Best-Selling Vehicle on Earth in 2023 is None Other Than the Tesla Model Y
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Best-Selling Vehicle on Earth in 2023 is None Other Than the Tesla Model Y

  • Tesla sold more than 1.23 million Model Y vehicles in 2023. 
  • BYD sold more vehicles overall, but no individual model outsold the Tesla Model Y. 
  • The Model Y was 23% less expensive than other EVs sold in the US. 
  • This is the first time an EV sat atop the global vehicle sales list. 

Seeing more EVs on the road is a good thing, and Tesla continues to lead the way. The Tesla Model Y took the crown worn by Toyota for decades, as the affordable EV was the top-selling vehicle in 2023. 


Tesla Model Y: The 2023 Global Top Seller

In 2023, Tesla reportedly sold 1.23 million of the Model Y. As other automakers release their numbers, Tesla’s numbers appear to be solidly in first place. These numbers are 64% better than the 2022 sales figures. The Model Y was the top seller in Europe and China, where EVs rule the day. According to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, over 456,000 Model Y units were sold. In Europe, the Model Y numbers topped 255,000 units. 

Could Tesla sales have been bolstered by price cuts? Possibly. In November 2023, the Tesla Model Y was priced up to 23% lower than other EVs in the US. The Model Y accounted for about 66% of all Tesla sales. 

What about BYD?

Tesla’s sales number outperformed that of the largest EV builder – BYD. The Chinese automaker might be the largest in the world, but its passenger cars have yet to break into the US market. Once BYD crosses all borders, it could eventually overtake Tesla, especially if the BYD Seagull is offered. This little EV has a sticker price of 73,000 yuan, which is under USD 11,000. 

In 2023, BYD reported selling a total of 3 million vehicles across its lineup of battery-electric and hybrid-electric cars, trucks, and SUVs. Tesla sold 1.8 million vehicles in 2023, with the Model Y leading the way. 


Rounding Out the Top Three

When it comes to vehicle sales, Toyota is still near the top. The Toyota RAV4 and Corolla filled in the second-place and third-place slots – each with slightly more than one million units sold around the world. 

The First EV at the Top

Tesla has been selling EVs since 2003 – beginning with the Roadster. Then, Tesla released the Model S in 2012 and the Model X in 2015. The Model Y production began in 2020. It’s been such a success that Tesla had to expand production beyond Fremont, California. Tesla now makes the Model Y at Gigafactories in Shanghai and Berlin. It’s amazing that a four-year-old vehicle from an 11-year-old automaker has reached the pinnacle of global sales. 

Tesla’s financial analyst Felipe Munoz said about the unprecedented 2023 global sales, “What Tesla has been able to achieve with the Model Y in such a short space of time is simply remarkable.”

The automaker isn’t one to rest on its laurels. Tesla stakeholders understand that the Model Y can’t carry the automaker forever, so it’s working on a new platform and next-gen model that should go into production in 2025. Rumors about “Redwood” (the vehicle’s code name) involve low prices and more autonomous driving abilities. 

Spurring More Interest and Investment

To say it’s exciting that an EV had top global sales is an understatement. This sales record could be a catalyst that positively impacts carbon emissions and global driving habits. As more EV options arrive on car lots in 2024, hopefully, more drivers will learn about the benefits of driving an EV. 

Seeing Tesla at the top of global sales could pique the interest of drivers who may have been reluctant to consider an EV. The impressive sales numbers should also initiate more investment in infrastructure to support the growing number of EV drivers. It should also spur more investment in charging infrastructure and battery research and development. It’s an all-around plus for the entire EV industry. 



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