The inevitable has finally arrived. Everyone knows SUVs are popular – in the US they outsell other categories including pickup trucks. The same can be said for Europe, but an even more disturbing statistic reared its head in the Old Continent for 2023. SUVs weren’t simply the most popular vehicle category. They outsold all other categories combined.
We saw this coming last year when preliminary numbers pointed towards total SUV dominance, but a tally from Automotive News Europe shows the 50-percent threshold was indeed crossed for 2023. Specifically, 51 percent of new vehicle sales went to SUVs and crossovers, leaving sedans, trucks, wagons, and hatchbacks to fill up the rest. It’s a 19-percent year-over-year increase for the segment, led by the Tesla Model Y, which earned the title of best-selling vehicle in the world for 2023. For some context, Model Y sales alone increased a whopping 85 percent in the region.
That’s not to say the streets of Europe are being overrun by big SUVs. Where small hatchbacks were once king, small SUVs now occupy that space. Automotive News Europe says that small and compact people movers are the most popular, accounting for 4.1 million sales. However, the data show premium SUVs had the largest year-over-year increase, rising 31 percent to reach 843,939 sales. Based on the overwhelmingly positive stats we’ve seen from luxury brands last year, this makes sense.
While Tesla is enjoying considerable success with the Model Y, it’s not the best-selling vehicle in the US. Cumulatively speaking, SUVs handily outsell trucks but Americans still love full-size pickups. The Ford F-Series has led the US chart for decades, and 2023 was a good year with 750,789 units sold, an increase of 14.8 percent. The Chevrolet Silverado was second at 555,148 sales, and crosstown rival Ram took third with 444,936 truck sales. The most popular SUV in America finally lands in fourth, but it’s not Tesla. The Toyota RAV4 claims that title instead, with 434,943 sales, followed by the Tesla Model Y at an estimated 403,987 sold units.