GM Inches Out Ford In EV Sales In 2023 — Charts

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GM was the leader of the US EV market among legacy automakers for several years.* Going back to the early days of this EV era, it all started with the Chevy Volt extended-range electric vehicle (a plug-in hybrid with a bigger-than-typical battery). The Chevy Bolt EV then came along and carried GM somewhat strongly into the full BEV era. Ford seemed to be sleeping at the wheel, with a very lame attempt at an EV called the Ford Focus Electric. Then, Ford got serious and created “Team Edison,” treating the internal group like a startup and giving the team the freedom to create great, exciting, compelling electric vehicles. They certainly nailed it, developing some of the best electric vehicles on the US market. However, GM has bounced back and just reclaimed its title. (*Of course, Tesla has long been the strongly dominant leader of the US EV market.)

On the back of the popular Ford Mustang Mach-E and Ford F-150 Lightning, and taking advantage of the Chevy Bolt EV needing to be kept off the market for a long period of time due to battery issues, Ford shot to the top of the US EV market last year among legacy automakers (but still far, far below reigning king Tesla). This year, we had a real competition between the giants of Detroit — Ford & GM. I was quite curious to see how it turned out.

Jumping to the chase, Ford ended the year with 72,608 full battery-electric vehicle (BEV) sales, while GM snatched back the title with just slightly more sales, 75,585 BEV sales. So, GM is again the king of EVs in Detroit, by a hair.

GM leads Ford in EV sales again.

While some other automakers get high praise for their EVs — and deservedly so — GM was in fact the second best seller of electric vehicles in the country in 2023, only trailing Tesla.

GM leads Ford in EV sales despite Ford having a stronger end to the year.

Notably, Ford sprinted through the finish line with a huge 4th quarter. The Ford F-150 Lightning had not broken 4,500 sales in any of the previous three quarters, but then it got 11,905 sales in the 4th quarter! The Ford Mustang Mach-E had a somewhat stronger 3rd quarter, but the 4th quarter was its second best quarter of the year, landing 11,889 sales. In the end, Ford had more than one third of its 2023 sales coming in the 4th quarter. What does that mean for 2024? Well, we don’t really know. Like the situation with XPeng and NIO, a strong 4th quarter could be the jumping off point for a strong beginning of 2024 and onward, or we could have a dip in sales in the 1st quarter of 2024 after that explosive end to 2023. The good news is the Ford F-150 Lightning still qualifies for the full $7,500 US EV tax credit. The bad news is that it seems the Mustang Mach-E probably won’t — unless Ford changes some things up with its battery supply chain. Stay tuned.

As for GM, the 1st quarter of 2023 was actually its best. Though, the 1st, 3rd, and 4th quarters were all very close. However, GM will definitely get a boost in 2024, as the Chevy Blazer EV and Chevy Silverado EV just landed and should be top sellers for the brand — at least, among EV models.

While we should celebrate GM and Ford being 2nd and 3rd in the US EV market, I also find the numbers quite disappointing. XPeng and NIO, young EV startups in China, had 140,000+ and 160,000+ sales in 2023, respectively. Ford and GM had just 72,000+ and 75,000+ in the US (we don’t yet know their global numbers). And those totals were a small percentage of the companies’ overall sales. These results leave a lot to be desired. Let’s hope for much better EV sales in 2024 and beyond!

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