Tesla is starting to lose market share among US buyers of electric vehicles, and Ford’s Mustang Mach-E appears to be the beneficiary.
Analysis by Morgan Stanley shows that Tesla’s share of the US EV market fell to 69% in February, down from 81% a year ago.
Tesla’s US sales are still climbing, according to this analysis, due to the increased appetite among US car buyers for electric vehicles. Morgan Stanley estimates that industrywide US EV sales rose 34% in February, compared to a year earlier, even as sales of traditional internal combustion engine vehicles fell by 5.4%, according to the analysis.
Tesla (TSLA) reports only global quarterly sales, not monthly or US sales as do many other automakers. Tesla (TSLA) likely enjoyed a 5.4% gain in US sales in February, according to Morgan Stanley’s analysis.
The new electric offerings from traditional automakers resulted in their combined US EV sales more than doubling to 9,527 vehicles. And Ford (F)’s Mach-E, which won SUV of the year honors this year and started deliveries in late January, accounted for 3,739 February sales, according to figures from Ford (F).
“Mach-E accounted for nearly 100% of the [Tesla] share loss,” said Adam Jonas, Morgan Stanley’s auto analyst, in a note earlier this week.
Other experts said they also believe that Tesla is losing some of its share of the EV market.
“We’ve been expecting this for a while,” said Michelle Krebs, senior analyst at AutoTrader. “Tesla was the only game in town. Now it’s not. We expect that Tesla sales will increase as the market increases, but there will also be stealing of Tesla’s market share.”
A spokesman for Ford would not comment directly on Morgan Stanley’s analysis. The company did say that 70% of the Mach-E buyers were new to Ford, making the car that much more valuable to the automaker. More than 20% of Mach-E sales came in California, where Tesla is particularly popular.
Tesla is facing competition from automakers such as Porsche, BMW, Audi and Jaguar for its luxury Model S sedan and Model X SUV, along with competition from Chevrolet, Hyundai, Kia, Volkswagen, Nissan and now Ford for its lower priced Model 3 sedan and Model Y SUV.
But the Model 3 and Model Y are now the mainstay of Tesla’s sales, accounting for about 90% of its global sales in the fourth quarter.
Tesla did not respond to a request for comment on the Morgan Stanley analysis.
Tesla has already fallen behind Volkswagen (VLKAF), the world’s No. 2 automaker, in sales of electric vehicles in many European markets, including Norway, where EVs now make up the majority of new vehicle sales.
And it is facing new competition from General Motors, which just debuted a compact SUV version of its US EV, the Chevrolet Bolt. The Bolt EUV will go on sale by early summer, along with a new version of the current Bolt hatchback. Both will be priced below the Model 3 and Model Y.
And this is just the start of a wave of new EVs promised by traditional automakers in the years ahead. Volvo announced this week it will offer only electric vehicles by 2030, while Ford said it will sell only electric passenger cars in Europe by 2030. GM said it expects to sell only emissions-free vehicles by 2035.
The aggressive targets on electric vehicles are driven both by tougher environmental regulations around the world as well as the growing appetite for EVs among buyers.
And although EVs are now more expensive to build than comparable gasoline-powered engines, improvements in economies of scale will likely lower the cost of parts, including the large batteries, making it less expensive and thus more profitable to build EVs. Electric vehicles have fewer moving parts and, according to an estimate from Ford, require 30% fewer hours of labor to assemble than traditional cars.