Tesla is the 2nd best-selling car brand in California

Tesla is doing quite well in California, the largest auto market in the United States. As reported earlier today, the Tesla Model Y was the best-selling automobile in California in the first half of 2022, and the Tesla Model 3 was the second-best-selling model. In the nation’s largest state, Tesla won gold and silver.

These are undoubtedly impressive achievements, but as many have pointed out before me, it’s clear that Tesla doesn’t have a complete, mature, and integrated lineup of vehicles. In some ways, it can be easier to have a best-selling model if you don’t have other similar models to compete with. While BMW offers the 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 series, Tesla only has the 3 and S models when it comes to sedans. We see this especially with Tesla in Europe and China, where the Tesla Model 3 and Model Y are often at the top of the sales chart, but Tesla itself is not close to number 1 among car brands or car groups. . So how is Tesla doing as a global automotive brand in California?

Oh, well, you’ve seen the headline and chart above, so you know how it goes – it was the 2nd best-selling auto brand in California in the first half. Without a doubt it is a phenomenal result, especially considering how young Tesla is and also what price categories it sells. (Naturally, Californians can afford more expensive cars, whereas few in Kentucky or Wyoming would be able to.) Phenomenal as this result is – and it is phenomenal – when you look at how much the Model 3 and Model Y have gained in the model rankings and more so in their respective vehicle classes, you have to think that Tesla could do better if it had more models on offer.

As mind-boggling as Tesla has already risen to second place in the California car market, one wonders where could that be with 4 or 5 more models? Where will it be in 2032? Of course, the big question is whether or not Tesla can perform as well in other markets (where people aren’t so rich or progressive)? Tesla represents 10.7% of the auto market in California. Elon Musk’s long-term goal for Tesla was to make it account for 10% of global auto sales.

Notably, that 10.7% market share is a big leap from the 3.3% California auto market share that Tesla had last year!

Part of Tesla’s market share increase came from the fact that the overall California auto market was down 16.4%. However, more of that came from the fact that Tesla registrations were up. 82.2%.

Tesla’s strong increase in the market has been a long-term trend, not just a year-over-year trend, and has also contributed greatly to a steady and strong increase in the overall market share of electric vehicles in the state. Pure electric vehicles now account for about 15% of new car sales in California. Plug-in hybrids represent almost 3% more, which would bring plug-in vehicles to almost 18%. That means California actually beats Europe in terms of BEV’s share of the car market (Europe at 12% share of BEV) and is just behind Europe in terms of plug-in vehicle market share (Europe at 20% share of plug-in vehicles). Despite all the hype around Europe (which is certainly deserved), California’s clear leadership is often overlooked or glossed over these days. It’s still a big dog in the fight to decarbonize and clean up transport. And, with no room for debate, that’s largely down to Tesla’s leadership. Much of Tesla’s auto production still occurs in California, and the state gobbles up its homemade electric cars more than electric cars from all other brands combined.

Of all the stats and charts in this article, however, perhaps the following two stand out to me the most. Tesla took a huge 47.9% of the luxury car market in California and 31.4% of the luxury light truck market (including SUVs). It absolutely dominated the luxury vehicle market which had been led by Mercedes, BMW and Lexus for decades. Breaking into a market like this is neither easy nor simple, and hardly believable.

Do you have any other important takeaways from the California data and charts above?

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