Ford threatens Hyundai for No. 2 in U.S. EV sales

Significant growth in U.S. electric vehicle sales helped drive Ford Motor Co.’s strong second-quarter performance and has the automaker within range of achieving CEO Jim Farley’s goal to be No. 2 behind Tesla Inc. ahead of schedule.

Ford in April, May and June nearly doubled its EV sales over the first quarter amid the launch of the F-150 Lightning full-size electric pickup. For the first half of the year, the automaker logged 22,979 EV sales, up 77 percent from a year earlier.

That ranks third in the U.S. behind Tesla and Hyundai Motor Group. The Hyundai, Kia and Genesis brands sold a combined 34,518 EVs through June, according to the company.

Analysts say Ford could overcome that 11,539-vehicle deficit if it continues ramping production of the Lightning and takes advantage of recently increased capacity at its Mustang Mach-E plant in Mexico.

“The only thing that could stop Ford would simply be production,” Ivan Drury, senior manager of insights at Edmunds, told Automotive News. “We know customers want them. If they can build as many as they need to, Ford should be able to take over.”

Ford’s early success comes, in part, from executives’ strategy to develop EVs in popular segments using already-familiar nameplates and to prioritize speed to market over waiting for a dedicated battery platform. The automaker has been overwhelmed by the demand and says a majority of buyers are new to Ford.

“Ford has really jumped into the forefront of people’s thinking about EVs,” Sam Abuelsamid, principal analyst at Guidehouse Insights, told Automotive News. “They’re suddenly starting to be taken really seriously, and they should be.”


Overcoming Hyundai’s lead would be no easy task.

The South Korea-based group also has new, price-competitive entries in popular segments. Drury says Edmunds data shows the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6 are drawing new customers and even conquesting from some luxury brands.

“They’re on a roll and are top picks for EV buyers right now,” Paul Waatti, manager of industry analysis at AutoPacific, told Automotive News. “Not to mention the Genesis GV60 that is starting to roll out with additional EV volumes for the group that will likely keep HMG safely ahead of the curve for the foreseeable future.”

While Waatti says Ford is unlikely to overcome the Hyundai group’s lead, Abuelsamid argued Ford could take advantage of the fact Hyundai is currently importing all of its EVs and prioritizing allocation for different markets.

“They’re only shipping as many EVs to North America as required to meet ZEV mandates in California and other states,” he said. “Basically everything else is going to Europe to meet much tougher CO2 emission standards.”

While Ford splits the North America-produced Mustang Mach-E between the U.S. and Europe, the majority have gone to its home market.


Farley said late last year that he expects Ford to be the No. 2 EV maker in the U.S. behind Tesla by the end of 2023, when it plans to have global EV production capacity of 600,000 vehicles annually.

Ford technically achieved that goal last year, although it likely would not have done so if General Motors hadn’t halted Chevrolet Bolt EV and EUV production following battery fire concerns.

Even if it can vault past Hyundai to win the No. 2 spot this year, GM could be poised to dash its hopes of fulfilling Farley’s goal in 2023.

Chevy is expected to begin building and selling the Silverado EV, Blazer EV and Equinox EV, all of which will likely be aimed at more mainstream shoppers than the luxury Cadillac Lyriq and GMC Hummer EV currently on sale. Chevy could also be helped by recent price cuts to the 2023 Bolt EV and EUV that could draw additional cost-conscious buyers.

“You’ll really start to see GM’s volumes start to pick up in the second half of 2023,” Abuelsamid said.

In addition to GM and Hyundai, pressure could come from other automakers such as Volkswagen.

“It’s not unrealistic that by the end of the year that Ford will be in that No. 2 slot,” he said. “Whether they can hold it is the big question.”


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