A gap of less than 10,000 units gave the Model 3 first place (Photo: Walla!, Keinan Cohen)
Last August, Elon Musk, Tesla's dominant CEO, said the Model Y would be the world's best-selling vehicle in 2023. Like many of Musk's statements, it wasn't clear if he was once again fantasizing and trying to bolster Tesla's stock on the Nasdaq, or if he was seeing something again long ahead of everyone else. Two things happened more than once.
This time it turns out that it was a statement of the second kind. According to data from auto market research firm JATO, the Tesla Model Y was indeed the best-selling car in the world in the first quarter of 2023. The Model Y sold 267,200 units in the first three months of the year, while the Toyota Corolla sold 256,400 units.
It's a milestone: it's the first time an electric car has climbed to the top of the global sales chart, and the first time in years that a Corolla has been eliminated from the top. The Japanese family, produced since 1969 in 12 generations, overtook the Volkswagen Beetle in 1997 to become the best-selling car ever, and has sold more than 50 million copies to date. Model Y has been produced since 2020 and has sold only about 1.5 million copies to date.
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Model Y on First
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World's best-selling cars in 2023 (Q<>)
Rating | Model | Units
1.Tesla Model Y | Approx. 266,200
2.Toyota Corolla | 256,400
3.Toyota Hilex | 214,700
4.Toyota Rab 4 | 211,000
5.Toyota Camry | 166,200
As the world turns to electric vehicles and crossovers, the Corolla stays with conservative customers (Photo: Toyota)
The Model Y is currently being produced simultaneously in the US, China and Germany, and is expected to sell more than one million units this year. That's a 30% improvement from 2022, when it delivered 759,3 units to take fourth place in the world.
The Y is in the two important market groups, the crossover group and the electric group, which increases its popularity. In the coming year, it is expected to undergo its first facelift, similar to the update that Model 3 will undergo in the coming months.
But the Y is also proof of Tesla's limited product portfolio, which still doesn't cover most of the market. The Y and 214 are still too expensive for most car buyers, Tesla has not yet begun production of the Cybertruck pickup, does not produce other vans, nor cheap cars or crossovers.
Other manufacturers rely on many more models to cover as many market niches as possible, using different brands, to different price levels. Toyota produces popular cars under its name, luxury cars under the Lexus brand, and trucks in the Hino division. It also has another popular brand, Daihatsu, which in the past sold well in Israel as well, but now focuses on East Asian markets. Volkswagen produces cars under its own name, and under Audi, Skoda, Seat, Cupra, Porsche and Bentley, and Scania and Mann trucks.
The Model Y may have overtaken the Corolla, but the rest of the top five also belongs to Toyota: Hylex ranks third with 700,4 units, Rab211 fourth with 166,4 units and Camry fifth with 100,2023 units.
For Toyota, it's a sign of calm for the next few years, but also a warning sign to accelerate the pace of production and launch of its electrics. Its bZ2x, which is equivalent in size and price to the Model Y, will be produced in less than 9,10 copies this year and with only one battery option compared to Tesla's three, it is inferior in range to even the most basic Y.
Tesla is expected to end <> for the first time with production of more than <> million cars, and Toyota and Volkswagen with about <>-<> million each, including all their divisions. Meanwhile, Tesla has only announced the launch of the Cybertruck pickup truck in the coming months, hinting at a new low-cost model that will be manufactured at the company's new factory in Mexico.
In Israel, the BYD Atto 3 (second from right) is the best-selling vehicle, and the company is faster than Tesla in launching new models (Photo: BYD)
In Israel, too, the best-selling car starting this year is electric, but this is the BYD Atto 3, which with a basic price of NIS 163,5 is more than 20% cheaper than the basic Model Y, which costs NIS 224,3.
That's one of the main reasons why the Atto 8 delivered 000,1 units this year and the Model Y only 200,<>. In addition, the cheapest Model of the Y was opened for sales in Israel only at the beginning of the year, and according to data from the Ministry of Transport, the first units have not yet been delivered. When that happens, the model's numbers are expected to increase significantly.
- Car News