How low can you go: Tesla's US market share dips below 50% for the first time

Electric car sales break records, but Elon's luster is tarnished

US sales of electric vehicles hit a new record in the second quarter of 2024, no thanks to Tesla, which saw its market share drop below 50 percent of total US electric vehicle sales for the first time in its history. 

Cox Automotive said in a preview of its Q2 2024 electric auto sales report that Tesla's sales in the second quarter of 2024 fell to 49.7 percent of all US EV sales. That's a decline of 6.3 percent for Tesla sales, Cox said, while overall EV sales rose 11.3 percent compared to a year ago. 

A total of 330,463 EVs were sold in Q2, "higher than the record set in Q4 2023 and a solid increase from Q1," Cox added. In other words, it was a great recovery quarter for EV sales, which rose to 8 percent of total automotive sales in the US in Q2, up from 7.1 percent in Q1 and 7.2 percent this time last year. 

Tesla, on the other hand, isn't doing as well, and the internet is having a field day. 

"EV sales exceeded expectations during a record-breaking quarter," said Cox's industry insights director Stephanie Valdez Streaty. "While Tesla's sales continue to decline, with its share of EV sales now below 50 percent for the first time, the overall electric vehicle competitive landscape intensifies further." 

Much of the growth in electric vehicle sales is due to new kit from General Motors, Cox said, with additional strong showings from Ford, Hyundai and Kia. Sales of EVs from luxury European brands like Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, and Volvo declined as well, suggesting that yet again many early EV adopters were those willing to spend lots of cash on a premium ride, while future buyers may be looking for something more affordable, or are waiting for improvements in charging infrastructure. 

A recent study on EV adoption from Cox reiterates those points and predicts US car buyers are keen on electric tech. 

Increased competition "is leading to continued price pressure, helping push EV adoption slowly higher," she opined. "Automakers that deliver the right product, at the right price, and offer an excellent consumer experience will lead the way in adoption." 

And it's not like Tesla is known for stellar customer service

2024 hasn't been a great one for Tesla, which has seen worsening sales declines, an arson attack, mass layoffs, fallout from the Cybertruck launch and more lawsuits than you can shake a stick at - and all that's before the troubles owner Elon Musk has caused for the company. 

Musk pay-package antics, his continued courting of controversy on X and his overall public persona haven't done Tesla any favors. 

Cox Q1 EV sales data confirmed a small sales decline in the first three months of 2024 - the first EV sales dip since 2020. Sales still rose by 15 percent, but that's still a year-to-year decrease, Cox said. Take Tesla out of the mix, however, and EV sales actually rose by 33 percent in Q1. 

"Yes, the dip in Q1 was driven by Tesla," Valdez Streaty told The Register in an emailed statement. "As with any new technology, the pace of adoption varies and experiences acceleration and slow downs – and EVs are no exception."

Tesla commanded 55 percent of the US EV market in 2023, according to Cox - a 10 percent decline compared to 2022. With it now below 50 percent of the market Tesla still sells nearly as many vehicles as the entire rest of the US EV industry combined.

It's not clear how far that market share could dip in coming years as EV buyers begin to migrate away from startups toward companies with established histories. Rivian car owners have found this out the hard way. 

Tesla, which plans to announce its full Q2 numbers later this month, hasn't responded to questions. ®

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