You know the Tesla Model S, the $70,000 (and-up) electric car that "nobody can afford"? Well, evidently, more than a few people can afford it.
In fact, in the first quarter of this year, more people bought a Tesla Model S than bought any of the similarly priced gasoline-powered cars from the top three German luxury brands, according to data from LMC Automotive. About 4,750 buyers bought a Model S while just over 3,000 people bought Mercedes' top-level sedan.
This is not a perfect comparison, of course. Actual selling prices for the Mercedes S-class sedan start toward the upper end of the Tesla Model S price range, according the the auto pricing Web site TrueCar.com, while prices for the other cars are at the lower end. And nobody gets a $7,500 federal tax credit for a buying an S-class or an A8. Also, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi each sell a full range of cars and SUVs while Tesla buyers have only one model to choose from.
The blog GreenCarReports.com first noted the comparison.
Still, let's face it, Tesla ('s one model is doing pretty well, especially for a start-up automaker with a limited dealer network. )
Last week was a particularly stellar one.
On Wednesday, Tesla announced a profit that exceeded Wall Street estimates. It also raised its Model S sales estimates for this year from 20,000 to 21,000.
Then on Thursday Consumer Reports came out and called the Model S the best car that it had ever tested. (Its overall performance was "off the charts," according to the magazine's head of auto testing, but it only earned 99 out of a possible 100 points because it can't be driven extremely long distances without recharging.)
Despite some early stumbles -- such as a squabble with the New York Times over its new "super charger" network and push back from traditional car dealers over its sales strategy -- Tesla seems to humming along, at least for now.