Quick, name the ultimate rich person automotive toy. Porsche Cayenne Turbo? Bentley Continental GT? Lamborghini Aventador? Pfft, those dinosaur-fueled monstrosities are old news! It's all Tesla Motors, all the time for America's elites now.
Research released by Edmunds indicates the Model S is now the best selling car in eight of America's 25 wealthiest zip codes as ranked by Forbes. At the top of that list is Atherton, California, a Silicon Valley town near Tesla's Palo Alto headquarters where the average home costs $6.65 million.
The Model S is number one in sales there, as well as in Los Altos Hills, the Pawnee to Atherton's Eagleton, where the average home costs just $5.4 million.
Elon Musk's electric wundersedan is also tops in several other well-to-do California towns like Portola Valley, Montecito and Woodside. The so-called "darling of the Silicon Valley set," the Model S now has double-digit market share in some of those places.
(Curiously, in New York City, the third-wealthiest area of the country, the top selling vehicles are the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Mercedes-Benz GL. What are you New Yorkers doing buying all those SUVs?)
Besides just strong sales, Edmunds says the Model S's success in posh areas of California is important because it increases the car's gotta-have-it factor among owners' millionaire neighbors. Gotta keep up with the venture capitalist Joneses, and all that. Here's what analyst Jessica Caldwell wrote:
Influential people set trends while the mainstream aspires to follow. We've seen this countless times in many different retail sectors. Cars are no different, albeit more expensive than most other purchases. Additionally, with the proclivity of tech geek being chic, the Silicon Valley area will set trends faster than traditional high-income markets like New York that have roots in (highly vilified) banking. While Millennials were protesting against and occupying Wall Street, Silicon Valley remains a land of post-recession opportunity.
So, as Tesla increases the number of models on offer and price points, it could find itself in demand by more than just those in these wealthy enclaves. After all, most luxury car companies find the most volume in their entry-level vehicles.
I can't wait to see how these titans of tech industry go nuts whenever the Model X comes out. If there's anything Americans love more than a luxury car, it's a luxury SUV. There may even be riots in the Valley over that bad boy.