Tesla has first profitable quarter, quietly outsells Mercedes, BMW, and Audi

2013 has been a good year for Tesla. Just last week, the Palo Alto-based manufacturer’s all-electric Model S scored Consumer Reports’ highest car rating ever: a 99 out of a possible 100, only falling short of a perfect 100 because it can’t yet drive long distances without recharging.

Aside from the caveat-laden critical accolades (including TechHive’s award for the techiest all-electric car of 2013), the company just wrapped up its first profitable quarter forcing it to raise its sales estimate for the year. A closer look at the numbers shows that Elon Musk and company have quietly surpassed the sales of established luxury vehicles such as Mercedes, BMW, and Audi.

Elon Musk seems like a bond villain, but he only wants to sell electric cars.

According to Greencarreports.com, the Model S delivered 4,750 vehicles. That’s more than the Mercedes-Benz S Class (3,077 vehicles), Lexus LS (2,860), BMW 7-Series (2,338), or Audi A8 (1,462), making Tesla’s flagship vehicle the second most popular car in the large luxury segment, only behind the 2013 Cadillac XTS (7,130 vehicles).

Of course, Tesla is only surging ahead in this one class. The other manufactures still sell far more cars total as they have various makes and models, while Tesla currently only offers the Model S, which will be followed by the family-sized Model X next year.

Still, this is still an impressive accomplishment for a decade-old manufacturer with only 30 dealerships in the US (as compared to an established brand like Mercedes-Benz, which can boast 48 dealers in just the state of California). Also keep in mind that these $70k cars are all-electricin a nation without an established electric infrastructure, they’re long-term reliability and resale value is a complete unknown, and it can take up to five hours to fully charge. With all these factors going against it, the fact that Tesla isn’t just surviving but kinda thriving is worth taking note of.

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