Tesla Model Y easily passes Toyota RAV4 and Corolla to become world’s best selling car in 2023

The Tesla Model Y was widely expected to become the world’s best selling car in 2023, and the electric SUV has done just that, easily surpassing the sales totals of the Toyota RAV4 and Toyota Corolla to officially claim the title.

Even before the Model Y launched in 2020, CEO Elon Musk predicted the electric SUV could soon become the world’s best-selling car, a feat that would be remarkable considering no electric car had ever come even remotely close to earning that title. As a result, not many believed that it would happen, but the Model Y’s popularity soon became apparent.

Through much of 2022 the Model Y was continually crowned as the best-selling car for a particular month in many markets around the world, ending the year with 747,000 units sold. While that was an astonishing 91% increase from the year prior, it wasn’t enough to beat the RAV4 and Corolla, which had 268,000 and 244,000 more deliveries that year.

Then came 2023, and the surge in popularity continued, enough for it to easily pass the RAV4 and Corolla. According to data from JATO Dynamics, the Model Y accumulated 1.23 million sales in 2023, an incredible 64% year-over-year (YoY) increase. More importantly, it was 160,000 more units than the second place RAV4 (1.07 million) and 220,000 more than the Corolla.

Credit: JATO Dynamics

These figures are preliminary and don’t include a small number of markets that have yet to release their data, but JATO says the Model Y’s lead is now insurmountable. The Model Y’s total sales also matches what Tesla included in their shareholder deck yesterday.

Felipe Munoz, Global Analyst at JATO Dynamics noted that what the Model Y has been able to achieve is such a short time frame is “simply remarkable.

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.

Felipe Munoz, Global Analyst at JATO Dynamics

The Model Y was able to achieve this thanks to buyers in Europe and China, the largest electric vehicle markets in the world, the Tesla Model Y topped sales charts. In 2023, sales of the Model Y in China increased by 45%, reaching over 456,000 units, while in Europe, it was the best-selling car in the region with over 255,000 units sold, surpassing the second-best seller, the Dacia Sandero, by 19,000 units.

The Model Y led the best-seller charts in Europe every month except October.

JATO also attributed the Model Y’s success to price reductions, which positioned the Model Y at 18% and 23% below the average electric vehicle prices in Germany and the US, respectively.

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