Tesla dominates EV, luxury segments; Ford, Kia, Hyundai top mainstream EV registrations

Ford topped new-vehicle registrations for electric vehicles among mainstream brands in the first four months of the year, followed closely by Kia and Hyundai.

But Tesla dominated the EV registration charts overall in the US and remained the top luxury automaker regardless of fuel type, according to new numbers from Experian.

California-based EV startups Rivian Automotive and Lucid Group continued to struggle with their production ramp-ups, according to the registration data, with just over 1,700 combined through April.

Ford’s 11,751 EV registrations came mostly from the Mustang Mach-E crossover at 10,740, along with 908 E-Transit vans and 103 of the new F-150 Lightning pickup, the four-month data showed. Ford EV registrations doubled from the same period the previous year.

New EV registrations for Kia came in at 11,483 in the January-April period, compared with just 1,549 in the year-earlier period. Kia’s EV6 compact crossover made up 7,303 of the total while its subcompact Niro EV came in at 4,180, according to Experian data.

The Hyundai brand, part of Hyundai Motor Group along with Kia, had 9,675 new registrations — 8,597 from the new Ioniq 5 compact crossover and the rest from the subcompact Kona electric crossover and the now-discontinued Ioniq electric hatchback.

Nissan had 5,980 new EV registrations through April, all from its Leaf compact hatchback. Volkswagen had 3,527 registrations, all from its ID4 compact crossover.

Chevrolet had 1,648 new registrations from its Bolt subcompact, according to the Experian numbers, an 88 percent decrease from the same period last year.

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Why Toyota’s Bob Carter, ‘passionate’ dealer champion, is retiring

At a personal level, Carter’s timing is understandable. He said he and Jane are expecting their first grandchild in November, and before that, they plan to head off to Bora Bora and the Galapagos Islands. They also plan to spend this summer traveling across Canada. “We’ve got a pretty packed schedule over the next four months,” said Carter, who will continue to make his home — and keep his garage — in Texas.

“There’s so much in this business that has changed and evolved, and that’s good, but there are a lot of key foundations that haven’t changed,” he said. “This business is really about only two things: It’s about product, and it’s about people. And a big part of my life has been the dealer organization and the retail organization.”

Jim Lentz, whom Carter succeeded, told Automotive News: “Bob has been a staunch dealer advocate, product and motorsports enthusiast and a passionate leader for 41 years with Toyota. His legacy is permanently etched into the cultural fabric of Toyota, and his philosophy of ‘people and products first’ remains as evergreen today as when he started in the business. I will be forever grateful for his role as a change agent, his commitment to the company and his support to help shape the future of Toyota and the industry.”

Carter, who began his career with Toyota as a warranty processor near his home in western Pennsylvania, said the “biggest differentiator of our brands is the relationship we have with

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Mercedes-Benz counts on EVs to lift it back to pre-COVID volumes

Mercedes-Benz expects electric vehicles to account for about half of its US sales by 2030, executives revealed at the brand’s national dealer meeting this month.

The German luxury marque is in the early days of an EV product offensive that will bring a handful of zero-emission models over the next year.

That effort will be critical to Mercedes’ aspirations of delivering about 350,000 vehicles in the US next year, according to a retailer who attended the event.

Mercedes aims to sell up to 45,000 EQ-branded electric vehicles in 2023, said the dealer, who asked not to be identified. Mercedes sold 357,729 vehicles, including vans, in 2019, before the pandemic and a global supply chain crisis kneecapped production industrywide.

Mercedes launched its all-electric EQ subbrand with the debut of a battery-powered S-Class sedan last fall. This year, the automaker will unleash three electric models in the US, including the EQB compact crossover, EQE midsize sedan and EQS large SUV.

Next year, the portfolio gets expanded with the arrival of the EQE midsize crossover.

The EQ lineup will be the cornerstone of a marketing push. Retailers viewed three EV-centric TV commercials at the meeting.

A second dealer who attended the event said Mercedes US marketing boss Drew Slaven told dealers that the brand’s national advertising for the next two years will focus “almost exclusively” on the electric product and technology.

Mercedes aims to take the fight to EV kingpin Tesla.

“The purpose of the campaign is to say, ‘Tesla, you had a

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