Skip to main content

While BMW and Mercedes-Benz have sat atop the luxury car sales rankings for years, a new brand has now taken the lead. American electric car brand Tesla is now the best-selling luxury automaker. Even worse for BMW – the numbers aren’t close. The new crew has taken a commanding lead in luxury car sales on the back of improved production numbers and shorter delivery times.

Red Tesla Model S Posed on a Tarmac.
Tesla Model S | Tesla

Tesla jumps a whopping 41% in luxury car deliveries

Compared to its 2021 numbers, Tesla saw a 41% increase in deliveries for 2022. It’s important to note that this data is based on new registrations in 2022. That makes it possible that some vehicles were sold in prior years, but took until 2022 to reach their buyers. However, that can’t take away from Tesla’s best-selling luxury car status.

BMW down 5.3%, but still selling well

BMW is the second best-selling luxury automaker thanks to cars like this stylish BMW M440i convertible.
2023 BMW M440 xDrive Convertible | BMW Group

BMW took the luxury sales crown in 2021, but promptly lost it to Tesla for 2022. However, the German brand slipped just 5.3% compared to its previous numbers. The Bavarian outfit sold nearly 328,000 units. However, Tesla delivers 484,351 models last year, putting them well ahead of the competition.

Mercedes-Benz is the third best-selling luxury car in the U.S.

There is another big gap in sales numbers back to Mercedes-Benz in third. The preeminent symbol of automotive luxury sold just 269,511 units in 2022, putting it well behind the top two contenders, according to Automotive News.

From here, the best-selling luxury car rankings tighten significantly. Fourth-place Lexus moved over 260,000 units last year, while Audi put 184,279 models on the road in 2022.

A white 2023 Mercedes-Benz C 300 Cabriolet drives down a road near a field
2023 Mercedes-Benz C 300 Cabriolet | Mercedes-Benz Group Media

Acura was the biggest luxury car loser in 2022

On the opposite end of the scale, Acura put in a dismal performance in 2022. Selling just over 101,000 models, the brand slid 36% from their 2021 ranking. That slide is puzzling considering the hotly-anticipated arrival of a new Acura Integra. Furthermore, the remainder of the brand’s lineup remained unchanged from previous years.

A survey in California may lend some insight. It notes a marked shift in buyers from Toyota/Lexus and Honda/Acura to Tesla. These buyers are both practical and eco-focused, two things that Tesla models are known to highlight. 

Tesla out sells all luxury automakers with no gas-powered cars

Part of Tesla’s rapid rise to prominence is the lack of viable electric vehicles from luxury brands. While KIA and Hyundai have each provided affordable and comfortable EV alternatives, brands like BMW and Mercedes-Benz have just a few models in their respective lineups.

Significantly, those vehicles are much more expensive than Tesla’s base lineup, making them unattainable in the face of growing economic uncertainty. Being a best-selling luxury automaker means balancing comfort and price these days.

Further enhancing Tesla’s advantage were fuel price spikes throughout 2022. That may have been enough to push some buyers to dip a toe into the EV waters. With few options to choose from among legacy luxury brands, many turned to Tesla instead.

Will Tesla continue its reign as the best-selling luxury brand?

It’s hard to imagine Tesla slowing down anytime soon. While questions remain about their full-self driving product, both reliability and build quality have been improving across the brand. Stiffer competition is on the horizon, but for the time being we expect Tesla to keep gaining ground as a best-selling luxury car.

Related Cheapest New Tesla Is World’s Best-Selling Electric Car

Cheapest New Tesla Is World’s Best-Selling Electric Car