2019 Q1 Sales Overview
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Sunday April 7, 2019– 2019 Q1 Sales Overview – It should have come as no surprise that the sales results for the first quarter of 2019 were way off from the results of the forth quarter of 2018 as the first quarter has traditionally been the slowest quarter of the year for EV Sales. 2019 was no exception but sales for the quarter were still up by an estimated 5,869 vehicles from the first quarter of 2018.
The first quarter of 2019 saw total sales of 61,166 cars with over one third of those, 22,425, being the Tesla Model 3. Tesla actually made up a little over half of all electric cars sold in the US this year. Sales at Tesla so far this year have been impacted by two things. First they made a huge push to deliver as many vehicles as possible before the end of last year so that buyers would be able to take advantage of the full Federal Tax Credit, the second is that Tesla began delivering significant numbers of vehicles to Europe and China this year. It is estimated that at the end of March Tesla has about 10,000 cars in transit mostly headed to China.
Sales showed month over month improvements over the same month in 2018 for every month in the quarter but this was mostly driven by Tesla plus a larger selection of models from other manufacturers that are beginning to appear in dealerships.
Plug-in hybrids continue to sell well with both the Prius Prime and Honda Clarity PHEV leading the way. The Prius Prime outsold the Clarity PHEV in the quarter due to a sales surge in March, after narrowly loosing the first two months. Toyota Sold 4,148 plug-in hybrids in the quarter verses 3,716 Clarity PHEVs. The Kia Niro PHEV and the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV also continue to sell well although these both seem to be suffering from constrained inventory.
After a very shaky start to the year, Sales of the Chevy Bolt recovered in March crossing the 2,000 mark for the first time since November 2018. Sales of the Chevy Volt also did well in March which was unexpected given that the car has been discontinued. Things didn't go so well for the Nissan Leaf however with just 2,681 cars for the quarter. It appears that potential Leaf buyers are waiting for the arrival of the longer range Leaf which should be in dealerships this month. Buyers now appear to be looking for EVs with a range of 200+ miles and the older, shorter range EVs are starting to loose ground.
Besides the Volt, there are several other cars that have been discontinued recently and sales of the Ford C-Max Energi and Ford Focus EV have both disappeared this year. Ford is now left with only the ford Fusion Energi to sell. Ford only managed to sell 1,741 for the quarter which was a pretty poor showing. Ford is expected to begin selling a plug-in hybrid version of its popular escape SUV later this year, with a 25 mile all electric range, which I expect will sell well.
Sales of Fuel Cell Vehicles were also poor during the first quarter with Toyota selling 297 Mirai and Honda managing to sell just 14 Clarity FCEVs. Kia never reports on sales of the Tucson FCEV but sales are generally pretty low.
Sales of electric vehicles seem to be growing slowly and appear to be constrained mostly by a shortfall in supply. Tesla has indicated that it is still having problems filling orders in the US and with the low priced Model 3 now available this situation is likely to get worse. Still, it is nice to see a larger variety of plug-in cars arriving in dealerships.
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