’We’re Number Two!’ in EV Sales, Say Ford and Hyundai/Kia

Both automakers are telling the truth, but chasing Tesla is about to become quite a contest.

jim farley ford f150 lightning launch april 2022
  • How can Ford and Hyundai Group both be correct without an absolute tie? We tapped Wards Intelligence data to sort it out.
  • Ford says its all-electric F-150 Lightning and e-Transit van are bestsellers in their segments. Meanwhile, the Hyundai and Kia brands have popular EVs in the market, in addition to the recently launched Genesis G80 EV.
  • GM is in the hunt too, along with Volkswagen and Nissan. Meanwhile, Honda, Stellantis (Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram) and Toyota plan to launch EVs, all intended to eat into Tesla's burgeoning market share.

    Ford Motor Company and Hyundai Group both sell the second-greatest number of electric vehicles in the United States. Hyundai made that claim last month at its Georgia EV plant dedication, and then Ford said the same thing the next day at its third-quarter earnings call for financial analysts.

    How is that possible without an absolute tie? Which automaker is telling it straight? We tapped Wards Intelligence to find out.

    Through the first nine months of the year, Hyundai Group leads Ford Motor Company, then General Motors, for EV sales. Wards reports these US sales tallies:

    1. Tesla Motors* 333,900
    2. Hyundai/Kia 47,094
    3. Ford Motor 41,236
    4. General Motors 22,976

      But Ford, with no EV models yet from its Lincoln division, has been making gains. It was in second place for the third quarter—sales from June 1 to September 30, Wards’ numbers show:

      1. Tesla Motors* 112,500
      2. Ford Motor 18,275
      3. GM 15,156
      4. Hyundai/Kia 12,577

        (*Tesla does not break out numbers for any one region from its global sales, so Wards Intelligence’s figures are estimates.)

        If this pace keeps up for Ford, it could catch Hyundai Group for number-two in EV sales for all of the 2022 calendar year. According to Ford’s September and year-to-date US vehicle sales press release, EV deliveries tripled in September, compared to September 2021. It has sold 28,089 Mustang Mach-Es year-to-date—up from 18,855 for the first nine months of 2021—and well ahead of the Chevrolet Bolt EV/EUV’s 22,012 for this year so far.

        Ford says EV versions of its F-150, the Lightning, and of its Transit van, the e-Transit, are bestsellers in their segments. Lightning and e-Transit sales are new this year, and therein lies the tale: The race for second place behind Tesla will likely be shuffling between these and other automakers for years, as they scramble to add all-new models and build up green car portfolios.

        Hyundai has recently launched the Genesis G80 EV, and the handsome Ioniq 6 goes on sale in 2023.

        GM isn’t standing still, either, with the GMC Hummer and Cadillac Lyriq EVs recently hitting showroom floors as production ramps up (for the Lyriq, at least). Next year, GM will add a Chevrolet Equinox EV, with a base sticker price near $30,000, as well as a Blazer EV and a Silverado EV pickup truck to take on the Ford F-150 Lightning.

        2022 kia ev6 wind awd
        Kia EV6 is part of Hyundai Group’s all-electric sales.
        Tom Murphy

        Last month, CEO Mary Barra announced GM will ramp up Chevy Bolt production by 59%, from an expected 44,000 for all of this year to 70,000 units for calendar 2023. Apply that 59% increase to 2022 year-to-date numbers and the automaker’s EV year-to-date sales of the Bolt alone would boost GM to within 6,000 units of Ford’s third-place number for the first nine months.

        In their separate third-quarter financial earnings calls with Wall Street analysts, Ford CEO Jim Farley said his company is on track to sell 600,000 EVs worldwide by the end of 2023, while Barra told investment analysts in her call that due to the pandemic supply shortage, GM’s goal of 400,000 EVs in North America alone will slip past its original goal of December 31, 2023, into the first half of 2024.

        Volkswagen will add to its nascent all-electric ID line with a retro electric Microbus, and Nissan is about to up its EV game with the Ariya crossover, which will replace the iconic Leaf. Meanwhile, Honda, Stellantis (Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram) and even Toyota are working to quickly up their games in fully electric models.

        Which of these will eventually challenge Tesla for first place in US EV sales? Don’t count the disruptor-instigator of electric cars and trucks out just yet: When (if?) it finally begins delivering the Cybertruck, Tesla will be that much harder to catch.

        Do you see any other automakers (legacy or startups) outselling Tesla with EVs in the US? And if so, how soon? Please comment below.

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