For the first time, Tesla’s flagship luxury car has outsold both Mercedes and BMW‘s flagship luxury sedans on their home turf.
The Tesla Model S outsold both the Mercedes S-Class and BMW’s vaunted 7 series in Europe in 2017. Sales of the Model S grew to 16,026 in 2017, surpassing the S-Class with 14,757 and the 7 series at 11,533, a drop of 13 percent since last year.
Speaking with AutoNews Europe, Felipe Munoz of market research firm JATO Dynamics said, "This is an alarm for the traditional automakers such as Mercedes. It says a smaller but smarter brand such as Tesla can beat them at home."
With Europe adopting ever more stringent emissions controls and offering more and more incentives for owners to ditch gas and go electric, it’s no surprise that electric-only car manufacturer Tesla is taking both BMW and Mercedes to task. Munoz says that traditional car manufacturers need to electrify faster just to stay competitive in the luxury car segment.
Currently, BMW offers two alternatives to gas-guzzling cars: the all-electric i3 and the plug-in hybrid i8 luxury sports car. Neither of these cars compete with the Model S, as the i3 is more of a homely hatchback and the i8 is a performance machine. Although the i3 sales have seen double-digit increases since its introduction in 2013, BMW has yet to offer a true all-electric luxury car.
Mercedes is much further behind than BMW, with no electric cars in its lineup. Mercedes says they plan to offer all-electric versions of their entire fleet by the year 2022, but that’s a long distant date and in the meantime, the company continues to lose market share to Tesla.
Making matters worse for German manufacturers is the fact that other carmakers are jumping on the all-electric bandwagon now. Jaguar is set to come out with the iPace in early 2019, an all-electric crossover/hatchback that will compete with the Model S in the luxury segment. Audi is likewise coming out with the e-tron quattro for their own all-electric vehicle, and Korean manufacturers Kia and Hyundai will start selling the all-electric Niro and Kona in the second half of 2018.
The future is electric, and if German carmakers want to survive they’ll have to get with the times a little faster.