Tesla Model Y Was World’s Best-Selling Vehicle In 2023

Tesla’s Model Y made history in 2023, with the midsize SUV becoming the first ever EV to lead the global market. The vehicle took top honours despite not having a presence in most emerging markets, where it is considered unaffordable for the majority of consumers.

Sales of the Model Y totalled 1.22 million units globally, up 64 per cent from 2022, a result data company JATO Dynamics said no other manufacturer had achieved.

In previous years, traditional global top sellers like Toyota’s RAV4 and Corolla sedan topped the rankings due to healthy demand in North America, China, the Middle East, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and many markets across Latin America, Africa, and Central Asia.

However in 2023, the RAV4 finished second with 1.07 million units sold (up five per cent), while the Corolla placed fourth with 803,000 units (down 19 per cent). JATO Dynamics said the weakening sales can be attributed to the Corolla’s age (first released in 2018) and the arrival of the Corolla Cross SUV, which quickly gained popularity in developing economies and placed fifth in the ranking. Honda’s CR-V occupied the third position following an 18 per cent increase in sales.

Toyota placed another two models, the Camry sedan (sixth) and HiLux truck (eighth) in the top 10, while the Tesla Model 3 sedan secured 10th position. The remaining vehicles in the top 10 were the Ford F-150 truck in seventh and the Nissan Sentra/Sylphy sedan in ninth.

Among the top 25 were 13 Japanese, five American, three Chinese, and two Korean and European models.

Despite facing many challenges, JATO Dynamics said the global automotive industry performed well in 2023. According to data and estimations for 151 markets across the world, 78.32 million new passenger cars were sold, an increase of 10 per cent and almost seven million units from 2022.

Every region except Africa saw demand for new cars increase in 2023. Europe was the fastest-growing market due to rising demand in Turkiye, the region’s fourth-largest market. A strong push by local authorities to incentivise demand for EVs also accelerated sales.

China increased six per cent compared to 2022, while “USA-Canada” and “Japan-Korea”, areas that JATO Dynamics decided to define as combined regions in its statistics, each rose 12 per cent. Sales volume in Africa decreased by six per cent to 956,000 units due to a significant decline in Egypt, the continent’s second-largest market in 2022 and the third last year.

Twenty-two per cent of new car sales in 2023 came from emerging economies. This amounted to over 17.5 million units, more than the total sales in US or Europe. India led this group by a significant margin – as the fourth-largest individual market in 2023, 4.19 million passenger cars were sold there. Brazil and Iran followed with 2.12 million and an estimated 1.43 million units sold, respectively. In Mexico, 1.3 million units were sold while Turkey accounted for 984,000 cars.

The market share of Chinese car brands increased across the world, posting growth in Latin America and South-East Asia as well as developed economies including Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Israel. In contrast, the US and India had little uptake of Chinese cars, as did Korea and Japan.

In 2023, Chinese brands outpaced their American rivals for the first time. Chinese-origin brands sold 13.43 million cars in 2023, up by 23 per cent, while US brands sold 11.93 million units, up nine per cent from 2022. Japanese brands maintained a strong position globally, selling 23.59 million units.

With 36.72 million units sold last year, SUVs achieved a new sales record and posted their highest ever market share. Between 2022 and 2023, SUV volumes increased by 16 per cent, accounting for around 47 per cent of the total global passenger car sales last year.