In a surprising turn of events, the Tesla Model Y has secured its place as Europe's best-selling car for the year 2023. Preliminary data from market research specialists at Dataforce reveals that the American electric vehicle has established a solid lead over its closest competitor, the Dacia Sandero. With figures representing 97 per cent of sales in the European Union, the EFTA countries, and the UK, the Model Y triumphs over the Romanian hatch with a lead of 254,822 to 235,893 units.

How did the Model Y win the crown? One of the main reasons is that Tesla strategically catapulted the crossover to success by implementing substantial price cuts at the beginning of 2023, a trend that has persisted into the current year. The company also benefited from incentives targeting company cars in Germany last year, where the Model Y emerged as the best-selling EV car with approximately 45,800 registrations, according to Automotive News.

Gallery: 2021 Tesla Model Y

Throughout 2023, the Model Y claimed the top-selling position in seven out of the 12 months, showcasing its sustained popularity. The Dacia Sandero led in four months, while the Volkswagen T-Roc secured the top spot in one month. Below is a list of Europe's 20 best-selling vehicles last year:

Europe’s Top 20 selling models in 2023
Position Model 2023 sales 2022 sales
1 Tesla Model Y 254,822 137,608
2 Dacia Sandero 235,893 200,736
3 VW T-Roc 206,438 180,909
4 Renault Clio 202,942 143,293
5 Peugeot 208 194,376 206,986
6 Opel Corsa 188,662 163,861
7 VW Golf 184,279 177,386
8 Toyota Yaris Cross 176,685 136,959
9 VW Tiguan 174,267 149,023
10 Skoda Octavia 161,784 112,776
11 Ford Puma 159,778 136,976
12 Toyota Yaris 158,838 175,562
13 Hyundai Tucson 158,831 150,728
14 Peugeot 2008 158,571 140,826
15 Dacia Duster 156,556 149,323
16 Kia Sportage 152,342 137,378
17 Citroen C3 146,008 143,467
18 Nissan Qashqai 145,476 115,980
19 Renault Captur 145,078 135,066
20 VW Polo 139,761 113,567

Contrasting the previous year's rankings, where the Peugeot 208 reigned as Europe's best-seller in 2022 and the Sandero took the second spot, the Model Y's ascendancy in 2023 marks the first time an electric vehicle secures the top position in Europe’s annual sales report. Meanwhile, the VW Golf, which topped the sales charts in 2021, is anticipated to slip to seventh place in 2023.

As a final note, the Model Y was America’s fifth best-selling model last year with approximately 403,897 units delivered to customers. This number represents a 16-per cent increase compared to 2022 when the Model Y was the best-selling vehicle globally.