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GM overtakes Ford in U.S. EV sales, still trails Tesla

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GM auto sales top 20,000, on track for 50,000 EVs produced through June

DETROIT – General Motors pulled ahead of Ford Motor to become the country’s second best-seller of all-electric vehicles during the first quarter, trailing only industry leader Tesla.

GM on Monday said it sold 20,670 EVs during the first three months of the year. Ford, which was No. 2 last year, reported EV sales Tuesday of 10,866 over the same time frame.

Motor Intelligence reports Ford’s EV sales during the first quarter dropped its ranking in EV sales to fifth in the U.S. Hyundai Motor, including Kia, and Volkswagen pulled ahead of Ford in addition to GM, according to the auto industry data firm.

Ford’s drop in rankings and sales were largely due to production downtimes at two of its North American plants that produce electric vehicles. Sales of its Mustang Mach-E fell 19.7% during the quarter, as it retooled a factory in Mexico to double its production capacity to 210,000 of the EVs a year. Ford also lost about five production weeks of its F-150 Lightning pickup due to a battery fire, which led to factory downtown and a small recall.

GM still significantly trails Tesla in EV sales. Motor Intelligence estimates Tesla, which does not report sales by region, sold 161,630 EVs in the U.S. during the first quarter.

Both GM and Ford have said they plan to overtake Tesla in EV sales in the years ahead, however Elon Musk’s company is targeting significant expansion of its own EV production. Tesla previously said it expects to produce 20 million electric vehicles per year by 2030.

UAW Local 5960 member Kimberly Fuhr inspects a Chevrolet Bolt EV during vehicle production on Thursday, May 6, 2021, at the General Motors Orion Assembly Plant in Orion Township, Michigan.

Steve Fecht for Chevrolet

A majority of GM’s EV sales were from its Chevrolet Bolt models that start under $30,000. The cars feature older battery technology called Ultium than its newer, more expensive EVs such as the GMC Hummer and Cadillac Lyriq.

GM confirmed Monday that it expects to build 50,000 EVs in the first half of 2023 and “double that” in the second half of the year, as Lyriq production ramps up and shipments of the electric version of the Chevrolet Silverado pickup begin later this spring.

Ford is expanding production of its EVs as well, including plans, which it reconfirmed Tuesday, to expand production of the F-150 Lightning at a Michigan plant to an annual production run rate of 150,000 this year.

Ford has said it plans to achieve annual production capacity of 2 million EVs globally by 2026. GM has said it’ll hit that same threshold a year earlier.

– CNBC’s Phil LeBeau contributed to this report.

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