Tesla passes Audi in luxury-car registrations

“Tesla was first to go all-in on EVs; it really was the only game in town,” Michelle Krebs, executive analyst for Autotrader, told Automotive News. “Innovation and technology along with sophistication is a winning combo.”

In fact, Tesla vehicles grabbed four of the top five spots among total 2020 EV registrations, Experian said.

Unlike most automakers, Tesla does not disclose its U.S. sales, instead reporting deliveries only on a global basis.

Registrations are often lower than total sales, and it takes some time for a vehicle sold to a retail customer to show up in registration data.

Overall, automakers sold 14.6 million vehicles in the U.S. last year, according to the Automotive News Research & Data Center, and the Experian data shows 14.2 million vehicles registered.

Tesla was aided by the earlier-than-expected launch of its Model Y crossover, even as it and other automakers had to slow production in 2020 because of the coronavirus.

Despite its recent success, the automaker could face a steeper battle climbing into the top three this year.

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