Cox, an Atlanta-based automotive research firm, said in January that Tesla outsold BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Lexus, and all the rest in the American luxury market last year. Except now, Experian, the credit-reporting company, says that BMW in fact beat Tesla last year, when counting new luxury car registrations in America. I don’t know what to believe anymore.
This only matters, to be clear, to essentially no one who isn’t a Tesla stan, as Tesla itself is more concerned with global domination, and only gives global sales figures, so it’s hard to know for sure how it did in the U.S. BMW, meanwhile, is only concerned with beating its German rivals Audi, Mercedes, and Porsche. Possibly, BMW also occasionally thinks about Volvo, Acura, Lexus and maybe even Jaguar. BMW certainly doesn’t give a shit about Alfa Romeo or Cadillac or Lincoln or Maserati or Genesis or (lol) Infiniti. Does BMW dream of Tesla at night? It would deny it.
Anyway, according to Automotive News:
Experian said in a report this week that BMW had 347,453 new vehicles registered in the U.S. in 2021, while Tesla had 342,412 — a difference of just 5,041 vehicles.
It has been a heated race.
Tesla registrations surged 71 percent over 2020, while BMW’s grew 24 percent year over year, according to Experian. Those numbers suggest that Tesla has significant momentum going into 2022, although semiconductor shortages will likely play an important role in the luxury car race.
“When the numbers are close, it’s hard to declare a winner when you aren’t always comparing apples to apples,” said Jessica Caldwell, executive director of insights at Edmunds. Registration data is often useful when analyzing numbers not made public by automakers, such as fleet sales, she said.
BMW’s own sales data put deliveries last year at 336,644. Lexus said it sold 304,475 vehicles, and Mercedes reported official deliveries of 276,102.
It seems a matter of time before Tesla will certifiably be the American luxury king, such is the momentum it carries. “Luxury” is also somewhat of an arbitrary distinction, and putting Tesla in that category given its build quality issues has always felt weird. I guess that’s Jaguar and Land Rover, too, though, so nevermind.