Skip to main content

Tesla Model 3 becomes best-selling premium sedan in the world

Tesla announced that the Model 3 has become the best-selling premium sedan in the world – beating the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

Exports of made-in-China Model 3 vehicles helped Tesla achieve this milestone.

Model 3 has long been the best-selling electric car in the world, and it’s not even close.

But when compared to its gas-powered counterparts, it hasn’t had as much success globally. In some markets, the Model 3 has often taken the top-selling spot.

We have seen that happen in the US a few times, as well as in the UK, Norway, and a few other markets.

Now Tesla pulled some data in Q1 2021 and claimed that Model 3 is now the best-selling premium sedan globally:

About three and a half years into its production, and even without a European factory, Model 3 was the best-selling premium sedan in the world, outselling long-time industry leaders such as the 3 Series and E Class. This demonstrates that an electric vehicle can be a category leader and outsell its gas-powered counterparts.

Tesla shared the following chart that shows Model 3 actually achieved that milestone last quarter as well:

As per the chart, Model 3 deliveries picked up the second half of last year as production started ramping up at Gigafactory Shanghai.

Later, Tesla also started to export made-in-China Model 3 vehicles to Europe and APAC, which helped improve deliveries.

Now the automaker believes that Model Y will achieve even greater heights:

We believe Model Y can become not just a category leader, but also the best-selling vehicle of any kind globally.

CEO Elon Musk has previously stated that he can see Tesla delivering as many as 1 million Model Y vehicles per year.

Electrek’s Take

The interesting thing about this announcement is that Tesla actually broke down Model 3 and Model Y deliveries for the first time in a long time.

Based on the chart, it looks like Tesla delivered about 120,000 Model 3 vehicles in Q1 and the company announced 182,847 Model 3/Y deliveries – meaning that Tesla delivered about 60,000 Model Y vehicles last quarter.

It shows that Model 3 is still outselling Model Y by a wide margin, despite the start of Model Y production at Gigafactory Shanghai.

At this point, with that kind of difference, I don’t see that changing until the start of production ramp-up at Gigafactory Berlin and Gigafactory Texas.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

You’re reading Electrek— experts who break news about Tesla, electric vehicles, and green energy, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow Electrek on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our YouTube channel for the latest reviews.



Avatar for Fred Lambert Fred Lambert

Fred is the Editor in Chief and Main Writer at Electrek.

You can send tips on Twitter (DMs open) or via email:

Through, you can check out Fred’s portfolio and get monthly green stock investment ideas.