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21 02 2018 01

Germany's premium brands are under pressure to accelerate their plans for electric cars after Tesla's Model S outsold the luxury flagships of Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi in Europe for the first time.

European sales of the Model S outstripped German premium brands' range-topping sedans including the Mercedes S class and BMW 7 series.

The Model S has outsold German rivals in the upper-sedan category in the U.S in previous years, but never in Europe.

"This is an alarm for the traditional automakers such as Mercedes. It says a smaller but smarter brand such as Tesla can beat them at home," said Felipe Munoz, an analyst with market researchers JATO Dynamics.

European automakers need to address the electrification faster because customers are showing more and more interest in such vehicles and it seems that the traditional industry "can't deliver on time," Munoz said.

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