Tesla Model S Outsold Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7 Series, Audi A8, Lexus LS and Porsche Panamera

Tesla Model S Outsold Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7 Series, Audi A8, Lexus LS and Porsche Panamera

With 2013 sales data now fully in the books, a class leader has been declared: Tesla Model S.

US sales for the Model S in 2013 checked in at ~ 17,650 units, which puts Tesla’s electric sedan well ahead of its large luxury sedan competitors.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class: 13,303
BMW 7 Series: 10,932
Lexus LS: 10,727
Audi A8: 6,300
Porsche Panamera: 5,421

Mathew98 | January 17, 2014

Be afraid, be very afraid.

Resistance is futile...

shop | January 17, 2014

Wow. That's huge.

RedShift | January 17, 2014

That sounds about right!

lolachampcar | January 17, 2014

Just ran into another Panamera owner in the pick up line at school. I offered her a test drive :)
Picking them off one at a time.

Low CG | January 17, 2014

1st full year of production? And they're beating those cars? WOW.

david.baird | January 17, 2014

That's fabulous, although to be fair that includes a lot of backlog orders, no?

Car t man | January 17, 2014

It does, but many or most of those purchases of other cars don't even really
know about Tesla yet. Many customers to steal further down the road..

NomoDinos | January 17, 2014

I'm willing to bet that almost none of those who bought "The Other Brands" had test driven the MS first :)

Galve2000 | January 17, 2014

Congrats Tesla.. you have come very far in a very short amount of time.

2k13458 | January 17, 2014

And its a redesign year (big sales) for the Mercedes S Class.

carlk | January 17, 2014

@Car t man Yes, and Lola is doing his share to help change that.

NKYTA | January 17, 2014

Sweet! I'll keep giving test drives then...about 50% are saying "I want".

Brian H | January 17, 2014

All those other cars are future potential TM trade-ins. So they're just temporary purchases.

david.baird | January 17, 2014

I look forward to doing some convincing myself once Tesla think about building and delivering my order :-)

Dwdnjck@ca | January 17, 2014

Nick. So nice to hear from you.

tezzla.SoCal | January 17, 2014

The S550 is (was) the de-facto standard for a high end luxury car. The CLS/CL is built on the E class frame, not in the same class as the S550.

Koz | January 17, 2014

Would like to see BMW 5 Series, Mercedes E, and Lexus LS numbers too. There are more potential customers from these ranks but not on a percentage basis.

Thomas N. | January 17, 2014

Good point NNT. They should include the Ford F150 Pickup Truck as well. It easily outsold the Model S.

EJH | January 17, 2014

You would have to be blind and somewhat thick to not appreciate the magnificent thing that is the Model S.

This goes well.

hcwhy | January 17, 2014

I never even thought about a Mercedes. BMW, or Lexus....they're just high end cars . The Tesla is an engineering marvel, a giant step forward in sustainable living, a work of art and kick azz fun to drive. I'm sure there are many more like me that never would have even considered such an expensive car if it weren't so extraordinary.

hcwhy | January 17, 2014

oops.......if it wasn't so extraordinary, not weren't so extraordinary.

NKinne | January 18, 2014

Impressive! Both more impressive that its number one in Norway in september and December. Usually "nobody" buys sedans there, only SUVs , station wagons and hatchbacks (VW Golf). Just wait (like me) until the X arrives!

Bighorn | January 18, 2014

You were correct the first time--conditional "if...were"--sometimes sounds awkward.

Al1 | January 18, 2014

To be fair, this comparison only makes sense when taking into account those cars' year-on-year performance.

The year has been pretty good for all car manufacturers.

But I am sure any of the above mentioned has already seen Tesla impact and should be really concerned as production of model S is going to double this year.

As far as F150 pickup goes, that's right, Tesla doesn't produce a car for the most popular and best sold segment in the US. But does this mean F150 pickup producer has nothing to be concerned about?

If that's the point somebody is really trying to make, than he/she fundamentally misunderstands what's going on.

Al1 | January 18, 2014

Panamera: 2012 - 7,614; 2013 - 6,879

40% drop year on year when overall market grew by 12%! Time for CEO to think about retirement!

This is the CEO for North America bragging about 2012...

“2012 was truly a momentous year for Porsche in the U.S.,” said Detlev von Platen, President and CEO, Porsche Cars North America. “Not only did we launch the all-new, seventh-generation 911, the completely redesigned Boxster and our first diesel model, we set records in nearly all aspects of our business, achieving top-tier results in many high-ranking industry quality and customer satisfaction studies while growing our share in the luxury market.

And this is the guys forward looking "vision" into 2013...

"we are optimistic about the prospect of another successful year in 2013. We hope to solidify our position as the world’s strongest Porsche market and we look forward to the introduction of several new products in 2013, including the Cayenne Turbo S and Cayman this spring.”

Completely out of touch that is...

Bikezion | January 18, 2014

Next year he can look forward to the model X wiping out the Cayenne sales!

Al1 | January 18, 2014

Overall Porsche numbers are up though and stronger than overall market. They've had a very successful year for every car but Panamera.

Boxster/Cayman - 7953 - 137% growth
Cayenne - 18507 - 19% growth
911 - 10442 - 22% growth

Still Tesla is threat to these guys. This is true for all segments, but especially premium cars segment. And it is called customer loyalty. Something you need many years to build.

