Tesla breaks into America's bestselling cars list for 2022, but trucks still dominate

Key Points
  • Pickup trucks continued to lead America's top-selling vehicles in 2022.
  • Tesla broke into the top 10 for the first time, according to Motor Intelligence.
  • Despite having its lowest sales since 2012, the Ford F-Series was the country's top-selling vehicle for the 41st year.
A Tesla Model Y on display inside a Tesla store at the Westfield Culver City shopping mall in Culver City, California, U.S., on Thursday, April 14, 2022.
Bing Guan | Bloomberg | Getty Images

DETROIT — Pickup trucks again led America's top-selling vehicles last year, but Tesla broke into the top 10 for the first time as a Covid-era shakeup among other popular models continues.

Data and analytics firm Motor Intelligence reports the electric Tesla Model Y crossover was the sixth bestselling vehicle in the country in 2022, beating out the GMC Sierra pickup, Honda CR-V crossover and other longstanding top sellers.

Tesla does not report regional or individual vehicle sales, so the data is estimated. Overall, Tesla reported delivering about 1.25 million Model Y and Model 3 vehicles globally in 2022. The Model 3 ranked 13th in sales at 211,641 units, according to Motor Intelligence.

"It's no surprise that Tesla ranks that high," said Michelle Krebs, executive analyst for Cox Automotive. "The brand, despite all the news and stuff, still dominates the EV market and it dominates the luxury market. A lot of that strength comes from the Model Y."

Ford sales rose 3.2% in December
Ford sales rose 3.2% in December

Despite posting its lowest sales since 2012, the Ford F-Series was the country's top-selling vehicle for the 41st year and America's best-selling truck for 46 consecutive years. The Chevrolet Silverado regained its longstanding second-place spot after being outsold by the Ram pickup in 2021.

Parts and supply chain problems since the onset of the Covid pandemic have caused sporadic plant shutdowns at different times for automakers, leading to a shakeup in vehicle sales rankings for the past couple of years.

"We have seen so much fluctuation in sales and inventory," Krebs said. "In 2022, the year started out with very high demand ... but then we saw things shift by the end of the year. Demand seemed to be softening a bit while inventory, not across the board, was rising."

Automotive executives and analysts are cautiously optimistic that the U.S. industry will normalize more this year regardless of recessionary fears, rising interest rates and other economic concerns. Last year the industry was estimated to have sold between 13.7 million and 13.9 million vehicles, according to industry analysts. A typical year prior to the pandemic saw more than 17 million in sales.

Here are the 10 best-selling vehicles in the U.S. by unit sales for 2022, according to Motor Intelligence.

1. Ford F-Series: 653,957 units – down 9.9% from 2021

2023 Ford Super Duty F-350 Limited

2. Chevrolet Silverado: 513,354 – down 1.2%

2022 Chevrolet Silverado ZR2

3. Ram pickup: 468,344 – down 17.7%

A RAM vehicle is displayed at the New York Auto Show, April 13, 2022.
Scott Mlyn | CNBC

4. Toyota RAV4: 399,941 – down 1.9%

2022 Toyota RAV4

5. Toyota Camry: 295,201 – down 5.9%

2022 Toyota Camry

6. Tesla Model Y: 252,000 – up 32.4%

Tesla Model Y
Courtesy: Tesla

7. GMC Sierra: 241,522 – down 3%

2022 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali Ultimate

8. Honda CR-V: 238,155 – down 34.1%

2023 Honda CR-V

9. Toyota Tacoma: 237,323 – down 6%

2022 Toyota Tacoma

10. Jeep Grand Cherokee: 223,345 – down 15.5%

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit 4xe