LONDON -- Tesla was the best-selling brand in the UK in April, helped by the company's online ordering system, which allowed deliveries to customer homes under a lockdown designed to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The Tesla Model 3 topped UK sales for April with 658 registrations, according to data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
The overall UK market plummeted 97 percent to 4,321 cars as consumers were unable to visit dealerships that were closed under the lockdown.
Tesla relaxed its rule that forbids organizations such as the SMMT from naming it in sales figures in order to reveal the Model 3 as the best-seller, a source with knowledge of the matter said.
Tesla's total sales came under the heading of 'other imports' in SMMT figures, but the source confirmed that Tesla was the best-selling automaker for the month.
Tesla uses a contactless home delivery service that it says abides by social distancing rules. Customers show proof of identification to the delivery driver who remains 2 meters away and then they are able to unlock the car via the Tesla app.
"The entire process ran perfectly," a customer called Steve Hill wrote on Tesla's UK website. "I felt very safe but was also given the chance to fully inspect the car at my leisure and report any findings via the app."
The electric Jaguar I-Pace was the second best-selling car in the UK with 367 registrations in a month that saw full-electric vehicles take an unprecedented 32 percent share. The Nissan Leaf was the ninth best-selling car.