J.D. Power Valuation Services
While there has been no shortage of Tesla-driven headlines lately, it is easy to lose sight of some fundamental points that often get ignored.
Tesla is dominating the electric vehicle (EV) market by a wide — and growing — margin.
The new Model 3 closed out the first quarter of 2019 as the best-selling luxury EV in America, accounting for 15% of the total upscale segment, which includes both internal combustion and EV deliveries.
It’s also worth noting that Tesla’s Model 3 was the 13th best-selling vehicle across all luxury and mass market categories. No other luxury model has ever cracked the top 20 spots in overall vehicle sales rankings.
Meeting surging demand
One of the biggest hurdles that keeps popping up for the brand has been delivery issues. During the first quarter of 2019, Tesla managed to build a total of 77,000 vehicles. More than 80% of the production load was for the relatively more affordable Model 3.
But keeping up with surging demand has not been without its challenges.
From an actual delivery standpoint, Tesla shipped approximately 63,000 vehicles during the first quarter, a 110% increase in deliveries compared with the same quarter in 2018, but 31% lower than the fourth quarter of 2018.
In terms of mix, the Model 3 made up roughly 66% of total deliveries, while the more expensive Model S and Model X reached a combined 12,000 units shipped. Demand for Tesla vehicles in Europe and China has put stress on its supply chain operations. Tesla only delivered half of the entire quarter's numbers by March 21, 10 days before the end of the quarter. As a result, many vehicle deliveries shifted to the second quarter.
Tesla says it is working to streamline its vehicle delivery system, and is banking on its Chinese giga factory — scheduled to come online later this year — to provide essential manufacturing and distribution support in this rapidly growing regional market.
In terms of total market share, EV sales through the first quarter represented 1.6% of total new vehicle sales, which is up slightly from the 1.4% recorded during the same four-month period in 2018. In this context, Tesla is the undisputed market leader, and is pulling away from the rest of the pack. Tesla, represents 51% of total EV deliveries this year, up from 32% during the same period last year.
Holding its own in aftermarket
Used prices for Tesla models are also performing exceptionally well. The Model 3 has not been around long enough to make it into the 3-year-old used-vehicle market. That said, the three-year retention values for the Model X are best in class (53.6%) while the Model S came in a little lower, but still retained an impressive 47.1% of its value three years after original purchase. Both are well ahead of the performance posted by the rest of the EV segment which, on average, has managed to retain 38.7% of its value after three years.
Even as inventory of used Teslas rise in the wholesale marketplace, prices are more than holding their own. In fact, prices of used Teslas have gone up by approximately 25% for 3-year-old models in 2019 compared with 2018.
Contributing to rising tide that raises all ships
The rest of the EV industry is drafting behind Tesla’s leadership.
The company has validated the existence of a rapidly growing market for electric vehicles, which is prompting nearly every major brand to put resources into this segment of the market.
There are now 45 different EV models currently on sale — compared with nine in 2012 — providing a clear indication that EVs are rapidly moving past the early-adopter phase to mainstream acceptance.
David Paris is executive analyst at J.D. Power Valuation Services. For more with Paris, see the Auto Remarketing Podcast episode below.