A Californian liberal's favourite - Tesla Model Y finished 2022 ahead of Toyota Camry for state's top sales title

Twenty years ago, a Toyota Prius was the most popular car in the Golden State of California, one of USA’s most liberal rainbow-flag carrying state. California is also the US state that is most open to foreign brands like Toyota, or new concepts like electric cars, as opposed to say Tennessee, where the Ford F-150 rules.

Californian liberals from the late ‘90s to 2010s were also the ones who, for better and for worse, made the Toyota Prius into an icon of tree huggers.

Today, California is also known as the Tesla state. The Tesla plant in Fremont, California is the state’s largest employer of manufacturing jobs. Ironically, the plant was formerly owned by Toyota, which established it with GM as part of the NUMMI project.


According to data compiled by California New Car Dealers Association. The top two best selling cars in the Golden State last year were made by Tesla. Previously, the top spots were typically contested by the Toyota Prius, Toyota Camry Hybrid, or Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.

In 2022, Tesla sold 87,257 units of the compact Model Y, making it the most popular car in California. The Model Y is a 5-seater SUV but 6- or 7-seat options are also available.

Ranking behind the Model Y is the compact sedan Model 3, which sold 78,934 units.

Meanwhile, Toyota sold 59,794 units of the RAV4 and 55,967 units of the Camry, ranking third and fourth respectively. The Ford F-150 rounded up the top five, with 40,232 units.

In 2021, the Toyota Camry was the No.1 selling car in California, followed by the Tesla Model Y, Honda Civic, Toyota RAV4, and Tesla Model 3.

2022 is the also the first-time battery EVs outsell hybrids, at least in California. Battery EVs now have a 17.1 percent market share in the state, versus 11 percent for hybrids, and 3 percent for plug-in hybrids.

Overall, Toyota is still the No.1 selling brand in California, with a 17.3 percent market share. Tesla is at number two, with 11.2 percent, followed by Ford (8.4 percent), Honda (7.9 percent), Chevrolet (6.8 percent), Kia (4.8 percent), Mercedes-Benz (4.4 percent), Nissan (4.2 percent), Hyundai (3.9 percent), and Subaru (3.8 percent).

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