Tesla moved ahead of Audi in the U.S. luxury car segment in 2020, claiming the No. 4 slot with more than 200,000 registrations. Only Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Lexus move more volume in the luxury space, and Tesla has its sights on them next.
While registrations lag official sales figures (and tend to be slightly lower for a given period), the differences are usually negligible. Even in tighter markets (such as luxury cars), registrations usually diverge from official sales tallies by only a few thousand units. Per Automotive News, Tesla clocked in at 200,561 registrations for the calendar year.
For comparison, BMW accounted for a little more than 287,000 registrations, claiming the top slot in the segment. Next up was Lexus, with more than 271,000; Mercedes-Benz finished in third with almost 266,000. Audi, which had been resurgent in the United States for more than a decade, closed the year with just shy of 184,000 registrations.
Tesla has plenty of work ahead if it plans to take the No. 3 slot. It would require a nearly 33% increase in sales to threaten the higher-volume traditional luxury automakers, who are working hard to deliver electric vehicles that can compete with Tesla's range and performance, but can also rely on ICE models to shore up volumes in the meantime. Tesla has no such safety net, but doesn't appear to need one.
Tesla's surge of volume comes thanks to its lower-priced Model 3 sedan and Model Y crossover, which will continue to enjoy its dominance of the small-crossover electric space at least partially thanks to Mercedes, which has elected not to bring its Model-Y-challenging EQC stateside for the time being.