Although U.S. sales declined for most automakers because of weather and parts disruptions, a growing number of electric vehicles reaching dealerships has begun helping the auto industry recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
EV sales rose 34 percent last month, according to Morgan Stanley, while overall sales for the seven automakers that reported February results declined 9.3 percent, according to the Automotive News Research & Data Center. The investment firm noted that battery- electrics accounted for 2.6 percent of the market last month compared with 1.8 percent a year earlier.
The growth is driven by automakers not named Tesla. Morgan Stanley said the Elon Musk-led company's share of the U.S. electric vehicle market fell 12 percentage points year over year to 69 percent in February, virtually all a result of the ramp-up of Ford Motor Co.'s new electric crossover, the Mustang Mach-E.
Ford said it sold 3,739 of the Mach-E in February, with each one lasting an average of just four days on dealer lots. When combined with a number of hybrids and plug-in hybrids, Ford said last month marked a company record for February electrified-vehicle sales, despite an overall 15 percent monthly sales decline.
The industry's seasonally adjusted, annualized selling rate for February came in at 15.9 million, according to Motor Intelligence, a healthy number considering the numerous production disruptions the industry has faced.Forecasting firm AutoPacific last week said it expects full-year sales of 15.7 million this year, 7.5 percent more than the 14.6 million vehicles sold in 2020. It projected that the rebound will be driven, in part, by increased EV sales, which it expects to grow by more than 40 percent to 375,000.