Mercedes for America's top premium car brand title

The 7-seat Model Y doesn't qualify for federal subsidies (image: Tesla)
The 7-seat Model Y doesn't qualify for federal subsidies (image: Tesla)
Tesla has now topped both the fuel efficiency and luxury vehicle sales rankings in the US, a feat that would have been unthinkable just a few years back. Deliveries of its expensive electric cars to buyers last year have managed to beat premium car juggernauts like BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Lexus.

Tesla's original strategy to start with luxury performance vehicles like the first Roadster, and use the revenue to develop mass market vehicles like the Model 3 or the upcoming Model 2, is slowly coming to fruition. Still, the average used Tesla car price remains almost twice the tag of a second-hand vehicle in the US, let alone Tesla's ASP for brand new EVs.

Its enviable profits of about US$10,000 per vehicle, however, and high average selling prices, have now made it the first local automaker to head the prestigious luxury vehicles sales ranking in the US in 25 years. According to Autonews estimates, Tesla has shipped 491,000 premium luxury cars last year, i.e. vehicles above certain price threshold, beating the usual BMW, Mercedes, Lexus, Audi, or Cadillac suspects to the punch.

  1. Tesla: 491,000
  2. BMW: 332,388
  3. Mercedes-Benz: 286,764
  4. Lexus: 258,704
  5. Audi: 186,875
  6. Cadillac: 134,726
  7. Acura: 102,306
  8. Volvo: 102,038

Needless to say, Tesla's EV prices that were increased several times last year before leveling off because of federal subsidies, are behind moving nearly a third of its vehicle sales into the luxury market category. The base Tesla Model Y Long Range sold in the US now starts from $65,990, while the purchase price of its Model 3 Performance is $62,990, and even the cheapest RWD Tesla easily gets above the $50,000 threshold with a few extras thrown in.

It remains to be seen if the Inflation Reduction Act's 2023 new EV subsidy bonanza will affect Tesla's newly minted standing as America's top premium car brand now, a rather quirky position to be in given that Tesla is also rated as the most fuel-efficient automaker in the US, too.

The most popular 7-seater trim of its bestselling Model Y SUV doesn't qualify for the $7,500 subsidy according to the Treasury Department, though, so it may very well beat BMW and Mercedes again, considering the general car market malaise that is expected to hit premium vehicles in 2023 on account of the rise in interest rates.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2023 01 > Tesla beats BMW and Mercedes for America's top premium car brand title
Daniel Zlatev, 2023-01-12 (Update: 2023-01-12)