Tesla expects to report at least 4,750 deliveries of the electric Model S in the U.S. and Canada when it releases first- quarter results on May 8, said Shanna Hendriks, a company spokeswoman, reiterating a March 31 estimate. That compares with 4,421 Volt sales in North America and 3,695 deliveries of Nissan’s Leaf, based on data provided by the carmakers.
The sales ranking for Model S is a first for the Palo Alto, California-based company’s flagship model and coincides with Tesla saying it would report a first-quarter profit, the first in its 10-year history. The plug-in hybrid Volt, which uses both batteries and a gasoline engine, led regional sales in 2012.
“Any success for a company in this space is helpful for all other makers of plug-in vehicles,” said Jim Cain, a spokesman for Detroit-based GM. “The single most important thing we can do for plug-ins, to encourage sales, is to have them on the road.” Tesla began selling the Model S, with a $69,900 base price, in mid-2012 and hasn’t begun shipments beyond North America. It goes as far as 300 miles (483 kilometers) on a charge, according to Tesla. Musk has set a target of delivering 20,000 of the cars, built in Fremont, California, this year.
GM and Nissan each sold about 30,000 of their respective rechargeable models worldwide last year, the companies said. Both have declined to provide current-year volume targets. The Leaf, like the Model S, is an electric model.