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For years, the best-selling mid-size sedan in California was the vaunted Toyota Camry. Now though, there is a new king in town. The Tesla Model 3 outsold the Camry in California based on 2022 new vehicle registrations. This marks a big step for the electric car brand as it continues to claw market share from the Japanese legacy automaker. Even better for Tesla, the brand’s SUV also outsold Toyota’s competitor, giving it two big wins in the largest auto market in the U.S.

A black Tesla Model 3
Tesla Model 3 | Tesla

Tesla Model 3 vs Toyota Camry units sold in California

For 2022, reports from the California Association of New Car Dealers show that the Model 3 sold 78,934 units. This puts it well ahead of the Camry, which shows just shy of 56,000 registrations in 2022. This is a big step for Tesla as it looks to dethrone Toyota, but the overall numbers prove that there is still a long way to go.

Blue Toyota Camry
Toyota Camry | Toyota

One other Tesla model outsells its Toyota competition

It isn’t just the Tesla Model 3 that’s ringing up big numbers in California. The Tesla Model Y also had a big year in California. According to U.S. News, that compact SUV outsold the Toyota RAV4, tumbling Toyota in two key categories at once. The Model Y outpaced the RAV4 with 87,257 vehicles sold compared to the Rav’s 59,794. That’s a big swing in Tesla’s favor, but their limited model lineup keeps it from the overall crown.

Blue Toyota RAV4
Toyota RAV4 | Toyota

Toyota still keeps the overall lead

Despite losses in two critical categories, Toyota still holds significant market share over Tesla in California. Even with 50,000 more vehicles sold between the Model 3 and Model Y, Toyota still held the overall lead for units sold in 2022. At 289,304 units, the Japanese automaker outranked Tesla by over 102,000 units. Tesla, for its part, did pick up the pace at 186,711 total vehicles sold in 2022.

Regarding market share percentage, Toyota retains 17% of the total market share among California car buyers. Tesla, meanwhile, managed an 11% market share in the state. While that still puts the Texan EV producer behind their legacy rival, it did earn a 54% increase in market share overall. Meanwhile, Toyota and Lexus combined to lose 14% of their share in California, continuing a slide that started two years ago.

Red Tesla Model Y
Tesla Model Y | Tesla

How did Toyota keep the lead?

While both the Camry and RAV4 lost out to their electric rivals, Toyota’s vast collection of vehicles allowed it to stay ahead of Tesla overall. Toyota offers large three-row SUVs, trucks, and sports cars, while Tesla’s four-model lineup is limited to just two cars and two crossovers. The numbers suggest that Tesla is poised to overtake Toyota overall in the next two years, but as of now the Japanese outfit still has the edge.

Time will tell if the Cybertruck, a possible Tesla Roadster, and revamped Tesla Model S help launch the brand forward ahead of that timeline.

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