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Ford claims to be number 2 in electric cars behind Tesla – but the gap is still large

Ford F-150 Lightning pickups sit on the production line at the Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center on April 26, 2022 in Dearborn, Michigan.

Bill Pugliano | Getty Images

DETROIT – Ford Motor said Friday that it has achieved CEO Jim Farley’s goal of becoming the second-best-selling electric vehicle automaker in the U.S.

The Detroit automaker, citing third-party industry data, topped Hyundai/Kia to reach the target. Tesla is still the industry leader by a large margin, but has lost market share as more electric cars enter the market.

Ford said the share of the electric car segment was 7.4% in November, up from 5.7% a year earlier.

The company reported sales of 53,752 all-electric vehicles in the US through November. Tesla, which does not break out domestic results, reported global deliveries of more than 908,000 electric cars through the third quarter.

Ford’s topping Hyundai comes after the South Korean automaker lost incentives that gave buyers of its electric cars tax credits of up to $7,500 under the Biden administration’s inflation-reduction law, which took effect in August. Vehicles such as Ford’s electric cars manufactured in North America still qualify for the honor.

Hyundai did not immediately respond for comment. Hyundai Motor Co. CEO Jaehoon “Jay” Chang, in an exclusive interview with CNBC, described the loss of incentives as worrisome and a “very challenging issue.”

Motor Intelligence confirmed that Ford topped Hyundai in EV sales through November. The automotive data firm reports that Hyundai sold 52,061 electric cars through November – 1,691 units less than Ford.

Tesla has long dominated sales of electric cars in the US. But with more EVs becoming available, S&P Global Mobility reported that the market share of new registered EVs in the US was 65% through the third quarter, down from 71% last year and 79% in 2020.

Holding on to the No. 2 spot — a goal Farley previously announced Ford would achieve by 2025 — could prove challenging. General Motors CEO Mary Barra has said the company plans to top Tesla in EV sales by mid-decade, as America’s largest automaker plans to significantly increase electric production in the coming years.

GM does not report monthly sales. Through the third quarter of this year, it reported sales of less than 23,000 electric cars.

Ford reported EV sales as part of its November results, which overall were down 7.8% from a year earlier. The company reported U.S. auto sales last month of 146,364 units — the second-worst total since June. Sales of electric cars increased from a year ago, when sales volume was very limited.

Ford, citing retail orders, said demand for the vehicles remains strong. It gave no reason for the November sales slump, but the company and other automakers continue to struggle through supply chain problems.

Sales of Ford’s profitable F-Series pickups were just 55,169 in November – down 8.7% from a year earlier. They are now reduced by 12.8% for the year following reported parts problems with the vehicles.

Sales of all Ford vehicles, including its luxury Lincoln brand, totaled less than 1.7 million units through November, down 2.7% from a year earlier.

– CNBC Phil LeBeau contributed to this report.

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