The Model Y passes some famous names along the way.
For example, Ford sold about 562,000 F-150 pickups last year.
It looks like Tesla’s SUV probably caught up with the truck in the third quarter and should be moving forward all year.
While Ford has recently upped its EV game, this change in hierarchy must come as a bit of a shock to its executives, one of whom publicly mocked Musk in 2018 by noting that his company made roughly the same number of cars in four hours as it did. Tesla in a week.
To be fair, the F-150 volumes are largely limited to North America, while the Model Y is sold worldwide.
Tesla sold 53,901 Model Ys in Europe over nine months, according to Dataforce, and an estimated 162,000 units in the US during the same period, according to the Automotive News Data Center.
Looking only at North America, the F-150 still dominates the sales charts and will likely be for a long time to come.
Further in the standings it is the Japanese who lead. Honda’s HR-V, Toyota’s Camry and Nissan’s Sentra each surpassed 670,000 units last year. It will be a few months before it is clear whether Model Y will catch up with these three, but Tesla has a good chance.
The top three in the world last year went to the Toyota RAV4, Toyota Corolla and Honda CR-V. Getting on top of that this year is almost certainly a bridge too far for the Model Y. Tesla’s plants in Austin, Texas, and outside of Berlin will continue to grow through 2023, so Musk may lay claim to the world’s best-selling vehicle, as he predicted last year. .
The Corolla has been a regular seller for many years and regularly clocks more than 1 million units. It won’t be easy to make it, especially since the car sells at a much different price, starting at around $20,000.
That’s less than a third of the current cost of the Model Y, which starts at over $60,000 in the US.
It is not clear whether the global auto market can continuously support 1 million sales of a single model at that high price.
Macroeconomic conditions are also rapidly deteriorating, with higher interest rates, falling house prices and stock market turmoil all taking their toll on major purchases.
Sales of high-end EV models grew strongly due to the pandemic, in part as white-collar workers kept their jobs, reduced spending and saw their home values and stock portfolios soar as governments and central banks stepped in with stimulus measures.
The environment is very different now and it remains to be seen how the premium segment of the car market holds up. BMW recently suggested that cracks are beginning to form.
Still, it’s hard to overstate how important it is for an EV model to rank so high in the global sales rankings. It increasingly feels like a matter of when one rises to the top, not if it will.