LUXURY: BMW retains U.S. crown for 3rd straight year


The luxury segment’s old guard now faces a serious threat from Tesla.

According to the Automotive News Research & Data Center, Tesla delivered an estimated 313,400 cars and crossovers in the U.S. last year, up 66 percent from 2020. That would put Tesla in second place for the year. But Tesla doesn’t provide a breakdown by region, making estimates difficult.

However, vehicle registration data — a proxy for sales — paints a worrying picture for the German luxury marques.

Tesla raced past Mercedes-Benz for the No. 3 spot in U.S. luxury-vehicle registrations through the first nine months of 2021, according to data from Experian. Tesla totaled 230,855 vehicle registrations through the first three quarters of 2020, fewer than 29,000 units shy of BMW’s registrations at the time.

Swedish automaker Volvo’s U.S. sales surged 11 percent last year, propelled by demand for electrified vehicles. Volvo delivered 122,173 units in 2020.

Sales of the brand’s Recharge models – vehicles with fully electric or plug-in hybrid powertrains – more than tripled, with 22,820 cars representing 18.7 percent of total U.S. sales.

The chip crisis, notwithstanding, Porsche Cars North America had its best year ever, powered by robust demand for the battery-powered Taycan. The sports car brand delivered 70,025 vehicles — up 22 percent from last year and 14 percent above the previous record set in 2019.

Taycan sales more than doubled last year and nearly overtook Porsche’s flagship 911.

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