Tesla Model Y Was No. 5 Best-Selling Car in America in 2023
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Tesla Model Y Was No. 5 Best-Selling Car in America in 2023

Kelley Blue Book, along with Automotive News estimates, reports the Tesla Model Y as the 5th best-selling car in the USA for 2023.
  • Tesla’s Model Y all-electric SUV is the best-selling vehicle in the world in 2023, the first time an electric vehicle has won that honor.
  • Kelley Blue Book reported the Tesla Model Y as the No. 5 best-selling car in America in 2023.
  • KBB’s list of the top 25 best sellers in 2023 included ICE vehicles, hybrids, and EVs. 

In Kelley Blue Book’s “The 25 Best-Selling Cars of 2023,” it’s very clear that the electric vehicle revolution is here to stay in America, and it’s growing fast. The Tesla Model Y, a fully electric, mid-size SUV, came in as the No. 5 best-selling car in America, among the 25 best-sellers in the U.S. The list also included internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, hybrids, plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), and battery electric vehicles (BEVs.)

Not only did the Tesla Model Y win the No. 5 best-selling car in America, according to estimates from Automotive News, it also won the title of best-selling vehicle in the world in 2023. This was the first time an all-electric vehicle was a global best-seller.


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A Surprising Win for Tesla

When Tesla’s Roadster was released in 2008, few in the automotive industry took it very seriously. Its high price tag and limited production didn’t make it much of a contender in terms of sales. The release of Tesla’s next-generation Roadster has been delayed several times and is now expected in 2024.

Few automotive experts in 2008 saw the writing on the wall that electric vehicles would become a technology that would disrupt the global automotive industry on a massive scale in 2024 and become a best-selling car in America. Tesla is still a leader in the EV space; however, many competitors have entered the market with their own EVs. Of particular concern in 2024 is Chinese company BYD and other Chinese companies producing low-cost EVs. BYD won No. 1 in sales in China for 2023, and its BYD Song (BEV and PHEV) was the second-best-selling EV in 2023 across the global market.


KBB’s Top Five Best-Selling Cars of 2023


1. Ford F-Series

Image of Ford F-150 Lightning care of Electrify Expo.

America’s love affair with the full-size pickup truck is evident as Ford’s iconic ICE F-Series trucks seem to always win the top spot. The F-Series trucks, which include the F-150, F-250, F-350, and larger models, are popular with both retail buyers and commercial fleets. Ford claims that the F-Series was America’s best-selling truck for the 47th year in a row, and America’s best-selling vehicle for the 42nd year in a row.

Ford’s F-150 Lightning qualified for the $7,500 tax credit and sold well, despite reports of diminished demand. It was up 74% in the fourth quarter of 2023, and was 2023’s No. 1 electric truck. In January 2024 Ford cut production of the Lightning, as Ford and GM moved to increase production of hybrids.


2. Chevrolet Silverado

Second behind the F-Series was the ICE Chevrolet Silverado 1500, 2500, and 3500. GM’s Silverado has long been the F-Series’ top rival.  

The all-electric version of the Silverado has caused great excitement. It has an available 400-mile range according to GM’s estimates, up to 785 lb-ft of torque and 754 hp, and up to 10,000 lbs of towing capability. It jumps from 0 to 60 mph in an astonishing 4.5 seconds. It’s also a popular fleet vehicle


3. RAM Pickup

The ICE RAM pickup line includes the RAM 1500, 2500, and 350 and its heavier-duty models. RAM is owned by parent company Stellantis, which owns a variety of other automotive brands, including Dodge and Jeep.

Stellantis announced Dare Forward 2030, a bold strategic plan that paves the way for the company to achieve Carbon Net Zero by 2038, from well to wheel and throughout the entire supply chain. The company currently has a target of a 100% passenger car BEV sales mix in Europe and a 50% passenger car and light-duty truck BEV sales mix in the United States by 2030.


4. Toyota RAV4

Image Toyota RAV4 Hybird care of Electrify Expo.

Toyota’s standard ICE RAV4 and hybrid variants of the RAV4, which include the RAV4 Hybrid and RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid, came in fourth among the top best-selling cars of 2023. This makes it currently the most popular SUV in the U.S.

Toyota has long been a sales leader in the U.S. Its Camry also made the top ten list, coming in at No. 8. The company has been criticized as being a laggard in the EV industry. In January 2023, Toyota’s longtime president and CEO Akio Toyoda stepped down amid criticism for not moving fast enough into EVs. Koji Sato of the Lexus division took over for Toyoda. Since then, Toyota has stepped up its EV goal from making 190,000 EVs in 2024 to 600,000 EVs in 2025.

Toyota also stunned the EV industry with the announcement in November 2023 that it is working on a new EV with a 900-mile range and 10-minute charging time, using a solid-state battery.


5. Tesla Model Y

Photo of A 2023 Tesla Model Y rear 3/4 view, driving on paved road highway
Image care of Tesla.

Tesla’s Model Y made the No. 5 spot in the top ten, assisted by the federal EV tax credit under the Inflation Reduction Act. The incentive offers eligible buyers a $7,500 tax credit for purchasing a new EV or PHEV or $4,000 for a used EV or PHEV. The credit actually became a point-of-sale discount in 2024.

Tesla’s reliable and extensive Supercharger network gave the vehicle an advantage over other EV brands. It is particularly popular in California, where residents bought 29% more EVs in 2023 than in 2022. Model Y had the highest year-over-year growth of all top ten vehicles on the list, at 56.5%.


Honda’s EV Plans

Honda made the top 25 list with its CR-V at No. 6 and its Civic at No. 16. After being notoriously slow to release EVs, Honda unveiled the Honda 0 Series at CES 2024. The core principles guiding this new endeavor are “Thin, Light, and Wise.” This global EV series is set to launch in 2026. 


Tesla Model 3 Highland

The Tesla Model 3 came in at No. 12. The latest version of the Model 3 was code-named the Highland while in development. The Highland Model 3 introduces several noticeable tweaks. The front end’s distinctive bump has been removed, and it’s available in two new colors: stealth gray and ultra red.

For now, there’s no longer the option to order the former top-of-the-line Performance model.


Tesla’s Move Into the Top Five Is Significant

Tesla’s win for the No. 5 best-selling car in America for 2023 is important — it’s proof that the EV revolution is moving forward at an astonishing rate. In 2024, EV adoption is expected to reach 10% in the U.S., according to Cox Automotive. EV critics point to recent cutbacks by some companies on their EV plans as proof that the EV revolution is dying, or at least in a slump. Neither is true, as more and more Americans are buying EVs every year. 

Tesla is making serious inroads into the American car-buying experience. Its direct-sales model is effective, removing problems buyers face at traditional dealerships. However, Tesla now has multiple challenges, facing off the threat of low-cost Chinese EVs, as well as more and more electric models from other manufacturers. But all current indications are that it will continue to grow and succeed, as it is working on a low-priced model of its own, the $25K Model 2.


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AUTHOR: 

BILL PIERCE

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