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Tesla’s Model 3 Is the Only EV Doing Real Volume in the U.S.

David Welch

(Bloomberg) -- If automakers learned anything from 2019, it’s that the have and have-nots of the U.S. electric-vehicle market are Tesla Inc.’s Model 3 -- and everything else.

The Model 3 sold in serious volume, with website InsideEVs.com estimating almost 160,000 sales for the year. Other automakers investing billions to roll out electric models have serious catching up to do.

After the Model 3, one has to scroll far down the sales rankings to find Tesla’s Model S and X and offerings from General Motors Co. and Nissan Motor Co. And 2019 was a year to forget for the Chevrolet Bolt and Nissan Leaf, with deliveries dropping 8.9% and 16%, respectively.

And what of those pricey European models that are supposed to challenge Elon Musk? Porsche is just starting to sell the much-hyped Taycan and handed over the first 130 units in December. Audi sold 746 of its all-electric e-tron crossovers and tallied just 5,369 units for the year. Jaguar was even further behind, delivering 2,594 I-Pace SUVs.

To give Musk a more-serious run for his money, automakers are probably going to need models with longer range before plugging in and charging. Even then, the controversial chief executive officer may still have a leg up by building an allure around the company.

“Perhaps Tesla’s best asset is its brand,” Joe Spak, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, wrote in a report Friday. “Many consumers are evangelical about their vehicles.”

(Updates with Porsche, Audi and Jaguar EV sales in the fourth paragraph)

--With assistance from Gabrielle Coppola.

To contact the reporter on this story: David Welch in Southfield at dwelch12@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Craig Trudell at ctrudell1@bloomberg.net, Melinda Grenier

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