Tesla tipped to top car sales charts in April

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Tesla could take a surprise top spot in the UK car sales chart for April in what is set to be an extraordinary month for registration numbers when they’re announced on Tuesday 5 May.

Sales figures for April have been said to be “not pretty” by one industry insider. Deliveries from dealers have been restricted due to the coronavirus outbreak, although contactless deliveries have still been allowed.

Tesla has delivered a large number of its vehicles directly to customers for some years now, but with its retailers shutting on 24 March, following government guidelines, the company has switched to contactless handovers at the customer’s homes or at its delivery centres.

All ‘paperwork’ is pre-organised via a customer’s Tesla Account online, while on the day of delivery, the vehicle is left in a safe location with access arranged via the Tesla app. Buyers are encouraged to inspect their car and log any issues on the app, while video tutorials on screen show customers the features of their new car.

Even when Tesla retail outlets were open, all transactions were processed online, but orders have still been coming in from customers at home during the lockdown. Tesla has also been operating contactless servicing during the crisis, while in China, Tesla has been trialling contactless test drives, which could also roll out in the UK.

Officially, Tesla doesn’t report sales figures as it is not a member of MVRIS, The Motor Vehicle Registration Information System run by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. However, in the official monthly SMMT new car registration data, Tesla registrations are included under the heading ‘Other’ and are expected to account for the vast majority of ‘Other’ registrations.

In March, ‘Other’ registrations took ninth place in the list of UK best sellers ahead of the new Range Rover Evoque and just behind the Kia Sportage. Teslas, and in particular the new Model 3, are likely to have accounted for all of the 4,718 recorded registrations.

However, while other car makers have been struggling to deliver cars during lockdown in April, Tesla has continued with its contactless handovers. Auto Express reader and new Model 3 owner Denis Chick contacted Auto Express to say, “It was the most seamless, no drama purchase I've ever made. From order to virtual delivery in 6 weeks. I didn't think I would see the car for months.

“Everything was done online and an email included a confirmation of delivery document for my signature on the day. This was followed up by a phone call asking if I had any queries about the handover and wishing me a happy future in my Model 3, from an employee calling from home, in Amsterdam!

Denis’ transaction also included a part-exchange, which was also dealt with via his online Tesla account. “It was totally painless, friendly, professional and quick – it’s definitely the future!” he said.

Full April registration figures are expected to be released in the morning of Tuesday 5 May.

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