Photo: Joe Raedle (Getty Images)
Tesla is chipping away at the old guard as General Motors tries to learn some lessons from the new one. All that and more in The Morning Shift for Wednesday, January 12, 2022.
1st Gear: It Was Always “Lexus, BMW, Mercedes”
The designation of the best-selling “luxury” car brand — a title that makes less sense to me than ever before, considering the average price of a new full-size pickup is $56,000 — used to rotate between those three names. It’s been this way as far back as I can remember.
New data from Experian, by way of Automotive News, suggests that Tesla’s on pace to blow past them all.
The November numbers bring Tesla’s 11-month registrations to 303,246, Experian said Tuesday. BMW registrations for the same period were 318,182 and the German automaker reported total 2021 deliveries of 336,644. Sales and registrations, however, don’t track perfectly since a vehicle can be sold in one month and registered in another.
Tesla reported global deliveries, or completed retail sales, of 936,172 vehicles, for an 87 percent gain over 2020. It does not break out its U.S. sales, so registrations with state governments serve as a proxy for nationwide results.
The Experian data shows Tesla surging near year’s end. The automaker added 42,314 registrations in November. A similar performance in December would put Tesla ahead of BMW’s reported 2021 sales. Experian’s full-year registration data is expected next month.
It must’ve been midway through 2020, when the most “outside” anyone could be was in their car, that I started noticing the sheer number of Teslas on the road. The brand’s growth in such a short time is really astonishing, regardless of what you, I, or anyone thinks about the ramblings of its CEO or its flippant attitude toward safety or the latest controversial thing it’s attached to this week.
Part of Tesla’s success — particularly within the last year and a half — is owed to the company’s ability to shrug off the semiconductor shortage that’s bottlenecking everyone else’s manufacturing. The company was able to swiftly port its software to run on newer chips, something its more long-established contemporaries have struggled to do. With supply chain woes expected to ease up ever so slightly but still persist heading into the latter half of 2022 (stay tuned for more on that), if things continue the way they have, we very well could have a new year-end luxury leader come December.