Tesla keeps U.S. luxury crown on strong California production

Tesla Inc. tightened its grip on the U.S. luxury sales crown in the second quarter, according to new-vehicle registration data that suggests the automaker’s original plant in Fremont, Calif., has been humming along while its factories in Berlin and China have struggled.

U.S. registrations of Tesla’s four-vehicle lineup rose 66 percent in the first five months of the year to 179,574 vehicles, according to data from Experian this week. BMW was in second place in the luxury segment with an 11 percent drop in new registrations to 133,209 compared with last year.

The numbers include all models, including gasoline and hybrid vehicles from legacy automakers.

Since Tesla does not break out sales data by region, new-vehicle registrations serve as a proxy for comparison purposes, but they lag behind the official U.S. sales data posted by most automakers on a monthly or quarterly basis.

Lexus was No. 3 in the U.S. luxury race with 112,296 registrations in the five-month period, a decline of 19 percent from a year earlier. Mercedes-Benz was No. 4, according to Experian, at 110,584 registrations for a 17 percent decline. Audi was fifth at 67,986 for a 35 percent drop.

The Automotive News Research & Data Center estimates Tesla first-half sales at 228,700 for a 47 percent increase over last year. BMW reported official sales of 152,619 for the first half.

Lexus said it sold 131,088, and Audi came in at 83,554.

Mercedes-Benz did not report sales as of Friday.

Among the top 10 luxury brands by sales, only Tesla and Genesis posted gains in the first half.

Globally, Tesla said it delivered 254,695 vehicles in the second quarter, up 27 percent over the year-earlier period but down 18 percent from the first-quarter.

Tesla said in a statement this week that despite ongoing supply chain challenges and factory shutdowns, “June 2022 was the highest vehicle production month in Tesla’s history.”

The Texas-based automaker did not provide the June production number, however.

Twitter user Troy Teslike, who provides independent Tesla forecasts through paid subscriptions on the online Patreon platform, estimated Fremont factory production at 133,795 for the second quarter, higher than Shanghai’s 114,299 due to a weeks-long shutdown in China for coronavirus measures.

Tesla also dominated EV registrations in the five-month Experian data.

The Model Y was the top EV at 82,880 new registrations, followed by the Model 3 at 74,092. The Ford Mustang Mach-E captured the No. 3 spot with 15,491 registrations, followed by the Tesla Model S at 13,008.

The Hyundai Ioniq 5 was No. 5 at 10,776. The Tesla Model X was next with 9,594 registrations, with Kia’s EV6 following at 9,508, according to Experian.

No. 8 for new EV registrations was the Nissan Leaf at 7,178. The Kia Niro EV had 6,074 registrations, and the Polestar 2 was No. 10 with 4,118.

Hyundai Motor Group of Hyundai, Kia and Genesis had the most EV registrations in the U.S. after Tesla, with 27,746 for the three brands in the five-month period.

Registration numbers do not track exactly with manufacturer sales numbers since vehicles may be sold in one month and registered in another, and some registration data relies on estimates. Not all manufacturers break out EV models, but those are captured by the Experian data.

In addition to the Mach-E, Ford had 423 F-150 Lightning registrations, with most coming in May as the automaker ramps up production of the electric pickup. Ford also had 1,495 registrations for its E-Transit 350 commercial van in the January-May period.

Chevrolet had 3,645 registrations of its Bolt EV and EUV models and GMC had 225 registrations of its Hummer electric pickup. Cadillac had 40 registrations of its new Lyriq electric crossovers.

Toyota was new to the EV chart for May with 181 registrations of its bZ4X crossover. Volkswagen had 3,964 registrations of its ID4 electric crossover, and Mazda had 306 registrations of its MX-30.

Among luxury brands, Audi posted 6,617 registrations of its e-tron vehicles, including 4 of the new Q4 e-tron. Its corporate sibling Porsche had 3,627 registrations of its Taycan sports sedan.

BMW had 1,211 EV registrations in the five-month period, Mercedes-Benz had 3,250 for its EQS executive sedan and Jaguar had 220 of its I-Pace.

Volvo marked 3,330 registrations, and corporate sibling Polestar had 4,118, according to Experian.

Luxury EV startup Lucid had 827 registrations of its Air sedan, and Rivian Automotive had 2,045 registrations of its R1T pickup.

In its second-quarter sales report, Rivian said it had delivered 4,467 vehicles in the April-June period, but some of those could have included Amazon delivery vans or early versions of its R1S SUV. Rivian did not break deliveries down by model.

Lucid had not posted its second-quarter delivery report as of Friday and was expected to do so next month.


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