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EV sales were up for many automakers in May, but analysts warn of growing inventories

“The decline in shopping interest for EVs comes as the industry has reached an all-time high in EV availability,” one industry analyst said.
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The EV market continues to send mixed messages amid a turbulent period in the transition to battery-powered vehicles.

Several major automakers reported sales gains in May that were bolstered by strong EV and hybrid results, according to industry reports.

Hyundai Motor America reported a 12% YoY sales increase. Several of its electrified models had their best-ever May, including the all-electric Ioniq 5 and Ioniq 6 and hybrid versions of the Tucson and Santa Fe. Overall, the brand’s EV sales grew 42% over last May.

“We continue seeing great success in our eco-friendly lineup with an overall 50% increase YoY,” CEO Randy Parker said in a statement. “Both EVs and hybrids continue to gain popularity with Hyundai’s newest HEV, the 2024 Santa Fe, gaining 116% YoY and our award-winning Ioniq 5 family increasing 82%.”

Sister brand Kia reported its highest monthly EV sales ever, up 127% YoY, boosted by sales of the new EV9 three-row SUV.

American Honda cited “strong sales of electrified models” as one reason for its 11% YoY sales gain in May. Standouts included hybrid versions of the CR-V and Accord, and the new Prologue EV. Ford’s EV and hybrid sales were both up nearly 65% YoY.

Still, the EV market has been something of a mixed bag in recent months; it’s been a particularly rough stretch for market leader Tesla.

Matt Trommer, associate director at S&P Global Mobility, noted that EV inventory is growing faster than overall inventory levels.

Still, despite some expected “month-to-month volatility,” S&P analysts expect EV sales to continue to climb; they’re slated to grow to 7.6% of May sales. Analysts said that figure is expected to rise in the coming months with the introductions of new models like the Chevy Equinox EV, Fiat 500e, and Jeep Wagoneer S.

JD Power recently found that EV shopper consideration had dropped from the previous year for the first time since 2021.

“The decline in shopping interest for EVs comes as the industry has reached an all-time high in EV availability,” Elizabeth Krear, VP of JD Power’s EV practice, said. “EV retail share, while having some bright spots when it comes to certain models, is not growing at the same pace as EV availability. This is bringing aggressive conquest sales programs to the EV segment, so we’ll see if shoppers find them attractive enough.”

Keep up with the innovative tech transforming business

Tech Brew keeps business leaders up-to-date on the latest innovations, automation advances, policy shifts, and more, so they can make informed decisions about tech.