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There are a few head-scratchers when looking at the sales numbers for Hyundai in the U.S. so far in 2023. It’s unsurprising which models are the best-sellers, but a couple of models are selling slowly despite significant investments in marketing and advertising for those cars.

Hyundai sales of EVs are slow

2023 Hyundai Ioniq 5 and 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 parked in front of a building.
2023 Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Ioniq 6 | Hyundai

Hyundai has been aggressively marketing the Ioniq 5 and Ioniq 6 EVs as steps toward electrification for the brand. Despite that, the figures are unimpressive.

So far in 2023, Hyundai has sold 8,059 Ioniq 5 SUVs and 1,112 Ioniq 6 sedans (per a recent Hyundai press release). This could partially be because of production issues, but those numbers aren’t even close to the brand’s top sellers.

The Ioniq 5 is about the same size as the Hyundai Tucson, which sold 64,846 units in the same period. The closest gas-powered model to the Ioniq 6 is the Sonata, which has sold 19,179 units so far in 2023.

Another alternative fuel vehicle in the Hyundai lineup is the California-only Hyundai Nexo. This hydrogen fuel cell SUV has sold 81 units so far this year, which is down 62% compared to last year. Nexo sales are in decline despite only having one competitor in hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, the Toyota Mirai.

This tells us that EVs simply aren’t as popular as gas-powered cars yet. The Ioniq 5 and Ioniq 6 make up about 3.5% of all Hyundai models sold in the U.S. so far in 2023. Hyundai Ioniq advertising includes a spot in an upcoming Spider-Man film and a commercial starring Kevin Bacon.

Look at any of Hyundai’s social media accounts, and you’ll notice a lot of posts about EVs. However, Hyundai can’t seem to generate a lot of excitement about electric cars in a way that translates to sales volume.

The Hyundai breadwinners

The hottest models in the Hyundai lineup aren’t very surprising. The aforementioned Tucson is in the lead, followed by the Elantra, having sold 45,709 units so far this year, and then the Santa Fe at 39,479 units. It’s also notable that Elantra numbers are up 40% compared to this time last year and Sonata numbers are up 96%.

The Ioniq 6 wasn’t available at this time in 2022, but we know that Ioniq 5 sales are actually down 10% this year compared to the first four months of 2022. Even the small Venue SUV and the quirky Santa Cruz pickup are more popular than the Ioniq 5.

Electric future?

Automakers and governments have a lot of confidence that an electric vehicle revolution is right around the corner. However, the numbers just aren’t pointing in that direction.

Despite tax incentives and aggressive advertising, people aren’t voting for EVs with their dollars just yet. The fact that over 96% of Hyundai models sold in the U.S. so far this year have had gas engines is evidence of that.

Time will tell what the electrified future of the car industry actually looks like, but the often shared prediction of 50% of new car volume being EVs by 2030 sounds pretty optimistic right now.


2023 Hyundai Ioniq 5 vs 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6: Range and Performance Compared