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The world bought 79,400,000 new cars in 2022, over a million less than in 2021, but new information reveals just how different the new car landscape is globally with electrification becoming a new standard consideration in new car buying decisions.

Data published by auto industry analysis firm JATO reveals the top ten passenger car models (including utes) sold worldwide in 2022, with Toyota now joined by Tesla as the most present brands in the top chart.

While Toyota models take five of the top ten spots, Tesla has two including its Model Y small SUV in third place, having sold 747,000 units in 2022, and the Model 3 sedan in tenth with 482,000 sold.

The Model Y, as of the end of Q1 this year, also leads European sales by a significant margin - more than 10,000 sales ahead of the second-most popular car in the region, the Dacia Sandero, and amassing 71,683 sales after three months.

The Toyota RAV4 topped a million in 2022 with 1,016,000 units sold, though it’s down 10 per cent on 2021. The Corolla, which is the most-sold car in the world to this day, sold 992,000 units in 2022.

It means that, while the Model Y is only one of two hugely popular models in the electric car brand’s range compared to the many Toyota models, it seems like premium-leaning electric cars won’t struggle with popularity as the world shifts to electrification.

JATO’s Global Analyst Felipe Munoz said there are several factors that Tesla has overcome to achieve two cars in the top ten sold worldwide, like the brand’s newness despite it's relatively expensive pricetag.

“It is a historic moment to see a pure electric vehicle not only so close to the top position, but a relatively new brand getting so far in the global ranking, particularly given they are not the most affordable vehicles,” he said.

The Toyota RAV4 topped a million in 2022 with 1,016,000 units sold. (Image: Glen Sullivan)
The Toyota RAV4 topped a million in 2022 with 1,016,000 units sold. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

Behind the RAV4, Corolla and Model Y is the Honda CR-V with 733,000 sales, the Toyota Camry with 673,000 and, another of Australia’s top models, the Toyota HiLux in sixth with 632,000.

The Nissan Sentra, related to the Pulsar formerly sold in Australia, sold 566,000 units, with the Toyota Corolla Cross at 530,000.

America’s darling, the Ford F-150 with 525,000 sales, is ninth ahead of the Model 3 to round out the top 10.

Interestingly, only three models in the list sold more in 2022 than the previous year: the Tesla Model Y, the Toyota HiLux and the Corolla Cross - the latter only recently being introduced to Australia, inflating its sales difference.

Top 10 new car models sold in 2022


2022 sales total

Toyota RAV4


Toyota Corolla


Tesla Model Y


Honda CR-V


Toyota Camry


Toyota HiLux


Nissan Sentra


Toyota Corolla Cross


Ford F-150


Tesla Model 3


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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