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New Report Finds Tesla Most Popular Luxury Car Brand

Tesla Model 3 Tesla Model 3 | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

Think you’ve seen a lot of new Teslas lately? You’re not alone. A new report puts the California electric carmaker at the top of the heap for luxury brand popularity, at least for now. Tesla was responsible for 24,237 new-car registrations in January, narrowly beating out Mercedes-Benz as the most popular luxury brand in the U.S., according to data collected by industry consultancy IHS Markit.

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New-car registration data typically correlates to vehicle sales — in 2017, Automotive News reported it found less than 1% difference between the two — and IHS Markit’s announcement presents a rare look at monthly sales across such brands. Many automakers have moved to quarterly U.S. sales reports, and Tesla only reports global sales, not those specific to the U.S. market. (Toward that end, Tesla estimates it delivered 499,550 vehicles worldwide in all of 2020.) IHS Markit notes that Tesla’s January totals climbed 10% versus the year-ago period, even as overall luxury brand sales ebbed 3%. 

Tesla led 16 luxury brands, the firm noted, with the others being Acura, Alfa Romeo, Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Genesis, Infiniti, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Lincoln, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Volvo. Of that group, Tesla, Mercedes-Benz and Lexus led the pack, with Alfa Romeo, Jaguar and Maserati bringing up the rear. Note that IHS Markit did not rank Buick, a semiluxury brand, among the luxury group, nor did it include upscale sub-brands from mass-market marques (think GMC’s Denali).

This wasn’t the first time Tesla topped the group: The automaker ranked No. 1 in January 2019, IHS Markit said; it was No. 3 in January 2020. Asked for comment, Tesla did not immediately respond to Cars.com.

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