If you’ve watched the sales numbers the past couple months, it’s believed Tesla has been finishing a close second place to the Chevy Volt, and actually outselling many other more established hybrid cars, not to mention regular gas-powered luxury vehicles.
Although Tesla does not officially release its numbers month after month, the HybridCars.com Dashboard estimated 1,000 North American Model S sales in January to the Volt’s 1,140, and in February Tesla might have sold around 1,400 or more compared to the Volt’s 1,626.
A valid question now is whether March could actually see Tesla take a number-one sales spot in the budding U.S. plug-in car market.
Last week, Tesla’s George Blankenship, vice president, worldwide sales and ownership experience, divulged the company has been at full production capacity since December, and for three weeks prior to his blog post, 500 Model S units were being sold weekly. So far, these are all U.S. sales, and Tesla won’t be delivering outside the U.S. for maybe a couple more months.
Blankenship said he expected another record week to follow, which would mean a rate of around 2,000 or more per month.
Last year Chevrolet had a string of 2,000-plus-unit months in the U.S., and one just shy of 3,000, but the Volt costs around $40,000 more or less before subsidies. Including all fees, the Model S costs easily twice to three times that in the 85-kwh version, and for a start up selling a new technology at such a premium price, its performance has been noteworthy, and a 2,000-unit month would be impressive indeed.
In fact, if Tesla had sold 2,000 units in February, it would have been America’s top-selling plug-in car. It’s not believed this was the case, but it could well be this month.
And to further qualify the Model S sales performance, it also competes well against other mainstream hybrids and certainly other luxury segment hybrids and regular luxury cars.
If it had sold 2,000 last month, that would have placed it number seven out of over 40 U.S. market hybrids – significantly ahead of every German, Japanese and American-made luxury hybrid, and slotted between the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid that sold 1,441 units in February, and the Toyota Prius v, which sold 2,543.
Not hurting things a bit for Tesla is the stacked-up waiting list it began accruing some time ago. It has thousands of buyers waiting their turn in line which means it will sell all it can produce until that list starts to dwindle, assuming it does.
GM does have more production capacity, and for the past couple months built around 3,000 per month, but some of these were export-bound Chevy and Holden Volts, and Opel and Vauxhall Amperas.
Further, GM does have more volume potential for its Voltec variants, being cars with a lower price barrier to entry.
Nonetheless, Tesla has been giving the Volt all it can handle of late, and so we shall see if it actually is top dog this month. We know the number for GM to beat is somewhere around 2,000.
And even if the Volt does meet or exceed this, this could be a third month for Tesla to rank second-best selling electrified car in America.
Not bad for a new electric car pushing six figures. Not bad at all.