May 25, 2022

The U.S. automaker’s sales in the first three months of the year could see the era of battery-electric vehicles coming sooner than expected. All-electric was the only brand to profit from sales.

Sales of electric vehicles grew in the first quarter of 2022 mainly due to the introduction of new nameplates. Meanwhile, industry-wide new car sales fell 15.3% to 2,516,236 units, according to Autodata Corp.

Notably, Tesla and Polestar reported strong sales growth in the US in the first quarter compared to the same period last year. Even Karma, an electric vehicle company that has struggled to gain momentum in recent years, sold 60 vehicles in the quarter, up from 14 a year earlier. BMW, the only exterior, posted modest growth due to increased demand for larger commercial vehicles and the recently updated 4 Series sports car.

Industry-wide sales data released on Friday showed all other brands saw double-digit declines in sales, with the exception of Hyundai and Kia, which saw single-digit declines. The hurdles the industry is facing include rising gas prices and a shortage of reserves given supply chain and production disruptions caused by COVID-19 and the Russian invasion of Ukraine that began on February 24.

The electrified portfolio of major automakers has become a bright spot in a struggling market. Ford, which said in March it would split the business into electric and gasoline-powered vehicles, reported a record 37.9% increase in electric vehicle sales in the first quarter from the same period last year.

Hyundai performed particularly well, selling 6,244 Ioniq 5 electric vehicles in the first quarter, up from 153 in the fourth quarter of 2021. Kia, which began selling the EV6 in the first quarter, said it has 5,281 electric vehicles in the US. Sold in the first quarter, according to Autodata. GM sold 99 of its new Hummer electric vehicles, up from one in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Sales of 800-pound Gorilla Tesla electric vehicles in the US rose 87.2% to 129,743 units compared to the same quarter last year. Tesla’s global sales for the quarter hit a new record despite shutting down its Gigafactory in Shanghai twice recently in March to comply with government orders to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. Consumer interest in electric vehicles has fueled all Tesla models, but the Model Y compact crossover has spearheaded the growth.

Polestar sales rose 1,179.7% to 1,510 units from 118 units sold by the company in the first quarter of last year, thanks to the introduction of the Polestar 2 luxury sedan.

Although EV production volumes are low and EV brands are ramping up production in their factories, the overall trend is indicative of a change in consumer demand.

Lucid and Rivian reported deliveries of 460 and 720 vehicles respectively in the first quarter of 2022.

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