The Tesla Model Y finished 2023 as the year's best selling car

The Tesla Model Y was Europe’s best-selling car in 2023, becoming the first ever EV to top the chart - and the first car from outside of Europe to do so. 

On sale since 2020 and built in the US, China and Germany, the crossover finished the year with 251,604 units sold, according to figures from industry analyst Jato Dynamics – a rise of 84% over 2022. 

Tesla sold some 17,000 more examples of the Model Y than any other car, beating the likes of the Dacia Sandero (234,715) and the Volkswagen T-Roc (204,610).

It was also the only electric-only model to appear in the top 30, as the second-best selling EV, the Tesla Model 3 saloon, finished 32nd overall with 100,883 sales. 

“The soaring popularity of the Model Y and price cuts across its range helped Tesla record its largest market share since arriving in Europe. Tesla has the right product in the right place at the right time,” said Jato global analyst Felipe Munoz.

It didn’t end there for the American EV brand: it's now the 16th most-registered brand in Europe, having surpassed Volvo and Nissan. 

Meanwhile, Volkswagen finished the year once again as Europe’s favourite brand, with 1,343,740 cars sold, followed by Toyota with 819,544 and Audi with 730,690. 

What about the other cars in the top 10? See if any of them surprise you below…

The top 10 best-selling cars in Europe of 2023

1. Tesla Model Y 251,604 sales, +84% YoY

Four years on sale and the Tesla Model Y is the best-selling car in Europe. Its healthy range figure and described performance all likely played a part in its gold medal position, and it was also likely helped by a wave of price cuts at the start of the year. Will it finish 2024 as the continent’s top seller, too? 

2. Dacia Sandero 234,715 sales, +18% YoY

So close, yet so far for Dacia. The Sandero has finished in second place for the past two years, but that’s certainly nothing to be ashamed of. Its appeal is bolstered by its exceptional value for money, which will have resonated with buyers as the cost of living crisis continues to hit across Europe. That it’s also a competitive supermini with a spacious interior and decent handling makes it an especially compelling buy.

3. Volkswagen T-Roc 204,610 sales, +13% YoY

The Volkswagen T-Roc is always a popular choice in Europe, and that looks set to continue for the foreseeable future. It ranked third in 2023, and its sales even outnumber those of the venerable Volkswagen Golf. A recent facelift boosted its interior quality, addressing one of the few criticisms of this well-rounded crossover.

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4. Renault Clio 201,604 sales, +42% YoY

Renault’s popular supermini is now a bigger seller than the Volkswagen Golf. Who’d have thought it? The Clio is a desirable option for its eye-catching looks but also its frugal powertrain line-up, with an E-Tech hybrid option and a simple 1.0-litre petrol.  We’re big fans of this small French car, and it’ll likely remain just as popular this year. 

5. Peugeot 208 193,679 sales, -6% YoY

The Peugeot 208 supermini was 2022’s best-selling car in Europe, but it didn’t quite hit that pace in 2023. It’s still a small car well worth considering though, with a choice of petrol and all-electric powertrains. Plus, it’s one of the best-looking out there. 

6. Opel/Vauxhall Corsa 188,154 sales, +15% YoY

The cheaper sibling of the Peugeot 208 enjoys strong demand. A refreshed model is due in the coming months – adding Vauxhall’s signature Vizor front end and bringing a range boost for the Corsa Electric, which could catalyse a rise up the charts. 

7. Volkswagen Golf 183,716 sales, +4% YoY

The ubiquitous Volkswagen Golf has been a long-time favourite in Europe, but it’s gradually been sliding down the charts with each passing year. But it’s still an excellent all-rounder, and a new facelifted model will go on sale in 2024. We can’t wait to get our hands on one. 

8. Toyota Yaris Cross 176,285 sales, +29% YoY

It’s easy to see why the Yaris Cross is a hit. Not only is it a relatively affordable car, but it’s also backed by Toyota’s legendary reputation for reliability and, as a hybrid, can easily average 60mpg under a careful right foot. 

9. Fiat 500 173,187 sales, -3% YoY

Is there a more recognisable small car than the Fiat 500? It has been on sale since 2007 and it’s unlikely to be dropped any time soon. More recently, the model gained a next-generation electric sibling with a battery size of up to 44kWh. However, it's the petrol that's still by far the more popular, taking 108,943 of the total stated above.

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10 Skoda Octavia 160,662 sales, +43 YoY

The Skoda Octavia didn’t appear many times in this top 10 in 2023, but a strong end to the year has had it sneak in at the final position. Best of all, we’ve just learned that a facelift will come later this year, bringing a more powerful vRS model, a new infotainment system and more sustainable materials.

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lukeski 15 February 2024

Hi Scotty, i do appreciate how wierd it is that a £40,000 plus car is the top selling car in the EU. I think the way you have to look at it is a) Tesla has a very high share of the EV market, and b) there are basically only 2 Teslas - the model 3 and the model Y. If you compare that with say a Golf, you can swap it out for a huge variety of other cars, including many cars just from that same company. Similarly BMW sells a lot of 3 series, but a load of these are actually badged as 4 series, similarly with Mercedes. A large chunk of Tesla's business approach is standardidisation, a very small range of cars, with minimal options, provides economies of scale that help reduce cost, increase sales, which driver further economies of scale. Similarly selling direct to consumers, over the air updates.  This has been driven by the fact that they drastically need to scale to complete with much larger companies and bring the cost of EV's down to broaden the market, rather than just competing for market share. A lot of there design is also around simplifying manufacturing, helped by EV's being comparatively simple compared to ICE cars. It is really very interesting and generates this counterintuitive result.

lukeski 15 February 2024

Hi Scotty, i do appreciate how wierd it is that a £40,000 plus car is the top selling car in the EU. I think the way you have to look at it is a) Tesla has a very high share of the EV market, and b) there are basically only 2 Teslas - the model 3 and the model Y. If you compare that with say a Golf, you can swap it out for a huge variety of other cars, including many cars just from that same company. Similarly BMW sells a lot of 3 series, but a load of these are actually badged as 4 series, similarly with Mercedes. A large chunk of Tesla's business approach is standardidisation, a very small range of cars, with minimal options, provides economies of scale that help reduce cost, increase sales, which driver further economies of scale. Similarly selling direct to consumers, over the air updates.  This has been driven by the fact that they drastically need to scale to complete with much larger companies and bring the cost of EV's down to broaden the market, rather than just competing for market share. A lot of there design is also around simplifying manufacturing, helped by EV's being comparatively simple compared to ICE cars. It is really very interesting and generates this counterintuitive result.

LP in Brighton 2 October 2023

Confusing headline gives the impression these are year to date figures. Yet the quoted figures are I believe for the month of August. Even so, it's hard to comprehend that Europe's top seller is a Chinese built model and not a single Ford appears in the top 10. So it seems that the Tesla Model Y is in fact the new Fiesta. Or was this August just a blip? 

xxxx 1 December 2023
LP in Brighton wrote:

Even so, it's hard to comprehend that Europe's top seller is a Chinese built model ...

Who's confused, why did Tesla build a Model Y plant in Germany again?

xxxx 1 December 2023
LP in Brighton wrote:

Even so, it's hard to comprehend that Europe's top seller is a Chinese built model and not a single Ford appears in the top 10. 

Are you talking about the Model Y?