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Ford tightens grip as No. 2 EV maker; Korean brands cool

Ford solidified its spot as the No. 2 EV brand behind Tesla in the first 10 months of the year, according to new-vehicle registration data from Experian, while Korean brands suffered a drop in market share following a change in the federal tax incentive.

Ford EV registrations totaled 44,219 through October for a 116 percent increase compared with the same period last year, Experian reported this week. That was good for a 7.3 percent market share, up 0.1 percent from last month.

Among the top 10 EV models, the Mustang Mach-E crossover was No. 3 in new registrations behind the Tesla Model Y and Model 3, according to Experian. Tesla’s Model X and Model S were No. 4 and No. 5, respectively.

For the U.S. light-vehicle industry as a whole, EV share rose to 5.3 percent in the January-October new-vehicle registration data, with 604,638 vehicles out of nearly 11.5 million total. For the same period last year, EVs had a 2.9 percent share.

As a brand, Kia was in third place with a 4.3 percent share through October on 25,911 new registrations. Hyundai was No. 4 with a 3.8 percent share on 23,210 new registrations. Corporate sibling Genesis had 0.2 percent share.

The Hyundai Motor Group’s combined EV share of 8.3 percent was down from 8.8 percent in the January-September period. Hyundai group vehicles lost access to the $7,500 federal tax rebate when President Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act in August, which excluded vehicles made outside of North America.

Hyundai earlier reported that sales of its top EV, the Ioniq 5 crossover, fell to 1,579 in October from 1,978 in July when it still qualified for the tax credit. Kia reported sales of its EV6 crossover fell to 1,186 in October from 1,716 in July. The Korean automakers reported further sales declines for the EV models in November.

Jose Muñoz, North American CEO for the Hyundai and Genesis brands, said last month that changes to federal EV incentive rules came as a surprise and a disappointment, since Hyundai Motor Group had already pledged to spend $10 billion in the U.S. for EV projects through 2025, including a new factory in Georgia.

“This was really disappointing for us,” Muñoz said at an Automotive News event in Los Angeles. “Here we are in August, and all of the sudden our cars don’t qualify.” The Hyundai group is in discussions with the Biden administration as government agencies work out the exact rules of the new incentive program, Muñoz added.

Other automakers are also lobbying to regain the EV incentives for vehicles made outside North America.

The EV tax incentives will get more complicated next year, since they also will be based on battery assembly and mineral sourcing. The rules also will come with price caps for vehicles and income limits for buyers. Tesla, which has exhausted its tax credits under the current rules, should qualify next year for some of its U.S.-made models.

In the 10-month Experian data, Tesla once again dominated the EV market with a 65 percent share based on 391,937 new registrations. That represented a 50 percent volume gain from the year-earlier period.

Because Tesla does not break out its global sales by region, registration data serves as a proxy to compare the EV maker with other automakers in the U.S. New-vehicle registration data lags behind official sales data by about five weeks.

Tesla also extended its lead among all luxury brands, regardless of fuel type. BMW was in second place with 267,151 new registrations and Mercedes-Benz was No. 3 with 227,375. Lexus was fourth with 225,235 and Audi was fifth with 151,354. Among the top luxe brands, only Tesla posted a gain in new registrations compared with same period last year.

Chevrolet and Rivian also made gains in the Experian registration data for individual models.

Chevrolet’s Bolt EUV rose to No. 7 in EV registrations through October from No. 8 a month earlier. The Bolt EUV traded places with Kia’s EV6.

Rivian’s R1T pickup was No. 10 in EV registrations through October, replacing the Nissan Leaf. The Hyundai Ioniq 5 maintained its No. 6 spot and Volkswagen’s ID4 crossover stayed at No. 9.

Other EV movers were BMW, Polestar and Lucid. BMW increased its new registrations to 8,524 through October from 973 a year earlier. Polestar nearly tripled to 7,576. EV startup Lucid had 2,571 registrations for its Air sedan compared with 9 last year.

Only a few automakers saw their EV registrations fall. Among them were: Nissan, with a 13 percent drop; Volkswagen, down 1.4 percent; Porsche, off 26 percent; and Jaguar, down 72 percent.

Toyota had 124 registrations of its bZ4X electric crossover in the 10-month period and Subaru had 122 for its Solterra, which is based on the bZ4X. Both vehicles were recalled earlier this year because of a risk that the wheels could come off.

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