Teslas are selling in record numbers. What models are buyers trading in?

Tesla’s mission is to get all the world’s drivers into an electric vehicle as quickly as possible, and there were a couple of encouraging news items on that front in the company’s recent first-quarter earnings report. First, orders for Tesla vehicles are at an all-time high.  

Above: Tesla locations are getting busier as the brand grows (Source: EVANNEX; Photo by Casey Murphy)

“We’ve seen a real shift in customer perception of electric vehicles, and our demand is the best we’ve ever seen. We’re used to seeing a reduction in demand in the first quarter, and we saw an increase in demand that exceeded the normal seasonal reduction in demand in Q1,” said Elon Musk on the quarterly conference call.

The sky-high demand appears to be continuing. According to sources cited by Electrek, Tesla has advised employees that the second quarter’s production capacity is already sold out—and there are still almost two months left in the quarter. Better get those new Gigafactories in Germany and Texas online ASAP!

Another interesting tidbit from the Q1 report concerns the cars that drivers have been trading in to buy Tesla vehicles. Unsurprisingly, 98% of the cars traded for Model 3 and Model Y in the US over the past 2 years have been internal combustion engine vehicles (the figure doesn’t include Teslas traded in for other Teslas).

What brands are buyers trading for Teslas? The top three are Toyota, Honda and Ford. It’s interesting, and perhaps a little surprising, to find that it’s not only premium brand buyers that are switching to Tesla. Premium brands represented a little over a third of trade-ins—the top three of these were BMW, Lexus and Audi. The old canard that Teslas are only for the rich doesn’t ring true—almost two thirds of trade-ins are mid-priced models.

The fact that Toyota and Lexus are among the top trade-ins indicates that a substantial number of hybrid drivers are opting to go fully electric. (It also indicates that the numerous articles from Torque News recounting anecdotes about people trading in Teslas for Toyotas are just that—isolated, unverified anecdotes.)

“ICE vehicles comprised 97% of cars sold globally in 2020 and 98% of Tesla trade-ins,” says the California carmaker. “As more OEMs join our mission by launching EVs, we believe consumer confidence in EVs continues to increase and more customers are willing to make the switch.”


Written by: Charles Morris; Source: InsideEVs