Tesla Model Y first EV to be crowned world’s best-selling car

Preliminary data from JATO Dynamics suggests the Tesla Model Y, with 1.23 million units, has wrested the title from Toyota, whose RAV4 SUV and Corolla have sold 1.07 million and 1.01 million units respectively in 2023.

Autocar Pro News Desk By Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 28 Jan 2024 Views icon8979 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
Tesla Model Y first EV to be crowned world’s best-selling car

Tesla has taken the crown for the world’s best-selling vehicle in 2023, with the Model Y securing the top spot across the majority of global markets. With estimated sales of 1.23 million units, the Tesla Model Y has wrested the title from longstanding leader Toyota’s two models, the RAV4 SUV (1.07 million units) and Corolla (1.01 million units). 

While a small number of markets are yet to release their sales figures for 2023, the findings of preliminary data collected by JATO Dynamics indicate that the Model Y is in an unassailable position, with 1.23 million units sold between January and December 2023, which constitutes a 64% year-on-year increase. This makes the Tesla Model Y the first EV to lead the global market.

Felipe Munoz, Global Analyst at JATO Dynamics, commented: “The increase in global sales of the Model Y is unprecedented, particularly for a vehicle in the top ten best-sellers. What Tesla has been able to achieve with the Model Y in such a short space of time is simply remarkable.”

The Model Y led the way for sales in both Europe and China, the world’s two largest EV markets. According to data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), more than 456,000 units were shipped to China in 2023 – marking an increase of 45% from 2022. In Europe, registrations of the Model Y soared above consistently high performers such as the Dacia Sandero, Peugeot 208, and Volkswagen T-Roc. Data from 30 markets shows that more than 255,000 units of the Model Y were registered – this being 19,000 units more than the second most popular vehicle, the Dacia Sandero.

Munoz added: “The average retail price of a Tesla Model Y in November 2023 was 18% and 23% lower than the average cost of an EV in Germany and USA respectively. The price cuts over the course of the year, combined with Tesla’s reputation as a reliable and competitive EV manufacturer, helped to fuel already high demand. As a result, Tesla is front of mind for many consumers looking to purchase an EV.”

Official deliveries data from Tesla also shows that the Model Y accounted for two in three deliveries by the OEM in 2023.

The Tesla Model Y was the best seller in both Europe and China, the world’s two largest EV markets

Tesla dethrones Toyota

According to the preliminary data, 2023 will mark the end of Toyota’s top position in the model ranking, with the RAV4 and Corolla having led the global rankings in recent years. According to Munoz, “Toyota has a strong presence worldwide, with the RAV4 (an SUV) and the Corolla (a compact car) making the brand attractive with a diverse offering. However, both models lack pure electric options, with only hybrid alternatives on offer. While Toyota still experienced a strong year in 2023, the RAV4 and Corolla are simply unable to compete in the electric car market, which is becoming increasingly established and important across Europe and China.”

Despite this, the second best-selling vehicle in 2023 is set to be the Toyota RAV4, with 1.07 million units currently sold globally – up from 1.02 million units in 2022, when it led the global market. With all body-types included, Toyota’s Corolla occupied third place in the rankings, according to the preliminary data.

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