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Tesla Model 3 overtakes Toyota Camry as Tesla dominates 2022 electric car sales

In 2022, the Tesla Model 3 outsold the Toyota Camry, formerly the car of choice for cabs and Ubers alike. (Image: Tom White)

Tesla has overtaken Toyota, becoming the brand with Australia’s most popular sedan, as the Model 3 electric car outsold the veteran Camry for the first time in 2022.

Though the mid-size car segment of the Australian new-car market is small, with just 38,117 cars (mostly sedans) selling in 2022, out of almost 1.1 million vehicles, the Tesla Model 3 made up 10,877 of those, more than a quarter of the segment.

The Toyota Camry came in at a close second, having sold 9538, though its popularity is diminishing - in 2021 it sold in figures of 13,081, and the mid-size car segment was smaller overall at just 30,601 cars.

The Camry, which was once a regular at the pointy end of new-car sales charts, now drops back towards (but not quite yet close to) the likes of the third-place mid-sizer, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class (3566 sales in 2022), in terms of figures.

It’s not just other sedans having to take note of Tesla’s popularity, though, it’s the entire electric car segment.

While new brands like BYD from China build their credentials and traditional car brands slowly shift to electric car production, Tesla has capitalised on its head start.

In 2022, Australians bought a total of 33,410 electric vehicles, according to FCAI data. Of those, 19,594 wore Tesla badges. 

Tesla has overtaken Toyota, becoming the brand with Australia’s most popular sedan.

Tesla’s 57 per cent hold over the Australian new electric car market is most closely threatened by aforementioned upstart BYD, whose Atto 3 electric car is now Australia’s second most-popular new EV to buy.

In December 2022, 1268 BYD Atto 3s were sold, compared to 2266 Teslas (1806 Model 3s, 460 Model Ys), out of 5084 total electric cars sold in the country for the month.

It’s good news overall for electric car proponents: of the 83,581 new cars, SUVs, and light commercial vehicles sold in December, six per cent were electric. By the end of 2022, 3.1 per cent of new vehicle sales were electric, while plug-in hybrids made up 0.5 per cent, and regular hybrids a more impressive 7.6 per cent.

Chris Thompson
Racing video games, car-spotting on road trips, and helping wash the family VL Calais Turbo as a kid were all early indicators that an interest in cars would stay present in Chris’ life, but loading up his 1990 VW Golf GTI Mk2 and moving from hometown Brisbane to work in automotive publishing in Melbourne ensured cars would be a constant. With a few years as MOTOR Magazine’s first digital journalist under his belt, followed by a stint as a staff journalist for Wheels Magazine, Chris’ career already speaks to a passion for anything with four wheels, especially the 1989 Mazda MX-5 he currently owns. From spending entire weeks dissecting the dynamic abilities of sports cars to weighing up the practical options for car buyers from all walks of life, Chris’ love for writing and talking about cars means if you’ve got a motoring question, he can give you an answer.
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