For the first time ever, an all-electric car – specifically the Tesla Model Y – is now the best-selling car in the world. According to analyst data from Jato Dynamics (published by Engine1), the Tesla Model Y has surpassed Toyota’s RAV4 and Corolla models to the top of the global sales rankings in the first quarter of 2023. That’s especially impressive considering prices for the 2023 Model Y start at $47,490, significantly more than the 2023 Corolla ($21,550) and RAV4 ($27,575).
Jato Dynamics figures show that the Tesla Model Y sold 267,200 units worldwide in the first quarter, compared to the 256,400 Corolla and 214,700 RAV4 units sold in the same period. That’s about a year-over-year increase of about 69 percent for the Model Y — a figure that Tesla’s meme-lord CEO, Elon Musk, will no doubt approve of. Musk was confident in the Model Y’s success even before it launched, it’s estimated back in 2016 that it would pull demand “at the level of 500,000 to 1 million units per year.”
While this is a milestone for Tesla, the Model Y’s victory isn’t particularly surprising. Tesla does not give an exact breakdown of sales, but it reported that more than 400,000 Model Y and Model 3 vehicles were delivered to customers in the first quarter of 2023. The development of electric vehicles by rival automakers also remains slow, allowing Tesla to continue to dominate the EV market. And Tesla has often lowered the price of most of its range, including the Model Y, in recent years, which may have contributed to the increase in sales.
We should note that while a Tesla EV is currently the world’s best-selling vehicle, the company is by no means the largest global automaker overall. Volkswagen, Toyota, General Motors and Ford all report higher sales and unit sales by comparison. And according to Car LogosTesla isn’t even in the top 10 largest automakers in the world, creeping in at 19th for 2022.
Musk has previously predicted that the Model Y would claim the top spot, telling investors in 2021, “We think Model Y will be the best-selling car or vehicle in the world. Probably next year. I’m not 100 percent sure next year, but I think it’s quite likely…more likely than not, that the 2022 Model Y will be the best-selling car or truck…in the world.”