This month Tesla is on track to sell its 75,000th Model S and actually may deliver 77,000 or more as its Fremont, Calif. factory is now in full swing, sending out the third-best selling plug-in electrified vehicle of all time to global markets.
Since Tesla does not readily disclose this kind of info monthly, how do we foresee a milestone being crossed quicker than GM did with the second-best-selling Volt/Ampera, or nearly as quick as Nissan managed with its number-one best-selling Leaf?
Disclosures from Tesla shareholder letters and other data divulge a total of 66,827 cars that had been signed, sealed and delivered to paying customers by the first quarter this year – and Tesla said it expected to sell 10,000-11,000 more this quarter.
Its acquired manufacturing competency is also projected to enable it to get up to speed faster with its pending Model X – as over 20,000 reservation holders may hope – and at least certain is it’s working at a relatively proficient pace compared to its first halting start.
The Model S was launched June 22, 2012, and the first half year was a crawl with around 2,400 sold for the next five months through December that first year.
Now seven months later it could already be at another 25,000-unit stepping stone – past 75,000 and things are speeding up.
Quickly Reached Milestone
What has taken Tesla about three years to do in selling its first 75,000 luxury performance cars took GM three years and seven months after the Volt’s launch and Nissan did it in two years and nine months with its Leaf. Both the Leaf and Volt started to come to market in staged rollouts beginning in December 2010.
The Leaf today has globally sold over 177,000, and the Volt/Ampera over 93,000. The first 75,000 for each came against several variables and myriad factors that determined the rate of their sales.
Of course these major manufacturers have the production capability to churn out far more cars, but progress was what it was, and meanwhile Tesla’s achievement stands out as one of a brand-new assembly line producing an all-new product.
Tesla is doing what it is despite its price being easily double if not three-four times higher than the Volt and Leaf. It’s also had only moderate success, notes analyst Alan Baum, in Asia where at least the Leaf has done better.
Notable also is Tesla has mainly raised prices and trim levels while Nissan and GM tried to pare away price to reduce consumer objections.
Psychological factors enabling Tesla’s market appeal are enough to fill a book, but the short story is, with the last U.S. startup that’s made it since Chrysler, one might have better odds of hitting the lottery than doing what Tesla is in broad daylight against established players.
It is a synergy; a confluence of factors hitting on stride all adding up to people lined up to buy its products because they perceive them as excellent, and want them.
Model X Next
Tesla anticipates first deliveries of its Model X the third quarter of this year.
The company has said its production ramp up will be faster than had been the case for the Model S.
Baum projects production of around 5,000-5,500 units from assembly line startup just barely in the third quarter this year, through December. Most of these cars may go primarily to U.S. reservation holders, at least for a couple months.
For calendar year 2016, Baum projects around 20,000 U.S. sales and maybe 30,000 or so sales globally.
This is all being made possible by lessons learned with the Model S, which has also seeded the market with high expectations for Tesla and what it gives even for double the price of ordinary mass-market-intended products from major automakers.
Thanks to sales tracker Mario R. Duran in compiling figures for this report.