2014 Tesla Model S
In June, Tesla outsold (on the basis of registrations) Buick, Lincoln, Porsche, Volvo, and Cadillac—and far outsold Jaguar and Land Rover combined. And the long-established, full-line luxury brand Infiniti only posted just 51 more registrations in the state than Tesla.
This wasn't just a monthly sales blip, either. Even on a year-to-date basis, through June, Tesla has sold more vehicles in California than Land Rover, Jaguar, Lincoln, Volvo, or Porsche.
The report shows that Tesla's 4,714 registrations in California year-to-date—again through June—altogether give it a 0.6-percent market share in that state.
Also beat Chrysler, Fiat, and Mitsubishi
Admittedly, all of the brands mentioned so far are also premium or luxury brands. So here's where it gets especially interesting: Tesla also far exceeded the June registrations of Chrysler, Fiat, and Mitsubishi separately. Chrysler in particular is considered a full-line brand, and the California figures are all the more surprising considering that they include fleet registrations (for rental-car agencies, for example).
Tesla CEO Elon Musk plans for Tesla to be a mainstream brand (even if the Model S is seen in the market by many as a luxury model), not one that's competing head-on with luxury and niche makers. To that end, there's evidence here that the company is making great progress in its home state, if nowhere else quite yet.
According to a forecast from the same association, about 1.75 million new vehicles will be sold this year in California—which could calculate to more than 10,000 Tesla Model S sales in that state alone, given that current share. Nearly half of Teslas sold so far have been in California.
Tesla earlier this week was in the news cycle for its disclosure of the Vehicle Safety Score (VSS) provided to manufacturers, where the Model S achieved a new combined record of 5.4 stars; the company had made the claim that the Model S had the best safety rating of any car ever tested. Later the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a rare corrective statement essentially slapping Tesla's wrist for the disclosure.
So far just a threat in CA... but how long before others catch on?
No doubt, automakers have taken notice of the automaker. GM CEO Dan Akerson recently admitted that Tesla is a threat; and a recent study highlighted that Model S aren't entirely green-motivated—they buy because of a wide range of motivations, including early technology adoption. And buyers previously drove a wide range of models—everything from the Toyota Prius to the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Honda Odyssey.
So far Tesla isn't making nearly as much impact in other states as it is in California. When will Tesla break into the market to this degree elsewhere, and do you think Tesla is snapping up market share from luxury brands? Let us know what you think in your comments below.