Best sales estimates from InsideEVs has BMW beating Tesla in August sales. Critics were quick to point out that Tesla had a partial shutdown of its factory line during August, but quarterly sales figures also show the i3 beating the Model S in overall sales for the quarter. It’s also explained by Tesla’s sales losses that have been going on for months, showing a consistent two-figure drop year-on-year, including a January to July 2014 drop of 26 percent from the same period in 2013.
There are several things to note about this change. First, it was this year that Tesla began shipping models overseas for sale, cutting into U.S. manufacturing and thus sales capacity. Second, Tesla is having to grow its supply and manufacturing capabilities where as BMW already has those in place. Yet even these are not total explanations for the extreme sales drop Tesla has undergone this year.
For example, The Street looked at global sales figures, as best as they can be gleaned, and found that Tesla has been doing abysmally in most places and BMW’s i3 has been killing it in terms of numbers recently.
What may be the issue here is market saturation. The i3 hits the exact market that the Model S aims for in terms of demographics. It’s also more affordable and has a more globally-recognized nameplate. Finally, the Model S may have simply run its course in terms of sales potential and is now largely riding on residual as buyers who may have considered it now look forward to a Model X entering the scene next year. The X, though pricey, will be a more usable car for many who are not as interested in a sedan as they would be a crossover.
Whatever the reason, it’s clear that BMW has found a winner. For now. Of course, it should be mentioned that the Nissan LEAF still rules the roost in terms of national and global sales figures. The LEAF achieved selling 50,000 electric cars last year in February and this year in March the company doubled that number selling 100,000 Nissan LEAFs. This means the Nissan LEAF is the best selling electric car of all time and it is an impressive feat they could double sales numbers in just one year. One owner in Washington state has racked up over 100,000 miles on his LEAF.
What all of this definitively proves is that electric vehicles do have a market and a growing amount of acceptance by the buying public. Over time, we will see the segment continue to grow, there is little doubt about that.