U.S. Electric Vehicle Manufacturers Splitting into Dominant Brands and Lagging Rivals

Several prominent players in the EV market, including Kia and Rivian Automotive, have faced challenges in the beginning of this year due to issues in their supply chains, decreased demand, and the loss of the federal EV tax incentive as a result of stricter eligibility rules.

According to Experian, EV registrations experienced an overall growth of 72% in the January to April period, largely driven by Tesla with a 52% growth rate and a dominant 60.8% market share in the electric-car segment. The remaining 24 automakers split the rest of the EV market.

In total, there were 348,258 EV registrations during the four-month period, accounting for 7% of the light-vehicle market. This is an increase from the 4.4% market share observed in the same period of the previous year.

However, these gains are not evenly distributed, and some promising players in the EV industry continue to face supply chain and demand issues. Companies such as Nissan, Porsche, Cadillac, and Lucid Motors are among the stragglers in the EV market.

“There are several factors working against EV sales at the moment, including interest rates, inflation, the loss of incentives for many imported brands, and a general economic uncertainty,” explained Karl Brauer, executive analyst at iSeeCars.

While some EVs, such as the sub-$30,000 Chevrolet Bolt and Tesla’s discounted Model 3 sedan and Model Y crossover, offer great value, more expensive electric vehicles and mainstream models that do not qualify for EV incentives are facing challenges, added Brauer.

“Compared to three to six months ago, every other EV is dealing with a more difficult buying climate. Electric cars are still a new and relatively expensive option for most car shoppers,” Brauer noted.

Registration data for the first four months of the year shows that Rivian averaged slightly over 2,300 units per month for its highly acclaimed R1T pickup and R1S crossover combined. Rivian has set a production target of 50,000 vehicles this year, including delivery vans produced for Amazon.

In May, Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe stated that the production ramp-up of R1 vehicles from the company’s factory in Normal, Illinois is accelerating to meet the current backlog of orders. Rivian has faced manufacturing challenges since the launch of the plant in 2021, partly due to supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic.

“We are continuing to increase our production. This is a top priority for us,” said Scaringe. “You will see more and more units being produced quarter over quarter, and along with that, the business will steadily progress towards profitability,” he added in response to user questions on Instagram.

In an email, Rivian stated that it does not comment on production and delivery matters outside of its quarterly reports. The company’s stock price has declined by about 50% in the past year.

Rivian recently held a one-day sales event at its factory on June 17 to reduce inventory of certain R1T configurations, as reported by Crain’s Chicago Business, an affiliate of Automotive News.

 

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