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July 18, 2022, 5:02 a.m. EDT

New registration data shows how Tesla is doing among luxury cars and EVs; here’s what’s catching up

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By Sean Tucker

Tesla faces new competition every day, but its lead in the U.S. luxury field just keeps growing.

According to Experian /zigman2/quotes/208623784/delayed EXPGY +1.77% , Americans registered 179,574 new Tesla /zigman2/quotes/203558040/lastsale TSLA +3.11% vehicles in the first five months of 2022. That’s a 66% increase over 2021 numbers from the same period. BMW /zigman2/quotes/202432319/delayed XE:BMW +2.57% took second, with 133,209 new registrations — an 11% drop. Lexus came in third, at 112,296 — a decline of 19%.

Those aren’t numbers for electric cars. They’re numbers for cars. Tesla became America’s best-selling luxury automaker in the fourth quarter of 2021. Its lead over the field appears to be growing.

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Its lead in the electric vehicle sales race is also secure. Americans registered more Tesla Model Y SUVs than any other electric car — 82,880. The Tesla Model 3 came in a comfortable second, at 74,092.

Third place? The Ford /zigman2/quotes/208911460/composite F +2.31% Mustang Mach-E at 15,491.

Automakers debuted several impressive new EVs this year. But so far, they’ve barely dented Tesla’s sales crown. The new Hyundai /zigman2/quotes/204364212/delayed HYMTF +2.67% Ioniq 5, for instance, won the 2022 World Car of the Year title. But Americans registered just 10,776 of them in the first three months of the year.

The similar Kia EV6 /zigman2/quotes/206019389/delayed KR:000270 +0.12%  earned 9,508 registrations – just 11% of the Model Y’s number.

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Why registration numbers, not sales figures?

Calculating Tesla’s numbers is slightly complicated.

Most automakers report U.S. sales on a monthly or quarterly basis. Tesla only reports its global numbers by quarter, not breaking out the U.S. specifically.

So, registration data may be the best way to determine how Tesla is doing in the U.S. market.

Like most automakers, Tesla posted an overall sales decline in its most recent quarterly report. The company sold 18% fewer cars in the second quarter than in the first.

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