Tesla took longer than expected to ramp the production of the Model 3, but now the company is finally hitting its manufacturing stride, and the electric sedan is starting to make waves in the US auto industry — some very serious waves.
Auto sales tracking website GoodCarBadCar has posted the estimated sales figures of car manufacturers currently operating in the United States in August. Based on their August 2018 data, the Tesla Model 3 has become America’s 5th best-selling passenger car. The electric car’s rankings for August is up two places from its rank in July, when the Model 3 was listed as the 7th best-selling passenger car in the US.
The auto sales tracking website now lists the Model 3 directly behind the big four of the US passenger car segment — the Toyota Camry, the Honda Civic, the Honda Accord, and the Toyota Corolla Family — all of which are lower-priced than the electric car. The Model 3’s strong August sales figures allowed it to overtake two more affordable vehicles in GCBC‘s rankings as well, the Hyundai Elantra and the Nissan Altima.
The Tesla Model 3 is not just establishing itself as a formidable competitor in the US’ passenger car market, either. The Model 3 also made it to the Top 20 of GoodCarBadCar‘s overall rankings for US auto sales, which include SUVs and trucks such as the best-selling Ford F-150, the Dodge RAM, the Toyota Rav4, and the Honda CR-V. So far, the Model 3 is 15th on the overall list for August, beating out popular SUVs such as the Jeep Wrangler, Jeep Grand Cherokee, and the Subaru Outback.
The Model 3’s estimated August sales are quite impressive, considering that Tesla is still in the process of ramping the production of the electric car. Tesla, after all, plans to eventually build 10,000 Model 3 per week, and so far, the company is only producing around half of that number weekly.
Tesla ended Q2 2018 on a strong note, producing 5,000 Model 3 vehicles in a seven-day period. Despite this milestone, the company’s critics are highly skeptical that Tesla would be able to maintain its optimum production numbers. That said, over the first two months of Q3, Tesla appears to have taken it upon itself to prove its critics wrong.
During the Q2 2018 earnings call, Elon Musk mentioned that Tesla was able to maintain a production rate of 5,000 Model 3 per week during “multiple weeks” in July. In August, the company also showed encouraging signs about the electric car’s production. Tesla’s VIN registrations for the Model 3, for one, rocketed past the 100,000-vehicle mark, and Bloomberg‘s online Model 3 production tracker even showed a week where the company seemed to have produced more than 6,000 units of the electric sedan in a seven-day period.
Perhaps the most notable vote of confidence for the company’s Model 3 production ramp came from veteran auto analyst George Galliers from Evercore ISI, who was given an extensive tour of the Fremont factory, including the newly built GA4 set up on the grounds of the facility. The analyst later published a report about his visit, noting that Tesla is well on its way to sustaining a weekly production rate of 5,000-6,000 Model 3 per week.
“Tesla seems well on the way to achieving a steady weekly production rate of 5,000 to 6,000 units per week. We are incrementally positive on Tesla following our visit. We have confidence in their production. We did not see anything to suggest that Model 3 cannot reach 6k units per week and 7k to 8k with very little incremental capital expenditure. Focusing on the fundamentals and setting aside talk of privatization, we are incrementally positive on Tesla following our visit,” Galliers noted.