First-quarter data is expected to show Tesla’s Model Y as the world’s best-selling
car, beating the Toyota Corolla and becoming the first electric vehicle to dominate
the global market.
According to analyst Felipe Munoz of automotive insights firm JATO Dynamics,
quarterly sales numbers and forecasts from January through March indicate the
Model Y SUV sold 267,000 units worldwide, pushing past last year’s “super-seller,”
the Corolla sedan, which achieved sales of 256,400 units throughout Q1. During
the prior-year period, the electric car manufacturer sold approximately 158,000
units. In 2022, the firm placed the EV in third place overall with 747,000 sales,
which, at the time, Munoz considered to be a historic achievement.
The JATO analyst attributed the positive change to Tesla’s growth in China, one of
the most challenging EV markets for Western companies to compete in, and the
U.S., where sales increased as much as 68%. Furthermore, although Toyota still
took four of five best-seller spots in Munoz’s analysis, the pattern of declining Corolla sales seen since its 2018 debut continued into Q1, freeing up space for the Model Y to move upwards.
The news comes just over a week after Tesla CEO Elon Musk predicted the Model
Y would become the global best-seller later before 2024 while speaking to
investors at the car manufacturer’s latest shareholder meeting. Although the
entrepreneur has made similar claims in previous comments, a series of early-year
price cuts across the automaker’s lineup pushed demand up in the U.S. However,
while the vehicle’s record-breaking success is likely to be an encouraging sign for
the brand’s following, the company’s dominant position in the automotive industry
remains uncertain as competition in the EV market ramps up from legacy OEMs.
Noting that the Corolla only fell slightly behind the electric SUV, Munoz remarked:
“that anything can happen by the end of the year.”