Tesla Model 3 was California's best selling car through first quarter

The electric sedan found more buyers than any rivaling luxury car, and even mass-market sedans and crossovers.

Sean Szymkowski
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.
Sean Szymkowski
2 min read
Tesla Model 3 deliveries
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Tesla Model 3 deliveries

The pandemic didn't seem to hurt Model 3 sales much in CA.


Hats off to the Tesla Model 3 as it continues to defy expectations and find plenty of new buyers. In fact, through the first quarter of this year, the electric car was California's best selling vehicle. Like, out of every segment.

Data from the California New Car Dealers Association released last week shows the Model 3 sold 18,856 units through March 31 of this year. The figure is greater than any rival car, and even trumps mass-market cars and crossovers . The car to come closest was the Honda Civic with 18,001 units sold in the same time period. The Toyota Camry (17,871 units), RAV4 (17,261) and Corolla (15,575) round out the top five cars through Q1 in California.

Tesla's Model 3 Performance subtly adds the power

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The CNCDA categorizes the Model 3 in the "near luxury" category, which has it compete with cars like the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. In its respective segment, the electric car blew rivals away. The 3 Series sits in second place with 3,437 units sold to the Model 3's 18,856. The Lexus ES (2,703 units), C-Class (2,199) and Audi A4 (1,099 units) fill in the final results, and it's clear, Californians dig their Teslas.

There should be an asterisk with this data, though. Q1 was the start of stay-at-home orders across the US to combat the coronavirus pandemic, and some California areas were the first to implement such policies. Thus, traditional dealerships closed their doors as non-essential businesses went dark for a period of time. That likely left a lot of shoppers out of the market for the time being. At the end of the day, Honda only needed to sell 855 more Civics to strip the Model 3 of its title.

But, the numbers prove definitely has staying power, especially in its home state of California.

Watch this: Five things you need to know about the Tesla Model 3