In the sales race, should Tesla Model S be counted as a full-size sedan?

Numbers don't lie, but they can be categorized in various ways.

Tesla Model S Front Exterior
  • Image Credit: Tesla Motors
  • Tesla Model S Front Exterior
  • Tesla Model S Front Exterior
  • Tesla Model S Front Exterior
  • Tesla Model S Side Exterior
  • Tesla Model S Rear Exterior
Tesla Motors says it's pretty much lapped the competition when it comes to sales of full-size luxury sedans in the US. But now, one auto-industry observer is saying the electric-vehicle model is in the wrong race. And as any experienced airline traveler in coach will tell you, it's all about the legroom.

Tesla recently confirmed it sold 9,156 Model S vehicles in the US during the third quarter, which not only marked a 59-percent jump from a year earlier, but was almost twice as many as the second-place Mercedes-Benz S-Class, and almost three times sales of the BMW 7 Series. In fact, the Model S accounted for almost a third of the large luxury sedan market for the three months that ended September 30.

But is the Model S a large luxury sedan? Autotrader's Doug DeMuro says no. DeMuro tells BGR News that the Model S is more of luxury midsize. Notably, the Model S offers 20 percent less rear legroom than the BMW 7 Series and 18 percent less than the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. In fact, the Model S's rear legroom is far more comparable to that of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, which moved almost 15,000 units during the third quarter, and the BMW 5-Series, which sold 7,430 vehicles (and that's prior to the model's redesign, which is expected to hit showrooms within the next few months and will likely boost demand).

Murkier is DeMuro's argument that the Model S is also priced more like a luxury midsize. DeMuro notes that the Model S base price is about $16,000 less than that of the BMW 7-Series and more than $30,000 less than the Mercedes S-Class's price, which would seem to further put the Model S in the luxury midsize category. That said, with all of the goodies included, the average price a Model S buyer pays for the car is generally comparable to, if not often more than the price of a typical 7-Series or S-Class, so that argument is less clear. The takeaway point is that Tesla sales were up, and everyone has an opinion about the company.

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