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Ford claims No. 2 spot in EVs behind Tesla – but gap remains wide

Ford F-150 Lightning pickup trucks sit on the production line at the Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center on April 26, 2022 in Dearborn, Michigan.
Bill Pugliano | Getty Images

DETROIT – Ford Motor said Friday that it has achieved CEO Jim Farley’s goal of becoming the second best-selling automaker of electric vehicles in the U.S.

The Detroit automaker, citing third-party industry data, narrowly topped Hyundai/Kia to hit the goal. Tesla remains the industry leader by a wide margin, but has been losing market share as more EVs enter the market.

Ford said its share of the electric vehicle segment was 7.4% through November, up from 5.7% a year earlier.

The company reported sales of 53,752 all-electric vehicles in the U.S. through November. Tesla, which does not break out domestic results, reported global deliveries of more than 908,000 EVs through the third quarter.

Ford topping Hyundai comes after the South Korean automaker lost incentives that gave buyers of its EVs tax credits of up to $7,500 under the Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act, which took effect in August. Vehicles such as Ford’s EVs that are produced in North America still qualify for the credit.

Hyundai did not immediately respond for comment. Hyundai Motor CEO Jaehoon “Jay” Chang, in an exclusive interview with CNBC, described the loss of incentives as concerning and a “very challenging issue.”

Motor Intelligence confirmed Ford topped Hyundai in EV sales through November. The automotive data firm reports Hyundai sold 52,061 EVs through November – 1,691 units less than Ford.

Tesla has long-dominated U.S. EV sales. But with more EVs becoming available, S&P Global Mobility reported its market share of new registered electric vehicles in the U.S. stood at 65% through the third quarter, down from 71% last year and 79% in 2020.

Holding onto the No. 2 spot − a goal Farley previously announced Ford would achieve by 2023 − may prove challenging. General Motors CEO Mary Barra has said the company plans to top Tesla in EV sales by mid-decade, as America’s largest automaker plans to significantly step up EV production in the coming years.

GM does not report monthly sales. Through the third quarter of this year, it reported sales of less than 23,000 EVs.

Ford reported its EV sales as part of its November results, which overall were down 7.8% from a year earlier. The company reported U.S. vehicle sales last month of 146,364 units – its second-worst overall total since June. Its EV sales were up from a year ago, when sales volume was very limited.

Ford, citing retail orders, said demand for its vehicles remains strong. It did not give a reason for the November sales declines, but the company and other automakers continue to battle through supply chain problems.

Sales of Ford’s profitable F-Series pickups were only 55,169 in November – off 8.7% from a year earlier. They are now off 12.8% for the year following reported parts problems with the vehicles.

Sales of all Ford’s vehicles, including its luxury Lincoln brand, totaled less than 1.7 million units through November, a 2.7% decrease from a year earlier.

– CNBC’s Phil LeBeau contributed to this report.

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