I don't think we have ever seen such tight races going into the last Quarter, as will be shown in the upcoming September World Top 10 article, the race for this year best selling model has three models separated by less than 2.000 units (Tesla Model S and Prius Prime, both at 39k units, with BAIC EC-Series - 38k units. All provisional numbers).
And the Fourth Placed is not far behind, with 36k, but because it is the Nissan Leaf and its Q4 will be no man's land, due to the transitional period into the new generation (Arrives in October to Japan, but first units only arrive in the US in December and in the case of Europe, in January), sales will suffer, so we can already discard it from the race.
So, back to the Top 3.
The Tesla Model S and Prius Prime are running neck to neck (Less than 200 units difference) to end September in Number one, with the Californian beating its all-time record and registering some 8.100 units last month, which means the Model 3 introduction not only didn't hurt sales, but actually helped to increase them.
We will only know the Japan sales of the Prius later in the month (Usually it's the last market to show data), but aside from a surprise deliveries surge, the Japanese hatchback is suffering from production constraints and hasn't yet released its full potential, running at 4.000-something units per month, when it could possibly reach some 10.000/month (It's record month was May, with 7.600 units).
So Toyota could win the 2017 Best Selling model title, IF it pushes the production of its PHEV forward.
Now...Are they able/willing to do it?
But let's talk about the Dark Horse in the race, the BAIC EC-Series, in less than 12 months in the market, BAIC's first dedicated EV stirred the local market and has already sold over 42.000 units, being its already in its 2.0 version, thanks to an increase in the original range, from 180 to 200 kms, which originated a sales surge, jumping from 2.5k deliveries in June, to September's 9k, a new all-time record for a single model anywhere in the world.
Considering that the Chinese PEV market usually ends the years on a high note, it wouldn't be surprising if the little city could replicate those 9.000 registrations in the remaing months of the year, pulling their sales to some 65.000 units.
Considering the likely Q4 results of the Top 2 being some 14.000 units for the Model S and 16.000 for the Prius Prime, we would have the following 2017 podium:
1. BAIC EC-Series (65.000)
2. Toyota Prius Prime/PHEV (55.000)
3. Tesla Model S (53.000)
A surprising podium, not only because of the Prius, coming from almost 0 to Second Place, but mainly because, for the first time ever, a Chinese model would win the trophy, with the added surprise of not coming from the BYD stable.
Speaking of BYD...What about the manufacturers ranking?
Things are also interesting, if not so tight.
In theory, we have three constestants to the Best Selling Manufacturer trophy, with Tesla in the lead, with 73.000 units, followed by BYD at 69.000 and BMW, with 66.000.
In reality, i doubt BMW will be able to follow the other two, despite having reached for the first time the five digit mark in September, with little over 10k, the truth is that the German carmaker lacks BYD's consistency while Tesla is 7k ahead and with the Model 3 kicking up sales, it shouldn't pose any threat to the US automaker too.
Reaching the 100.000 mark this year would already be a big win for BMW.
So that leaves us with Tesla and BYD.
Regarding Tesla Q4 results, besides the Model S usual good form (14k units), the Model X should have above average results, thanks to the possible fiscal changes in Norway, which could mean a sales peak for this model in that market, so i'm guessing some 13.000 deliveries in the last quarter.
Add some 5.000 units coming from a Model 3 trying to leave Production Hell, and we have some 32.000 units being registered in Q4 2017, equalling to 105.000 units delivered this year.
What about BYD?
With the ambitious goals for this year (200k sales) now a thing of the past due to a miserable Q1, with only 9.000 deliveries, BYD is back on track and slowly improving month after month (Their own Production Hell?), having reached 11.800 units in September. If this slow production ramp up continues into December, we can see it deliver some 37.000 units in Q4, ending the year with 106.000 units.
So, the final tally of the year would be:
1. BYD (106.000)
2. Tesla (105.000)
3. BMW (100.000)
Considering the small difference between BYD and Tesla, and unlike the models race, where we predict the Dark Horse stealing the show, in the manufacturers ranking it's really an open race, especially considering both brands are production constrained and will depend more on their ability to increase production output than actual demand.