In the luxury or premium class of vehicles sold in the US, cars such as Audi A7 & A8, BMW 6 & 7 Series, Lexus, Mercedes S & CLS Class, Porsche Panamera, Jaguar XJ are the typical names you associate with this bracket.

Sales in 2015 for all of these vehicles have declined in comparison to their 2014 numbers. The stand out however in this segment is the Tesla Model S whose sales have increased 43% over their 2014 numbers. Tesla is the only vehicle in the class to have increased its numbers and now heads the pack.

Who could have imagined just a few years ago that an EV would be the leading luxury car in the United States. The idea of a ‘golf cart’ heading up the pack of long established veteran car manufacturers would have been laughed at.

In 2015 Tesla sold 26,566 Model S sedans up from 18,480 the year before. The increase knocked the Mercedes-Benz S Class from the top position which only managed to sell 21,934 – a drop from its 2014 sales of 25,276.

Considering the Model S has only been on the market for three years this is an extraordinary achievement by any measure. On top of that Tesla does not have the dealership networks that all the other manufacturers have in place plus the decades of branding etc.

With the Model 3 due to be unveiled in March and production to commence in 2017 at a cost in the US of $35K (before US incentives), these figures are a shot across the bows of many models such as the BMW 3 series.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has stated the Model 3 , “is going to be probably the most profound car that we make” and it seems the main focus for Tesla is now centred on this vehicle.   Just as the Ford Model T was the most influential car of the 20th century, the Tesla Model 3 may well become the most influential car of the 21st.  Expect to see significant autonomous features built in to the vehicle.