Truly amasing that somebody can show up and steal "your" customers in year 1 of operations.

jordanrichard | January 18, 2014

For the most part, pick up truck buyers want cargo/hauling capabilities, which means torque. Well, I have a friend with a F150 V-8 and the MS has the same torque. Oh and my friend has to drop $100 at each fill up. So a truck with the same stump pulling power of a truck, but without $100 fills ups....... It's a no brainer.
One of the sales reps at the Westchester store said that because of the design of a truck, ie; the bed. Tesla could stack 2 battery packs under the bed. Which you would probably need to compensate for the extra weight being hauled or trailered.

Electricfun | January 18, 2014

I wonder how many Panamera Turbo cars Porsche sells? I know it's the fastest 4 door car on the planet but at almost 200k that's obscene.

Al1 | January 18, 2014

Another thing units sold is just the tip of the iceberg. The real problem is commoditisation of a brand.

200,000 didn't sound obscene for a Porsche. Suddenly it does. What's next? Call us today and get 50% off? :)

Electricfun | January 18, 2014

I think because they only produce very limited numbers on their turbo cars they don't have any problem selling them without much discount. I think the regular non turbo cars have steeper discounts.
Anyway you slice it 200 k is a ton of money for a daily driver.

RedShift | January 18, 2014

So, 200k to match (well, beat, by 0.4 seconds 0-60) a 120k Tesla.

Electricfun | January 18, 2014

Not sure maybe the owners think it's a better car overall. Why do people buy Be Tory's for 250k
If the MS is faster. Speed isn't the only factor.

Electricfun | January 18, 2014

Sorry spelling error above Bentley's for 250k

RedShift | January 18, 2014

Except its not just speed in this case.

carlk | January 18, 2014

The MS is eating Panamera for lunch. If you think it's bad for Porsche now wait till next year when MX takes market of Porsche's cash cow Cayenne away from it. Even the iconic 911, the car that I always thought would be my next, could be an endangered species when the Roadster II comes out down the road.

bigd | January 18, 2014

Another way to look at it
lost revenue to the federal govt
US sales for the Model S in 2013 checked in at ~ 17,650 units
$7,500 tax credit x 17,650 units sold = $132,375,000 lost revenue

ccbldg | January 18, 2014


No lost revenue to the government. They do not have to clean the air for the lifetime of 17,650 ICE vehicles.

RedShift | January 18, 2014


A little birdie told me they are working on the next version of the sports car. Due after the Model E.

Al1 | January 18, 2014

"$7,500 tax credit x 17,650 units sold = $132,375,000 lost revenue"

You might as well think of it this way: cars manifactured in US that pay US Federal Government versus cars manufactured elsewhere.

bigd | January 18, 2014

My bad, Darn that public education got me again lol. I was under the impression that coal was used to produce electricity in the US.

jjb94941 | January 18, 2014

Here is a good analysis of the total (electricity production included) carbon footprint of electric vehicles vs. ICE:

Bottom line: it varies greatly from country to country and in the US from state to state, but on average in the US, BEVs have a smaller carbon footprint than ICE vehicles.

bigd | January 18, 2014

I didn't read the article (watching my Jahawks :-) but I am sure you are right. I was actually been sarcastic because that really didn't have anything to do with my point. And to be honest, the problem I have with the tax credit is that it should apply to all new vehicles as (A) it would help the economy (B) not allow the govt to pick and chose who we buy from.

Al1 | January 18, 2014

Coal is being phased out in the US.

carlk | January 18, 2014

RedShift I also heard from someone inside says the Roaster II will come out sooner than we realize. Another case for Porsche's ~$500K 918 Spyder being too little too late against the disruptive product.

bigd The electric motor is so much more energy efficient than ICE (~90% vs ~30% efficiency) The Model S produces less than half of the emission of an ICE even if all the electricity it uses comes from coal firing plants. The fact is only half of the electricity in the US is generated by coal firing plants and we can always replace some of that that with renewable energy in the future. The ICE car always have to have 100% of the energy it uses from fossil fuel. On top of that ICE cars emit all of the pollutant in populated areas in the air we breath everyday.

Sometimes a little education could help.

bigd | January 18, 2014

Actually, it is Coal 37% Natural Gas 30%, Petroleum 1% or 68% from fossil fuel Renewable is 5%. Thus I do agree with you "Sometimes a little education could help.;-)

Iowa92x | January 18, 2014

People purchase expensive sedans like the Benz S-Class and BMW 7 Series mainly for these four reasons:

1) Panache
2) Technology
3) Safety
4) Performance

The Tesla S clearly wins on #2 - #4. Caveat for #4 performance: Model S will struggle to keep up on the autobahn with a BMW 7.

#1 panache will take some time. There is a newness to Tesla and first on the block mentality, but the Benz has a 100 year tradition and name recognition that is appealing to old people. I think a test drive will convince most shopping $80K sedans the Model S is best, other than for autobahn use.

Mel. | January 18, 2014

bigs, Now I understand we were spending 2,000,000,000.00 a day when we were attacking Libya . The money that we save buying electric cars is really small change.

carlk | January 18, 2014

bigd Further education would reveal natural gas powered plant emits only about half the CO2 and miniscule amount of pollutants compares to coal plants thus providing relatively clean eletricity to power the EV.

bigd | January 18, 2014

Not saying you are right or wrong on if we should have involved ourselves in Libya (as Clinton said "what does it matter?") However, that is the biggest problem with govt today. Everything is just small change so they never cut any program and hence we are over 17trillion in debt.