All luxury brands beware.
Tesla is celebrating today as it passed Mercedes-Benz in sales in the luxury market. It moved up to number three in the first three quarters of a chip-shortage-affected 2021, behind Lexus in second place and BMW in first. The Silicon Valley company moved 230,855 vehicles from January to September.
That beats Mercedes, which sold 214K, and is behind the Lexus mark of 246K and Bimmer's 259K, according to Automotive News. Tesla sales are up 76% over the same period from last year. That's more than double the gains of BMW and Lexus, which are up 36% and 33% respectively. We're guessing those automakers are watching their backs very closely.
We like to poke fun at the Tesla Model S and its ilk for its "Full Self-Driving" follies and its CEO's Twitter meltdowns, but we'll admit this was an impressive feat. In addition to the chip shortage, and the general malaise the pandemic has brought, Tesla only sells four models, compared to Mercedes' several dozen.
Jessica Caldwell at Edmunds wanted to caution folks from putting too much stock (pun intended) in this number.
"It might be a bit early to say Tesla is surpassing Mercedes in sales permanently, but the fact that it's managed to do so with a much more limited product line is impressive," said Caldwell to AN. "Given where we are with the chip shortage, it's probably premature to make any sweeping long-term declarations as automakers are grappling with varying degrees of difficulty, but it does show the strength of Tesla."
So Musk should be doing a victory lap, instead he might be facing more questions from the US Securities Exchange Commission after sending a poll to his Twitter followers asking if he should sell some of his stock. He explained he was thinking about doing this to pay some personal taxes.
He's not allowed to do that, after he was punished a few years back for Tweeting incoherently about the company's stock price, pushing it downward. Since then he is supposed to have a lawyer review anything that might be considered inside information. It's a big deal for Tesla to pass a giant like Mercedes, but we'll have to wait a few months, or years, to see if it sticks.