Tesla navigated a bumpy road in 2018 — a year that saw CEO Elon Muskstep down as chairman as part of an SEC settlement over fraud charges, while the electric automaker also faced criticism over working conditions and production delays.
But, the past year also had good news for Tesla. The company sold nearly as many of its vehicles in 2018 (over 245,000 of them) than it did in every previous year combined, going back to its 2003 founding, Tesla said in a press release at the start of January. Helping to drive that growth was the fact that Tesla's Model 3 sedan became the best-selling luxury vehicle on the US market.
Last year, in total, Tesla sold 145,846 Model 3s, the company's mid-size, four-door sedan that started production in 2017. That easily outpaced the 111,641 units sold by the Model 3's closest luxury vehicle competitor, the Lexus RX.
That Lexus luxury SUV (which is made by Toyota) finished 2018 second on the list of best-selling luxury vehicles, followed by more luxury SUVs like the Mercedes-Benz GLC (an estimated 62,435 units sold) and the Audi Q5 (61,835 units), according to Kelley Blue Book.
The Model 3 vaulted to the top of the list of best-selling luxury vehicles this fall, after Tesla said it sold over 55,000 units of the luxury sedan in 2018's third quarter. That number kept growing in the fourth quarter, with Tesla selling over 63,000 Model 3s in the year's final three months.