Tesla’s Model S outsold Germany’s flagship sedans in Europe in 2017

Put that in your tailpipe, Germany.
Put that in your tailpipe, Germany.
Image: EPA/John G. Mabanglo
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Tesla’s luxury electric sedan is leaving its German gas-powered rivals in its rearview mirror. The Model S outsold BMW’s flagship 7 Series and Mercedes’ luxury S-Class in Europe for the first time last year.

According to data from automotive research company Jato, Model S sales rose 30% to 16,132 in Europe in 2017, outstripping sales of the Mercedes S-Class, which only grew 3% to 13,359. Deliveries of BMW’s 7 Series plunged 13% to 11,735.

Tesla’s also doing well in the SUV segment: It sold 12,000 Model Xs in Europe in 2017—around 2,000 more than the BMW X6, and roughly the same as the Porsche Cayenne.

“As diesel continues to be demonized by governments and media, consumers have been ‘forced’ to look for other alternatives,” Jato analyst Felipe Munoz told Quartz. “This is more evident in the upper segments where the Model S competes.”

Diesel-emissions scandals and talk of diesel bans in major cities across Europe have hammered diesel sales in Europe. Munoz says this has created the perfect scenario for the Model S to thrive.

While Tesla’s European sales may cause consternation among the German auto giants, Munoz says Daimler is still a strong industry player with a clear plan for its shift to electrification.

“The fact that the Model S outsold the S-Class at home is just a reminder that the electrification plans must become reality, and the sooner the better,” he says. “Europe is a key market, and Tesla seems to be the only one taking advantage of this trend, as the traditional car makers are taking longer to bring the electric cars to market.”

The Mercedes S-Class is still the top dog globally, thanks to strong demand in China, Germany’s Handelsblatt Global reports. Still, Tesla sold 28,800 Model S cars in the US last year—twice as many as the Mercedes S Class.