Elon Musk has noted in the past that he believes the Tesla Model Y has the potential to become the world’s best-selling car, period. The prediction was ambitious, considering that the Model Y is an all-electric car — and one that is priced at a significant premium compared to some of its most popular combustion-powered rivals.
Yet, as per data from JATO Dynamics, the Model Y may very well be on its way to making Elon Musk’s prediction a reality. Felipe Munoz, an Automotive Industry Specialist at JATO, recently noted that the Model Y appears to have led the world sales ranking of passenger cars in the first quarter of 2023.
This was, at least, according to JATO’s data for 53 markets worldwide, as well as information for other key markets and estimates for others. It is a notable accomplishment for the all-electric crossover, considering its high average selling price. That being said, the Model Y has been showing signs of its momentum in the global automotive market, as hinted by its performance in 2022.
Last year, the Tesla Model Y actually became the world’s third-best-selling car, just behind the far more affordable and ubiquitous Toyota RAV4 and Toyota Corolla. The gap between the vehicles was not too large, with the Model Y falling 244,000 units behind the Corolla and 268,000 units behind the RAV4, as per a report from Motor1. This gap, however, appears to have narrowed significantly amidst Tesla’s aggressive pricing strategies.
Munoz notes that data for the first quarter that’s been collected so far suggests that the Tesla Model Y sold 267,200 units in the first quarter, up about 69% year-over-year. The Model Y performed particularly well in key markets such as China, the United States, and Europe. The Toyota Corolla, on the other hand, appears to have sold 256,400 units in the same period. Unlike Tesla, the Corolla’s sales appear to have seen a 29% decline in China and a 10% drop in the United States.
As noted by the JATO analyst, the Tesla Model Y might have some wind in its sails because it belongs to two extremely popular segments today: all-electric cars and crossovers. Key rivals in the sales volume game like the Toyota Corolla, however, have the advantage of being sold in pretty much every country across the globe. Needless to say, the global rankings of the automotive segment’s best-selling vehicles would likely be extremely interesting in the coming months.