Move over, Toyota Corolla – the world has a new top-selling vehicle, and it’s electric.

    The Tesla Model Y topped the global sales charts for the first quarter of 2023, according to data compiled by automotive industry specialist of Felipe Muñoz of market research firm JATO Dynamics and published by Motor1.

    Tesla CEO Elon Musk said in August 2022 he expected the Model Y would become the best-selling vehicle in the world in 2023, though it remains to be seen whether the electric SUV can hold the top spot throughout the rest of the year.

    The data shows Tesla sold 267,200 Model Ys, which it produces in the US, China and Germany. This was an increase of around 69 per cent compared with the same period last year.

    In second place was the Toyota Corolla and its related Chinese-market Levin, Allion and Lingshang models, including all available body types, with 256,400 sales. Sales dropped by 29 per cent in China and 10 per cent in the US, helping the Tesla storm past.

    The Toyota HiLux sat in third with 214,700 sales, followed by the RAV4/Wildlander (211,000) and Camry (166,200).

    The caveat here is this reporting is based on JATO data for 53 markets, official data/forecasts for 31 other markets, and estimates for the rest of the world.

    Given the narrow gap between the Model Y and Corolla and the latter’s greater popularity in developing markets, it’s possible the Corolla may still be in pole position.

    Mr Muñoz reported earlier this year the Tesla Model Y had earned the title of the world’s third best-selling vehicle in 2022 with 747,500 sales, up 91 per cent on the previous year.

    This reporting was based on data sourced not only from official national car sales associations, but also local contacts, automakers and estimations. It encompassed 152 countries in total, with omissions including Cambodia and Papua New Guinea.

    The Model Y sat behind the Toyota Corolla/Levin (991,600 sales, counting sedan models only) and RAV4/Wildlander (1,015,700 sales).

    MORE: Everything Tesla Model Y

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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