Tesla is poised to overtake Toyota as California’s top carmaker

Credit: Tesla Inc.

There’s a reason why the Tesla Model 3 is fondly dubbed the “California Camry” in the Golden State. Data from the California New Car Dealers Association (CNCDA) reveals that the Model 3, Tesla’s second-best-selling vehicle, surpassed the Toyota Camry in sales last year. The Toyota Camry was California’s best-selling car in 2021.

The same trend can be observed in the light truck category. The Tesla Model Y once more became California’s top light truck in terms of new vehicle registrations last year. This allowed the Model Y to beat the Toyota RAV4 for the second year running. 

CNCDA data showed that the Tesla Model 3 saw 78,934 registrations in California in 2022, beating The Toyota Camry with its 55,967 registrations. The Tesla Model Y saw 87,257 registrations last year, while the Toyota RAV4 saw 59,794 registrations. 

Tesla’s performance against Toyota is impressive. The Japanese carmaker is still a very strong force in California, commanding 17% of the state’s vehicle registrations last year with 289,304 units. Tesla held 11% of California’s auto segment last year with 186,711 vehicle registrations. 

A look at the sales trend in California would show that Toyota is seeing a decline as Tesla is growing its market share. As stated in an Automotive News report, the market share of Toyota and its luxury brand Lexus has declined from 2021 to 2022. Tesla followed the opposite trend, with the company almost doubling its market share in the same period. 

This same trend was highlighted in a recent study from S&P Global Mobility, which noted that Toyota and Honda are losing buyers to companies like Tesla. Data from Experian suggests that there is a very good reason for this: Toyota and Honda do not have a strong EV lineup

“While vehicle pricing was a major concern in 2022, sales of pure EVs increased by over 50 percent from 2021. California is clearly doing its part to increase EV sales,” California’s dealers association noted. 

Loren McDonald, CEO of the analysis firm EVAdoption, told the publication that Tesla buyers today are the same consumers who bought Toyotas in the past. “Tesla buyers today are the historical Honda and Toyota buyers of the past. They’re switching over to Model 3s and Model Ys,” McDonald said, highlighting that Tesla could overtake Toyota in a year or two based on its current momentum. 

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Tesla is poised to overtake Toyota as California’s top carmaker
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