Tesla Model Y To Be Best-Selling Car In The World In 2023?

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Several years ago, before the first Tesla Model Y got into customer hands, I argued that the electric crossover could become the best selling car in the world. It appears that we’re now on the precipice of that happening.

The argument was simple: The Tesla Model 3 had shattered records for its reservation tally — for any new product, not just any car — and those reservations turned into an enormous number of record-shattering sales once Tesla could ramp up production. But car consumers are typically much more interested in crossovers/SUVs than sedans these days, so the crossover/SUV version of the Model 3 should sell even much better. And it has. Of course, there were the many benefits of EVs, and of Teslas specifically, behind my expectations as well — convenient home charging, the Supercharger network for convenient road trips, the fun of instant torque, never needing to go to a gas station, and Tesla’s super fun infotainment system.

Naturally, many other people had the same expectation — including some portion of Model Y buyers, people who were completely sold on the Model Y being the best automobile option on the planet. But even among Model Y buyers, I’d venture to say that most of them did not expect the electric crossover to become the best selling car in the world in 2023.

I know — 2023 is not over yet. However, the Model Y is the model that is now most likely to win the annual title. According to Tesla, the Model Y was the best-selling passenger vehicle on Earth in the first quarter of the year. With Tesla production and sales expected to grow throughout the year, it’ll be tough for any other automobile to catch the Y.

The Model Y’s success has to be built on global appeal and a strong multi-regional approach from Tesla. As the company pointed out in its annual shareholder meeting yesterday, that is the case. The Model Y was the best-selling non-pickup truck in the USA in the 1st quarter, was the best-selling SUV in China in the 1st quarter, and was the best-selling vehicle of any kind in Europe in the 1st quarter. Consistently being at the top of sales table in the three biggest automobile markets in the world has a way of adding up to big things. In this case, it led to the Model Y climbing three spots to #1 globally, with more than 263,000 sales to open the year.

But how far ahead is the Model Y, and can it retain the gold medal?

The second best-selling car on the podium was the Toyota Corolla, with 244,000+ sales, almost 20,000 fewer sales than the Model Y’s 263,489. The third-placed Ford F-Series was at 197,477, far below the Model Y’s total. Interestingly, as you can see, the Model Y is the only passenger vehicle on track to sell more than 1 million units in 2023.

I expect word-of-mouth sales to keep growing for Tesla, but one does have to wonder how high a rather non-cheap vehicle can go in one year. Can Tesla continue to sell every Model Y it produces? Or is there a saturation point with the Model Y around the corner in which Tesla discovers Model Y sales cannot grow any longer, and perhaps even shrink? Additionally, what happens when the Cybertruck comes to market? How many people skip a Model Y and go jump in a Cybertruck? We shall see.

For now, the Model Y is king of the automobile world, and if I was a betting man, I’d bet that it ends the year in #1.

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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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