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8 automakers report increased 2023 sales, continue EV focus into 2024

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Market Trends
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Recent reports of Q4 2023 and total year sales show eight automakers saw increases, and reached several records despite inflationary pressures and supply chain issues.

Subaru said it saw 17 consecutive months of increased sales which included a 1.8% year-over-year (YoY) increase in December and a 13.6% calendar year increase.

The Subaru Outback was the most sold and increased 10% over 2022. The Solterra EV completed its first full year of sales with 8,872 vehicles sold.

In August, Subaru executives told investors during the OEM’s Q2 that it aims for battery electric vehicles (BEVs) to make up 50% of its total vehicle sales by 2030, which was 10% higher than its previous target, to compete not only in the automotive industry but others that are now involved in vehicle manufacturing. Subaru said reaching the goal would require reorganizing its production structure and beginning U.S. production of BEVs in 2027.

Despite Ford pulling back $12 billion on its electric vehicle (EV) sales goals after a $1.3 billion Q3 loss, the OEM says it finished the year with record sales during Q4, up 24% compared to Q3 and 18% for the year.

Ford attributed its Q4 sales growth to its EV pickup truck, the F-150 Lightning, and the electric Mustang Mach-E. Sales of the Lightning were up 74% during the quarter. Mach-E sales increased by 3% for the year, which was the best year of sales since it came to market in 2021.

“In a year of challenges, from a labor strike to supply issues, our amazing lineup of gas, electric, and hybrid vehicles and our fantastic dealers delivered solid growth and momentum,” said Jim Farley, Ford president and CEO. “We have the products that customers want. I am especially proud Ford remained the No. 2 EV brand in America and our next-gen, digitally advanced new EVs are on the way.”

Ford hybrid sales increased 55% during Q4 and 25% for the year.

General Motors reported a YoY sales increase of 14%. Chevrolet saw an increase of 6%, Cadillac 9%, Buick 61%, and GMC 9%. However, during Q4, Chevrolet, Cadillac, and GMC sales were down. GM attributed GMC’s 31% decrease to the impact the UAW strike had on commercial deliveries.

GM scaled back on its EV production and sales goals by Q3, including its 100,000 EV target for the second half of 2023 and a separate 400,000 EVs goal it hoped to meet by the first half of this year. However, the year ended with record combined sales of Bolt EVs and Bolt EUVs, which were up 63%. Hummer EV sales also increased 74% between Q3 and Q4.

BMW sales increased 9% YoY and 6% for the quarter. Combined sales of its four BEV models increased 65.4% during the quarter and made up 12.5% of sales for the year. Plug-in hybrid EVs made up 19.5% of sales for the year. MINI’s sales increased 13.5% for the year.

In October, the BMW Group said it had begun accelerating its e-mobility efforts and reliance on regional supply chains in line with its “local for local” principle to source components, like battery cells, close to vehicle production plants. It plans to gradually localize the supply chain for primary materials.

Honda reported that sales were up 33% for the year. Its electrified models set an all-time sales record with CR-V and Accord hybrids combining representing over one-quarter of Honda brand sales.

Honda’s goal is to work toward carbon neutrality by 2050 through continued product electrification, a “proactive approach” to increase the use of hydrogen as an energy carrier and expand its hydrogen business, according to the automaker early last year.

Honda plans to begin production of a fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV), based on the CR-V, this year. Sales will begin at 2,000 units per year and increase in stages, eventually reaching 60,000 units in 2030, Honda said.

Audi also hit a record — best-ever new car sales. Q4 was up 12% and 22% for the year.

“We’re proud to deliver Audi of America’s best year ever,” said Daniel Weissland, Audi of America president. “Demand for our premium BEV vehicles is stronger than ever, and our momentum will continue into 2024 as we grow our market share with exciting products and experiences.”

During Q4 2023, Audi opened a new vehicle safety center in Germany that it said would be its “most important development facility” in passive safety. The Audi Vehicle Safety Center is capable of performing tests that currently exceed safety requirements in many of the OEM’s markets, according to Audi.

Nissan sales increased 23.2% in 2023 and 5.6% during the quarter. The highest model sales increase for the year was the Rogue, up 45.6%. For the quarter, Kicks saw the highest increase at 71%.

In September, Nissan announced it plans to only sell EVs in Europe beginning in 2030. Its net neutrality goal is slated for 2050.

Toyota Motor North America (TMNA) sales for the year were up 6.6% and 15.4% for the quarter. TMNA Sales Executive Vice President Jack Hollis said Toyota is ramping up sales of 22 new, refreshed, or special edition vehicles this year, including more sedans and electrified options.

Toyota plans to have an EV option available for every U.S. Toyota and Lexus by the end of 2025. Twenty-six are currently available in between the Toyota and Lexus brands. EV sales accounted for 29.2% of TMNA’s total 2023 sales.

Toyota plans to triple its EV target by producing 600,000 per year beginning in 2025.

Volvo reported an all-time high global sales record of nearly 709,000 for 2023, which included a 15% increase over 2022. The record was the result of the OEM’s EV options and a more stabilized supply chain, Volvo said. Sales of fully electric vehicles increased by 70% over 2022, and plug-in hybrids by 10%.

U.S. sales for 2023 were nearly 129,000, a 26% YoY increase. Recharge cars accounted for 28% of the sales. The XC60 was the top-selling model with nearly 229,000 sold worldwide.

In December, Volvo announced it would use near-zero emission primary and recycled sheet steel in an upcoming car program to put “purchasing power behind emerging clean technologies that will support the shift to near-zero emission aluminum.”


Featured image credit: DragonImages/iStock

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