Many have prematurely labeled Tesla as a dying brand that has no future, claiming that legacy automakers would conquer the market with their electric vehicles. However, that isn’t happening as the sales numbers don’t lie – the Palo Alto EV manufacturer is already playing in the big leagues by grabbing the third spot from Mercedes in the luxury car sales race in the United States.

Citing a study conducted by Experian, Automotive News says Tesla had 230,855 vehicle registrations in the first nine months of the year, surpassing Mercedes as the German premium brand only delivered 213,708 units. Aside from climbing onto the last place of the podium, Elon Musk’s company is also closing in on Lexus and BMW.

Toyota’s luxury division sold 245,864 cars through the first three quarters of 2021, compared to the 259,237 units shipped by BMW in the US in the same nine-month interval. It seems unlikely Tesla will catch BMW in the final quarter of the year since the gap is still of more than 28,000 cars. That said, this comparison alone shows how far the EV-only manufacturer has come in recent years, managing to claim third place from Mercedes.

It’s also important to point out that Tesla is selling only four vehicles – Model 3, Model X, Model S, and Model X whereas BMW has nearly 20 models. In addition, the Californian automaker updated the Model X at the beginning of the year, but sales of the large and luxurious electric SUV only commenced a couple of weeks ago. In other words, the 230,855 vehicle registrations are mostly represented by the three other models.

With Tesla set to finally introduce the production version of its hotly anticipated Cybertruck in 2022, the sales numbers are likely to increase furthermore. In addition, the new Gigafactory Texas will produce some high-volume vehicles, including the aforementioned Model Y and the Semi commercial vehicle.

Meanwhile, BMW is launching the i4 and iX electric models and is expected to bolster its portfolio in the coming years with more zero-emissions offerings. Relevant examples include EV variants of the next X1, 5 Series, and 7 Series, but it remains to be seen which of these will be heading stateside.

[Source: Experian via Automotive News] [Images courtesy of Tesla Inc]