Elon Musk Says Tesla Model Y Will Be The World's Best-Selling Car

Industry News / 11 Comments

Watch your back, Toyota Corolla.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is known for making bold claims that... don't always pan out. Didn't you hear? Self-driving cars will be solved later this year. Oh wait, maybe next year. The year after? Sure.

At the company's latest shareholder meeting (dubbed the Cyber Roundup), Tesla made a few key announcements, including a higher price on the long-anticipated Cybertruck. But hidden within the more official and quantifiable news, Musk once again made a bold claim. The Tesla Model Y is expected to be the best-selling vehicle in the world as soon as next year.

This is a pretty substantial prediction because the current best-selling global vehicle, the Toyota Corolla, sold around 1.15 million units in 2021. Comparatively, Tesla only moved 936,222 vehicles in total. So how does Musk believe his company can beat out a single model that outsold his entire product line? Well, with rapid growth.

2020-2022 Tesla Model Y Front View Driving Tesla

Tesla is growing faster than most "legacy" automakers, and expects to end 2022 with around 1.3 million sales. In fact, the Model Y likely already exceeds the Corolla from a revenue perspective since its base price is so much higher at $65,990. So even if it doesn't sell in a higher volume than the Corolla, the Y will generate a nice chunk of change for Tesla. But it's hard to make accurate predictions.

When reporting sales, Tesla bundles the Model 3 and Model Y together. One could argue that the two are similar enough to be counted as a single model, like the Corolla sedan, Corolla hatchback, and Corolla Cross, but they are two distinct vehicles. To Toyota's credit, the Corolla Cross is separate on its US sales report, but likely counts towards the global number.

We know Tesla sold 911,208 units of the Model 3 and Model Y in 2021, but it's impossible to know the exact number for each vehicle. Assuming the Model Y greatly outsells its sedan sibling, there's a reasonable chance it could surpass Corolla. And with the Gigafactories in Texas and Berlin now exclusively building Model Y, that will help Tesla produce more than in previous years.

However, unless Tesla provides a true model-by-model sales breakdown, there will be no way to know with absolute certainty. Unless the Model Y makes up the vast majority of that 911,208 number, we doubt it will outsell the Corolla on its own in 2023. If you count the Model 3 as basically a lower Model Y with a trunk, then it has a chance.

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2020-2022 Tesla Model Y Front View Driving
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