It’s always tough for legacy companies to compete with up-and-comers in any industry, but the challenge is even greater in the auto industry. New vehicle models bring the most desirable features and styling, but now the entire industry is going electric, a shift that has brought new companies and products to market in record numbers. New data from S&P Global Mobility suggests that electric automakers like Tesla are stealing customers primarily from heavy-hitters in gas automobiles like Toyota and Honda. Both companies have lagged behind their rivals in electric vehicle development and sales, leading customers to seek those models elsewhere.
Though many EV makers are taking customers from the Japanese auto giants, Tesla, in particular, has benefitted from defections. In the 12 months ending in September 2022, more than 15 percent of Tesla’s new customers came from Toyota, and more than 13 percent came from Honda. S&P Global Mobility points out that customers also transitioned to the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Hyundai Ioniq5, and Chevrolet Bolt.
Tesla’s success with new customer conquest helped it remain on top of the EV market. Out of more than 525,000 EV registrations in the first nine months of this year, almost 340,000 were Teslas. The company’s vehicles accounted for more than half of new registrations, but the remaining portion was split between several other automakers.
The market is changing, but Tesla has so far enjoyed dominance in the EV market. That said, it has so far been unable to meet its promises to build more affordable vehicles, leaving the door open for others to fill the gap. General Motors promises several modestly priced models in the near future, and in the meantime, it offers the Chevrolet Bolt and Bolt EUV. The Hyundai Kona EV and Kia Niro EV provide great range, solid interior space, and fantastic prices.
On the luxury side of the market, Tesla faces intense competition from Rivian with its R1T pickup truck and R1S SUV. Lucid released the Air sedan late last with insane range and mind-bending performance, and Cadillac has a world-beating bespoke Celestiq EV that makes nearly everything else look cheap. It’s also important to remember that Tesla has two models, the Cybertruck and Roadster, that have been promised for years and have not yet made it to production.