Skip to main content

Tesla Model Y Number One Luxury Compact SUV in California

Tesla Model Y is leading the way in California, beating many ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) traditional brands on its way to the top. Model Y, being a BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle) ranks as the state’s fifth overall best-selling model (that is, including gas-powered vehicles), as per CNCDA - California New Car Dealers Association.

CNBC’s Phil LeBeau stated in a recent Squawk Box segment “… we get this data every quarter from the California New Car Dealers Association, and it’s a great look at how the country’s largest auto market is moving in terms of trends — what people are buying what they’re not buying — and the numbers look incredible for Tesla. Now they’ve always been strong in California. It’s always been their strongest market, but look at the surge in sales this year. Nobody’s close to them, up 64%. The strength of this, the Model Y. Now the Model 3 has always done well there, but the Model Y it is the fifth best-selling model in California. Let me stress this again. Not the fifth-best-selling electric vehicle. The fifth best-selling vehicle, period. It is also the number one luxury compact SUV in California.”

Back in 2020, and according to information provided by Mark Kane, from insideevs, the overall light-vehicle sales in California amounted to 1,639,166 units, which is 21.7% less than in 2019. The decline was noticeably deeper than in the U.S. (by 14.4% to 14,645,049). Again according to the California New Car Dealers Association (CNCDA), plug-in car sales also decreased, but not as much, which means higher market share.

Tesla Model Y, Courtesy of Tesla Inc.

In total, some 132,772 plug-ins were sold in California in 2020 (down 16.5% year-over-year). That's about 8.1% share. At that time, by checking the details, it turned out also that the plug-in hybrids were shrinking quickly. More than a 40% drop is huge, especially since there are more models available and often those are models with better specs.

By August 2021, and always according to CNCDA, "… while 2020 vehicle sales dropped 14.4 percent in the United States, California was hit especially hard, with sales falling 21.7 percent last year. Despite this drastic decline, the market was still 58 percent higher than the lowest point in 2009 during the Great Recession. According to the California Auto Outlook for the Second Quarter of 2021, sales are expected to increase 15 percent from 2020, approaching 1.9 million units. Absent the ongoing global microchip shortage, units likely would have exceeded 2 million, this year."

Tesla Model Y, Courtesy of Tesla Inc.

The electric and hybrid vehicle market continued its growth in California through the first half of the year. New hybrid vehicle sales saw a three percent increase to their share, making up 10 percent of the market, with new electric vehicle sales increasing one and a half percent to 7.8 percent. Plug-in hybrids doubled their share to 3.2 percent. In the first six months of the year, the market share for these vehicles increased significantly from 15 percent in 2020 to 21 percent through June of 2021.

Going back to CNBC’s Phil LeBeau, he also stated that “ reason when you take a look at Tesla’s annual sales, the estimates continue to go up not just because of California, but because of what they’re doing worldwide. The estimate now according to FactSet is for full year deliveries to reach 893,000 vehicles. Don’t be surprised by the end of the year if the estimate tops 900,000 vehicles. As you take a look at Tesla over the last three months, remember the Gigafactory hasn’t even come online. It starts production at the end of this year. We’ll probably start to see the first vehicles coming out of the Gigafactory next year. We will see the Cybertruck towards the end of next year.”

Tesla Model Y, courtesy of Tesla Inc.

This is certainly good news for reservation holders who are waiting for their Tesla Model Y and Model 3, and if we take into account Cybertruck reservations and future Giga Texas production (and who knows, we might have a surprise with the Roadster), there are more reasons to be optimistic about the last quarter of 2021 and the whole year 2022.

All images courtesy of Tesla Inc.

Nico Caballero is the VP of Finance of Cogency Power, specializing in solar energy. He also holds a Diploma in Electric Cars from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, and enjoys doing research about Tesla and EV batteries. He can be reached at @NicoTorqueNews on Twitter. Nico covers Tesla and electric vehicle latest happenings at Torque News.