by Paul Leinert and Joseph White
(Reuters) – Ford Motor’s decision to put the brakes on a planned $3.5 billion battery plant in Michigan highlights a challenge for Tesla’s growing crowd of rivals in the U.S. market: Tesla is targeting most of them in unprofitable, low-volume areas. Pushing in.
Global automakers are launching new electric vehicles in droves in the United States, and pouring billions of dollars into new EV and battery plants. But apart from Tesla’s Model Y and Model 3, few of them are selling in sufficient volumes to support a full-scale assembly plant, according to a Reuters analysis of US EV sales data for the first six months of 2023.
On a brand-by-brand basis, Tesla outpaced its next 19 competitors by 10 to one or more during the first half, according to S&P Global Mobility data.
Tesla sold 325,291 vehicles in the United States from January to June. General Motors’ Chevrolet brand, with its older Bolt EV, was second at 34,943, behind Ford, Hyundai and Rivian.
By nameplate, all four of Tesla’s models placed in the top 12, with the Model Y and Model 3 taking the number one and two spots with first-half sales of 200,000 and 160,000, respectively.
In comparison, the Bolt sold 35,000 and Ford’s Mustang Mach E sold 13,600 – nowhere near enough to fill a typical assembly plant, which needs to operate at 80% capacity or more to be profitable. it occurs.
Electrified vehicle sales, including plug-in hybrid and fuel cell vehicles, will account for 8.9% of the U.S. market during the first half of 2023, up 2.6 percentage points from a year earlier, according to data compiled by the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, an industry body. is more. business group.
But according to the alliance’s latest quarterly report on the EV market, that market share was divided among 103 different models.
Ford’s decision to halt work on a $3.5 billion electric vehicle battery plant in Michigan comes as some analysts question whether the U.S. EV market will grow fast enough to support all the new battery and assembly operations being launched or under construction.
In July, Ford projected a full-year loss at its EV unit of $4.5 billion — 50% more than it had forecast earlier this year — and said it was slowing the pace of its EV production. Is.
Like many rivals, the American automaker has committed to spending billions of dollars to build additional EV and battery plants in the US.
In a media presentation on Tuesday, Cox Automotive said Tesla has given up some of the US EV sales this year as more entrants enter the market, but still accounts for about two-thirds of all EV sales. No other brand has more than 10%.
Cox estimated that EV sales would rise to 8% of total U.S. vehicle sales in the third quarter, up from about 6.5% a year earlier.
Some of that growth is likely driven by falling prices, a trend driven by Tesla which is using its improved profit margins to cut prices and expand sales. Cox said average EV retail prices fell to $53,376 in July 2023, from a high of nearly $70,000 a year earlier.
(Reporting by Joe White and Paul Leinert in Detroit; Editing by David Gregorio)