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Tesla US Auto Market Share Tops Volkswagen, BMW, Suburu, & Mercedes

Have you noticed more Teslas on the roads these days? It’s not just your imagination. According to the latest automotive marketshare data from Cox Automotive and Kelly Blue Book (KBB), Tesla managed to hit 4.2% share of the overall light vehicle automotive market in the United States in 2023, with a 25.4% increase in vehicle sales over 2022. That lines up very closely with CleanTechnica’s own US auto industry sales report for 2023, which had Tesla at 4.3% of U.S. auto sales.

While Tesla’s market share within the EV (electric vehicle) market dropped from about 65% to 55% year over year, the overall EV market growth in the United States was so high that Tesla now has a higher market share than well established automotive brands including Mercedes-Benz (2.3%), BMW (2.5%), Suburu (4.1%), and even Volkswagen (4.1%).

GM, Toyota, and Ford continue to lead the top 3 automotive brands in the U.S., with 16.5%, 14.4% and 12.7% market share respectively. Of these, only GM managed a modest net gain in market share of 0.3% year over year and an impressive unit sales gain of 14.1% year over year. Toyota, a company that has so far missed the boat on the EV revolution, lost 5.3% of its previous share, dropping from 15.2% to 14.4% (a net drop of 0.8% in market share year over year).

The overall share of EVs in the light duty automotive market grew from 5.9% to 7.6% of the market. As the EV market grows, with larger manufacturers improving and diversifying their EV offerings, Tesla’s market share within the EV market will likely continue to fall. But this isn’t necessarily bad news. It means EVs are starting to take hold and displace the sales of ICE cars and trucks.

Will EV’s Impressive Growth Continue?

In 2023, a record 1,189,051 EVs were sold in the United States, of which 654,888 were Teslas. The Model Y earned the top spot with close to 395,000 units sold. This means one in every three EVs sold in the United States in 2023 was a Tesla Model Y. The Model 3 was the next most popular EV with roughly 221,000 units sold (18.6% of the total). Even the Model X cracked the top 10 list with over 23,000 units sold (2% of the total). Tesla sold more EVs in the United States in 2023 than all of its competitors combined.

If you look at monthly EV sales over time, since 2021, the growth trend is clear. 2023 was the first year that saw over 100,000 EV sales in an individual month, and it happened three times: in June, September and December.

Stephanie Valdez Streaty, director of Industry Insights at Cox Automotive, expects this growth to continue: “The momentum is strong for more when it comes to EVs — more new product, more incentives, more inventory, more leasing and more infrastructure — and that momentum is not going away. Transaction price parity between internal combustion vehicles and EVs looks more realistic in the coming years too, presenting good news for buyers who currently see EV pricing as out of reach. Our team forecasts that EV share of the total U.S. market will reach 10% in 2024.”

In terms of where EVs are enjoying the greatest popularity, there is a wide range of adoption, from 0.7% in South Dakota up to 21.1% in California. As one might guess, “blue states” with a more environmentally focused policies (and residents) tend to be higher on the adoption curve than “red states.” But as price parity with ICE cars is reached and the charging infrastructure continues to improve, we expect even states with low EV adoption will improve.

In 2023, six of the traditional automotive brands have built their EV portfolios up to 10% or more of their overall sales. These include Porsche, Volvo, Audi, Mercedes, Volkswagen, and BMW. Chevrolet current sits at 3.7% EV sales while Ford is slightly ahead at 3.8%. Toyota trails the pack, with EVs making up only 0.5% of its sales.