Musk said Model Y likely best-selling vehicle in the world next year
Sold only approximately 137,000 in 2020
In the automaker’s first-quarter earnings call last night, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that following his claim that the Model 3 had become the best-selling luxury sedan (in just one quarter) that the Model Y would be the best-seller in the world in 2022. So how many vehicles would that mean, and what would the brand need to do?
“When it comes to Model Y, we think Model Y will be the best-selling car or vehicle of any kind in the world and probably next year,” Musk said on the call. “So I’m not 100 percent certain next year, but I think it’s quite likely. I’d say more likely than not, that in 2022, Model Y is the best-selling car or truck of any kind in the world.”
How many sales would that take? Various sources put the Toyota Corolla as the best-selling car in the world, with around 1.2 million units in 2019. Next up is the Ford F-Series at 1.1 million, though that is several different models under one name.
According to Tesla’s Q1 report, the brand currently has enough production capacity to build 950,000 Model 3 and Tesla Model Y vehicles per year (Tesla doesn’t break down between the two). That figure alone makes Musk’s claim doubtful, but the automaker does expect to have the capacity in place this year in Berlin and Texas, with Shanghai continuing to expand.
But how much total production would Tesla need? Again, they don’t break out Model Y and 3 numbers, but using Tesla’s Model 3 quarterly deliveries graph over the last four quarters, the total is approximately 385,000. Just 30 percent of Tesla 3/Y sales were the Y, making it difficult to extrapolate. Even for Q1, a record quarter for Tesla, 120,000 of the 182,847 deliveries were the 3.
To make the Model Y the best-selling car in the world for 2022, Tesla would have to grow from 454,932 3/Y units built in 2020 to triple that figure for 2022, and stop building Model 3 entirely. However many it builds, the brand would need the 3 to Y ratio to flip to even give the Y a chance at the top spot. Meanwhile, Ford is expected to have an electric F-series by then and Toyota continues to improve the Corolla.
Musk later hedged the statement to say “at least based on revenue in 2022 and possibly total units in 2023,” through a Tweet, but with pickup truck average transaction prices now over $50,000, vs a Tesla Model Y LR price of $43,190, that figure too seems like a monumental undertaking.