Published on January 23rd, 2020 | by Zachary Shahan
January 23rd, 2020 by Zachary Shahan
We publish a lot of sales reports here on CleanTechnica. It’s fun, fascinating, and exciting to publish charts about rising electric vehicle sales in specific country markets, in specific segments of those markets, and sometimes even globally. However, I personally think the biggest story in this arena is how much electric vehicles compete with conventional, polluting, fossil-powered vehicles on a global scale. After all, it’s global CO2 emissions that we need to cut. We need to see transport electrified globally, not just in the Netherlands and Norway.
On that topic, we recently published a great article on worldwide sales of electric vehicles versus worldwide sales of fossil fuel vehicles, which is sure to end up one of my favorite stories of the year. That’s as big of a picture as it gets in this industry. However, the problem with that analysis is that we do still have very few competitive electric vehicle models in the eyes of consumers, and they don’t compete in all classes. Therefore, taking it down a step but keeping it on the global level, I was curious to see how the world’s leading EV brand compared to its premium-class competitors worldwide. That’s Tesla, of course, which sold far more electric automobiles in 2019 than any other company. The Model 3 alone outsold any other automaker by a landslide.
Comparing Tesla vehicle sales to the sales of pickup trucks and compact budget cars is too much of an apples-to-oranges comparison, but comparing Tesla sales to the sales of the world’s top luxury auto brands gets us into interesting territory. Also, these comparisons should get much more interesting in the coming years, as Tesla rolls out the Model Y (which is in the highly popular crossover segment) and the Cybertruck (which you might want to call a pickup truck or a large SUV, depending on how you’ll use it). I think the comparisons will also get more interesting as global awareness of EVs and Tesla grows, and launching them from an early stage will help us to more deeply track the market changes as they occur.
Tesla vs. Porsche vs. Jaguar Land Rover
I’m starting off with a comparison between Tesla and two of the brands and companies closest to Tesla in global auto sales.
Tesla now has more than twice as many annual sales as Jaguar, but still 190,000 fewer sales than Jaguar Land Rover. We’ll see how this matchup looks in the coming years as Tesla rolls out the Model Y and Cybertruck.
Whereas Porsche had approximately 10,000 more sales than Tesla in 2018, Tesla stormed past it quickly and had nearly 90,000 more sales in 2019.
Note: The chart above is interactive. It may not show well on some devices. If it doesn’t show well for you, I advise viewing it on a different computer (preferably one that doesn’t fit in your pocket). Alternatively, you can see the static chart here.
Tesla vs. Audi, BMW, & Mercedes
Bigger names in the luxury auto world are the German big 3 — Audi, BMW, and Mercedes. So, getting to this broader perspective, I threw Audi, BMW, BMW Group (which includes MINI vehicles), and Mercedes-Benz into the chart above.
Clearly, there’s a long way to go for Tesla to catch up to Audi, BMW, and Mercedes. Also, as you can see if you compare the 2018 and 2019 numbers, each of those brands saw their global sales grow in 2019. Tesla is taking some sales from these automakers — there’s no question about that — but it’s not yet taking enough to be noticed in the grand scheme of things. All we can really say at the beginning of 2020 is that Tesla must have slowed their growth to some extent.
Note: The charts above and in the next section are interactive. They may not show well on some devices. If they don’t show well for you, I advise viewing on a different computer (preferably one that doesn’t fit in your pocket). Alternatively, you can see the static charts here (chart above) and here (chart below).
Tesla vs. BMW Plug-In Vehicles
Lastly, BMW Group actually indicates its annual “electrified vehicle” sales in its year-end sales reports. Electrified vehicles are what BMW terms automobiles with a plug, but not just fully electric vehicles (which is only the BMW i3 and as of very recently the MINI Electric). The bulk of BMW’s electrified vehicles sales come from its iPerformance models, which have relatively small batteries for short-distance electric driving before a gasoline or diesel engine kicks in.
There are many people who will spend hours arguing one side of the case or the other for or against plug-in hybrids. I won’t dive into that here, but I do find a comparison of Tesla sales versus BMW electrified vehicle sales as an interesting comparison right now since it pits these competing ideologies and technological methods against each other in the real world. Even better that both brands are known for being sporty, often have similar specs, and typically compete in the same classes (though, Tesla needs to enter the popular small SUV/crossover class, which will happen in coming months and quarters thanks to the Model Y).
You can see that Tesla has the clear advantage here, and it has grown substantially in the past year. There were more than twice as many Tesla sales in 2019 than BMW electrified vehicle sales, and BMW electrified vehicle sales were essentially stagnant from 2018 to 2019, whereas Tesla sales increased from 245,000 to 367,000 year over year.
I’d bet on fully electric vehicles, as Tesla and Volkswagen are doing, but we’ll see how the sales comparisons break out in the coming years.
Do you have any more thoughts on these comparisons? Do you have other specific comparisons you want to see? Let us know.
For more Tesla sales or EV sales reports, head over to our new resource page: cleantechnica.com/tesla-sales/
Want to buy a Tesla Model 3, Model S, or Model X? Feel free to use my referral code to get some free Supercharging miles with your purchase: https://ts.la/zachary63404. Or not. Always best to use the code of the owner who most helped you decide on a Tesla, imho.
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