When Tesla CEO Elon Musk stated back in the Q1 2021 earnings call that he believes the Model Y will “quite likely” be the world’s best-selling car in the future, many were skeptical. The Model Y, after all, is a premium car, and Tesla’s annual vehicle production output is still just a fraction of what traditional automakers could accomplish regularly.
The numbers from the California New Car Dealers Association’s new report would show that Musk is perhaps onto something. As could be seen in the CNCDA’s report, the Tesla Model Y became the state’s second best-selling car in 2021, just about 1,200 units behind the Toyota Camry. This is quite an accomplishment, considering that the Golden State is the US’ largest auto market.
For 2021, the Tesla Model Y sold a total of 60,394 units. Its stablemate, the Model 3, did very well too, selling a total of 53,572 units sold over the year. At the top of the state’s car sales was the ubiquitous Toyota Camry, which sold 61,599 units in 2021. As noted by CNBC host Phil LeBeau during a Squawk Box segment, the Model Y’s California sales in 2021 were particularly impressive since the vehicle has only been on sale in the state for less than two years.
This meant that within the short span of time since it became available, the Model Y saw so much demand and momentum that it effectively leapfrogged its competition, including its own sibling, the Model 3. The fact that the all-electric crossover came within striking distance of the Toyota Camry is quite insane, since the Model Y is being sold practically with no advertisements, and it is almost twice the price of the ubiquitous family sedan.
The pace of the Model Y’s growth is something almost frightening, especially for veteran automakers that are only now getting into the electric vehicle game. It’s difficult to deny the all-electric crossover’s accomplishments too, as the Model Y came into the scene at a time when Tesla can no longer tap into the federal tax credit. This suggests that the Model Y’s accomplishments to date were achieved by the vehicle’s own merits. Tesla definitely benefitted from this, as the company is now California’s 5th most popular automaker.
Numbers and performance-wise, the Tesla Model Y is the company’s most conservative vehicle. It’s not as attractive as the Model 3 and Model S, and it’s not as quick or filled to the brim with tech as its bigger sibling, the Model X. Yet within the vehicle’s conservative (at least by Tesla’s standards) specs lies a notable balance — one that makes the Model Y attainable for the average car buyer, and one that makes the vehicle the ideal gateway car into the emerging world of modern electric vehicles — and that, in itself, is a killer combination all on its own.
The California New Car Dealers Association’s new report could be viewed below.
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