Electric Cars

Tesla Model 3 outsells Altima, Fusion, Malibu in Q3

The all-electric Model 3 was America's fifth best-selling sedan.

2018 Tesla Model 3 Performance

After "production hell" and numerous delays, Model 3 sales are finally hitting big numbers.

Nick Miotke/Roadshow

Here's another statistic that will please Tesla fans: The Model 3 was the fifth best-selling sedan in the US in the third quarter of this year. According to data compiled by Bloomberg, the newcomer electric model sold in bigger volumes than some of America's more long-standing and most popular sedans.

That comes after Tesla announced that it delivered over 55,000 Model 3 sedans last quarter. Though Model 3 production is still below the goals Tesla set for its more affordable model, that's a healthy volume that put it ahead of longtime American car-market mainstays like the Nissan Sentra, Hyundai Elantra, Nissan Altima, Ford Fusion and Chevrolet Malibu.

In fact, according to Bloomberg's analysis, the only sedans that outsold the Model 3 in Q3 were the Toyota Corolla and Camry, and Honda's Accord and Civic. No luxury brands even had a sedan in the top 10 sales chart, and as Bloomberg points out, the Model 3 is the only electric car on the list.

Of course, a big part of the explanation comes from the fact that many automakers have seen their customers switch from sedans to SUVs. That's not only true in mainstream brands -- the Honda CR-V outsold the Accord by 5,230 units last month -- but even more so when it comes to luxury makers. The X3 was the best-selling BMW last month, for instance, while Audi sold more than twice as many Q5s as A4s.

There is, however, one caveat: Tesla's delivery data includes both the US and Canada, whereas other automakers break out sales for each country individually. Still, it's safe to say that after repeated issues with ramping up production and sales, the Model 3 is now hitting its stride. But with the company still only building an average of 4,100 of the sedans per week -- and potential turmoil ahead after the SEC fined CEO Elon Musk -- it remains to be seen how well Tesla can maintain its impressive standing in the sedan class.