Tesla Model Y Conquers the World; Becomes Best-Selling Car

By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla's Model Y is the world's best selling car in Q1 of 2023
Tesla's Model Y is the world's best selling car in Q1 of 2023
Tesla

The Tesla Model Y made a monumental leap in Q1 2023, emerging as the world's best-selling car. Not just the best-selling EV, or the best-selling SUV, but the world's best-selling vehicle, period.

According to industry analysts JATO Dynamics, this marks the first occasion in history where an EV has claimed this title. The growth trajectory of Model Y sales globally over recent years had hinted at this milestone, fulfilling Tesla's earlier predictions that demand could reach a million units per year.

JATO Dynamics' Revealing Analysis: Model Y Trumps Corolla

Data compiled by JATO Dynamics analyst Felipe Munoz reveals a compelling story. Model Y's Q1 sales reached 267,200, outperforming Toyota Corolla's 256,400 sales. The comparison becomes even more dramatic when considering other top contenders like Toyota's Hilux, RAV4, and Camry. Model Y's sales, largely driven by Tesla's significant price cuts, are escalating, while Corolla sales appear to be dwindling. This dynamic is particularly impressive considering the Model Y's introduction to the market a year later than the Corolla (2019 vs 2018).

The Legacy of the Toyota Corolla: A Reign Unchallenged Until Now

For decades, the Toyota Corolla has held an uncontested reign as the world's best-selling car, with its affordability, reliability, and universal availability contributing to its enduring popularity. Its 2018 iteration further consolidated this status, offering consumers a well-rounded package that catered to a wide variety of tastes and requirements across different markets.

The Corolla was indeed a global favorite, securing sales in practically every corner of the world, from North America and Europe to Asia. Its broad availability in multiple body styles — sedan, hatchback, and wagon — further expanded its appeal to a diverse customer base. Despite this formidable legacy, the emergence of the Model Y has marked a shift in consumer preferences. It heralds a new era in which electric vehicles can claim the top spot in global car sales.

The High Price Tag vs. Accessibility: Tesla's Strategic Moves

Tesla's ambitious projections regarding the Model Y have come to fruition, culminating in an average quarterly sales increase from last year's 189k to this year's Q1 figures. With this growth rate, Model Y is on track to exit 2023 with over 1 million sales. A feat previously only achieved by Toyota Corolla, which sold 1.12 million units in the previous year.

One may wonder how an EV with a price tag of approximately $40k (after credits) could outperform the more affordable Corolla, priced at $21k for a base model. Despite Model Y's higher cost, Tesla's strategic price cuts have widened its appeal, contributing significantly to its increased market share.

Elon Musk's prediction that the Model Y could become the world's best-selling car seems increasingly plausible. Given its current momentum and the growing demand for EVs, it's likely that Model Y will maintain its leading position, making Tesla's mark in the automotive industry even more indelible.

Tesla's Supercharger Team Shakeup: Firings, Rehiring, and Future Prospects

By Karan Singh

Tesla recently fired the entire Supercharger team, including Tesla’s head of charging – Rebecca Tinucci, after she pushed back on the extreme layoffs that took place right before the cut.

The Supercharger team consisted of over 500 employees, at least after the initial layoffs. In the following days and weeks, Tesla began to rehire some of the employees that it had fired.

Some Damage Done

In the immediate aftermath of the firing of the Supercharger team, contractors and site planners were left bewildered, with no contact from the Supercharger team that was responsible for payment, planning, and decision-making.

As this has played out, new Supercharger deployments have been reduced – stations that were already being built are being completed, but no new announcements have been made since t

It was dire news at the time - but it isn’t all bad.

Returning Employees

Now, more and more of the employees that were fired are beginning to return to Tesla, some of whom are announcing that they were asked to return to Tesla in their previous capacities.

George Bahadue, Senior Manager of Site Acquisition and Business Development commented on LinkedIn:

“Two weeks ago, I was asked to return to Tesla in my previous capacity heading up the business development and site acquisition for Tesla charging – I accepted.”

His reasoning to accept the position was a quote from Rebecca Tinucci:

“You work at Tesla because you hope to have at least a small impact on our collective future – aspirationally, to leave the world better for our children and grandchildren and their children and grandchildren – by accelerating the transition to sustainable energy. And that mission is too important to allow any distractions.”

New Stations Could be Coming Soon

With the restaffing of the Supercharger team, especially with the return of George Bahadue, we can expect that new Supercharger sites may be announced in the coming weeks, as the ripple effect from the layoffs begins to settle.

The rehiring of experienced staff suggests that Tesla and Elon Musk are still committed to the vision of maintaining and expanding its Supercharger network – the largest and most reliable charging network in North America, which is crucial for the mission to move the world to renewable energy.

Tesla Cuts Model Y Output in China – Economic Slowdown and Anticipated Project Juniper Launch

By Karan Singh

Tesla recently cut Model Y output in China, according to data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), Tesla’s production of the Model Y in China experienced a decline of approximately 18% in March, and 33% in April, versus the same time last year.

Output Cuts

These output cuts can be attributed to Tesla’s recent decision to reduce production of the Model Y at Giga Shanghai by at least 20% from March to June 2024. This was attributed to an unnamed Spokesperson by Reuters last week.

This decision could be multifaceted – the primary reason being an economic slowdown in China as price wars continue to be waged between EV manufacturers, including Tesla. On the flipside, Tesla has continued its production of the updated 2024 Model 3, colloquially referred to as the Highland, with an increase of 10%.

Project Juniper?

The second reason for this slowdown could be the incoming arrival of the Model Y refresh – also known as Project Juniper. Tesla China has already introduced an updated Model Y with a unique cloth dash with similar ambient lighting as the Model 3.

The Model 3 Highland was also introduced in China before its introduction to other markets, including North America and Europe.

Juniper Upgrade Speculation

Not much has been seen about Project Juniper at this time, but we can expect a similar suite of upgrades that match the updated 2024 Model 3 Highland – including a new front fascia design, updated doors and dynamics, steering updates, improved control arms, ambient lighting, new seats, and improved range.

There is a continued expectation that Tesla is pushing back its Model Y refresh – its best-selling vehicle – to make a bigger splash. This could include newer features – like the Cybertruck’s Steer-by-Wire, front camera, or other upgrades and changes – like the lack of stalks on the rest of the Tesla line-up.

Tesla previously confirmed we’re not seeing the Juniper Y this year, this could be the time needed to retool and upgrade lines to prepare for its introduction sometime next year.

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