Auto sales: guess which car dominated the international market in 2023?

Camille Coirault

January 26, 2024 at 5:13 p.m.


Car sales © © Wasan Tita / Shutterstock

Tesla becomes caliph in place of the caliph © Wasan Tita / Shutterstock

2023 is a historic year for the automotive industry, as Toyota has largely been dethroned from its position as global sales leader. Indeed, neither the RAV4 nor the Corolla will have been enough to resist the surge from Tesla and its Model Y.

The year was already off to a very good start for the American manufacturer, since its Model Y was already the best-selling vehicle in the world in the first quarter. A trend which was confirmed, since Jato Dynamics (a leading company in the automotive data analysis sector) confirmed that the Model Y continued to sell like hotcakes. The Model Y is now the most sold vehicle in the world, all energies combined. One more success to hang on the SUV’s jacket, after having won the position of best-selling car in Europe last week.

An unstoppable rise

Tesla therefore delivered 1.23 million copies of its Model Y, far surpassing the Toyota RAV4 (1.07 million) and the Corolla (1.01 million). A performance all the more remarkable since Tesla is a very young company, and cannot claim the industrial past of the Japanese manufacturer. Since the early 2000s, it has often dominated the market due to its reliable vehicles, a very positive brand image and a strong global presence.

The Model Y has seen its sales literally soar since 2022, as they have jumped 22%. A tour de force, made possible in part thanks to an aggressive price reduction strategy put in place at the start of the year, before which its competitors found themselves helpless.

World auto sales ranking © © Jato

Historical models dethroned © Jato

The pillar of Tesla

Without Model Y, no Tesla! An adage that is becoming more and more a reality. In fact, this model alone represents two-thirds of the brand’s sales. The Model Y is a bit for Tesla what the Golf is to Volkswagen, or the F-150 is to Ford. While the Model 3 experienced a small slump period at the time of its restyling, Tesla managed to capture part of the latter’s customer base thanks to its compact SUV.

A dazzling success, which can also be explained by a sluggish offering from historic manufacturers in this segment. Tesla occupies a very special place in the sector, between premium and general. A positioning that has succeeded since the results of the Model Y speak for themselves. Whether you’re a fan of the brand or not, the numbers are there!

Sources: Clean Automotive, Jato Dynamics

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