Tesla just outsold Mercedes-Benz in the US for the first time

Elon Musk Taylor Hill/Getty Images

In the third quarter this year, Tesla sold 69,925 vehicles in the US. Mercedes-Benz sold 66,542.

It’s taken just eight years for Elon Musk’s upstart electric startup to topple the company that invented the car 132 years ago.

And according to Atherton Research, which compiled the report, Tesla was just 1754 shy of knocking over the other German giant, BMW.

In a note to its clients, Atherton said it expected Tesla to surpass BMW in US sales in the last quarter of 2018.

Earlier this month, Tesla said it actually delivered 83,500 vehicles worldwide during the September quarter, “more than 80% of the vehicles that we delivered in all of 2017“.

As many as 55,840 of those vehicles were Model 3s, which is twice as many Model 3s as Tesla had delivered in all its previous quarters combined.

All of which is very timely good news for Musk, as he prepares to comply with a US Securities and Exchange settlement which requires him to step down as the chairman of Tesla’s board of directors and pay a $US20 million fine.

At the start of September, Musk had promised it would be “the most amazing quarter” in the company’s history.

Now the ramp-up in deliveries could have the company on track to meet Musk’s promise of profitability in 2019.

Macquarie Research agrees, and has begun coverage of Tesla with an outperform rating, saying shares “can pop more than 70 per cent”.

Tesla’s stock price rose 4.9 per cent in Tuesday trading.