It beat BMW by a wide margin.
According to the Automotive News Research & Data Center, Tesla delivered 491,000 vehicles in the United States last year, up 44% from 2021, to become the top luxury brand in America. As a reminder, Tesla sold 1,313,851 vehicles globally, but does not officially break down sales by country. The number is also not broken down by model, but the Tesla Model Y is likely the best-seller in the lineup.
Auto News' estimates are based on vehicle registration and other data, meaning they are fairly accurate. Assuming the numbers are correct, Tesla is now the best-selling luxury brand in America, beating out Mercedes and BMW by a wide margin.
We previously called Mercedes the luxury sales king with 350,949 units sold, beating out BMW's 332,388 units. However, Merc only beats BMW if you take into account its van sales. Even if the Tesla numbers are slightly off, a nearly 160,000 vehicle lead is more than enough to account for error. This is the first time an American automaker has worn the luxury sales crown in nearly a quarter century.
This result isn't particularly surprising given that Tesla was already on track to overtake the German brands a year ago. Tesla's dominance bucks many industry-wide trends, primarily proving that electric vehicles can appeal to a wide audience. Even more impressive, Tesla managed to beat BMW and Mercedes with a lineup comprised of 50% sedans in a market where any non-crossover is supposed to be sales poison.
No other automaker in the US came close to Tesla in EV sales with Audi selling just 15,677 of them. Counting non-luxury brands, Ford would come in a distant second place with 55,075 EVs sold in 2022.
Tesla enters 2023 in a strong position to retain its luxury and EV sales crowns as it continues to expand Gigafactory production capabilities. The American EV giant may receive a further boost if it can finally get Cybertruck production underway this year. While Tesla's lead doesn't seem to be in jeopardy in the near future, "legacy" automakers are investing billions towards electrification to catch up. Tesla may not have a competitive advantage forever.