Tesla Model Y starts outselling the Model 3 in China

Tesla Model Y

Even before it was released, Elon Musk predicted that the Model Y would be Tesla’s best-selling car, so much so that it would likely outsell the Model S, Model 3, and Model X combined. Tesla’s sales in China his May suggests that this may indeed be the case. 

As per recent figures released by the Chinese Passenger Car Association (CPCA), Tesla sold a total of 21,936 vehicles in China in May. This number is comprised of 12,728 Model Y and 9,208 Model 3. This means that in May 2021, Tesla’s all-electric crossover outsold its sedan sibling in the largest electric vehicle market in the world. 



Credit: CPCA

Granted, a significant number of Model 3s that were produced in May at Gigafactory Shanghai were exported to foreign territories. According to the CPCA, Tesla China exported a total of 11,527 vehicles in May. These exports supplied Teslas to several territories, including Europe and countries such as Australia. Without these exports, local sales of the Model 3 in China may have been higher. 

Regardless of this, however, the fact that the Model Y is outselling its sibling just months into its local production in China is impressive. The Model Y, after all, only started mass production in Gigafactory Shanghai earlier this year. The EV maker is still optimizing the vehicle’s production, and thus, the all-electric crossover is likely yet to hit its pace in the Chinese market. 

China is not the first market that saw the Model Y overtake its sedan sibling. In recent months, the Model Y has also overtaken Model 3 sales in the United States, particularly in California. As per data from the EV Sales Blog, which tracks global electric car sales, the Tesla Model Y effectively became the world’s 2nd-ranked EV in April, pushing the Model 3 to 3rd place and ranking below the HongGuang Mini EV, a tiny electric car built in collaboration with GM and priced at about $5,000 in China. 



Elon Musk stated during the Q1 2021 earnings call that the Model Y has the potential to become the world’s best-selling car, electric or otherwise. This suggests that the Tesla CEO expects the all-electric crossover to see a demand of over 1 million units per year. “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. So I’m not 100% 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,” Musk said. 

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