Tesla Model 3: Smashing records in the auto industry

We've already shown how Tesla Motors [NASDAQ: TSLA] new Model 3 is poised to replace the BMW 3-series as top-seller in the U.S. compact luxury auto segment. Heck, the Tesla Model 3 had a bigger opening weekend than Star Wars. Now, the Washington Post reports, "Most of the best selling cars in America, such as the Honda Accord or Nissan Altima, generally hit around 300,000 in sales every year. Tesla saw 276,000 people sign-up to buy its newest all-electric Model 3 sedan — in two days." To understand the size and scope of what Tesla just accomplished over the weekend, the Washington Post interviewed some leading auto industry analysts.

Images: @stocktwits / Tesla Motors

"We’ve never seen anything quite like this in the auto industry," said Jessica Caldwell, a senior analyst at Edmunds.com. "It is unprecedented." The company has received nearly as many Model 3 reservations in the past several days as some automakers produce in a single year. Mazda sold 319,000 vehicles in the United States in 2015, according to Caldwell. Lexus sold 344,000. Kelley Blue Book analyst Tony Lim said, "The Model 3’s huge reservation list should serve as a big wake-up call for the rest of the industry." And, James McQuivey, an auto analyst at Forrester added, "Years from now we’ll look back and say Tesla started an electric vehicle revolution." 

Source: Investor's Business Daily

Furthermore, the New York Post points out that, "the hotly anticipated electric car is smashing sales records left and right... [Tesla Model 3 pre-orders are] ahead of total 2015 sales of Audi (202,000) as well as GM’s Cadillac and Buick lines (175,000 and 223,000, respectively)." 

Source: Live Eagle

Tesla is even shattering its own records with the upcoming Model 3. According to Business Insider, Tesla Model 3 pre-orders are more than the total sales of all previous Teslas to date, as this chart from Statista [see below] shows... 

Source: Business Insider

However, it's important to note that pre-orders are not the same as sales. So, will Tesla Motors really "smash" automotive sales records with the new Model 3? It's likely... but, in fairness, it's simply too early to say. In addition, it can be a challenge to find an exact "apples-to-apples" comparison within the auto sector based on the unique circumstances. Nevertheless, it's worthwhile to put all this into some context -- take a look at the top-selling autos in the U.S. in 2015 published in Forbes' "Tesla Model 3: This is what a Game Changer Looks Like" article yesterday... 

Source: Forbes; Note: Tesla number above is for worldwide pre-orders not U.S. sales; nevertheless, this represents only two days worth of Model 3 pre-orders vs. full year sales for other car models

Regardless of how you might translate or forecast the numbers, Forbes concludes, "When products tap an under or unfilled need they frequently far outsell projections. Think about the iPod, iPhone and iPad... Tesla has tapped into an unmet need. It’s products are impressing a large number of people, and they are buying at premium prices... And those are all the signs of a real Game Changer."