Hyundai Is Out-Selling Toyota In One Key Market. It’s Not Even Close

Key Takeaways

  • Hyundai EV sales outpace Toyota 3:1
  • Sales of the fast-charging IONIQ 5 continue to grow
  • Toyota’s only EV has yet to sell in big numbers, likely due to poor performance specs

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Last updated Apr 10, 2024

After bringing hybrids to the masses with the Prius over 20 years ago, Toyota resisted moving into full battery electric vehicles for as long as possible. One big competitor from Korea, however, is diving headfirst into EVs. Here’s how Hyundai is beating Toyota in one growing market segment, with the gap between the two continuing to widen.

Toyota’s bZ4X Slows to a Trickle

2024 Toyota bZ4X sales

Toyota is aiming for millions of EV sales in just six years’ time, but in 2024, the automaker has a VERY long way to go. After launching the Toyota bZ4X as the brand’s first fully-electric model in mid-2022, sales have failed to take off.

With a base MSRP of $43,070 and fully-loaded prices climbing to $53,000, prospective buyers expect few concessions with their car. But compared to the competition, the bZ4X’s range and charging speed leave much to be desired. Especially for $50,000 and no chance of a federal tax credit.

Toyota has struggled to sell over 1,000 copies of the bZ4X per month since its debut. EV market share numbers make this clear as day. For comparison, the Prius routinely logs between 4,000 and 5,000+ sales in any given month. Toyota is used to winning, but their electric offerings have come with challenges.

2024 Lexus RZ US sales total

Similarly, the Lexus RZ, which is powered by the same powertrain, hasn’t fared much better since launching in early 2023. Sales totaled 5,386 in all of 2023. Toyota and Lexus’ twin EVs were developed in partnership with Subaru, whose Solterra has also struggled to sell. In fact, there’s a 363-day supply of new Subaru Solterras on the market today, the fifth highest in the US market

However, not all electric vehicles are selling so poorly in 2024. To see an example of better times, we need look no further than rival Hyundai’s EV sales. 

Hyundai’s Success Proves Performance Matters to EV Buyers

Hyundai is out-selling Toyota 3:1 in one key market segment: electric vehicles. Using CarEdge Insights, we can see that 4,445 Hyundai IONIQ 5s and 2,517 Hyundai IONIQ 6s were sold in the past 45 days, as of mid April. Toyota’s sole EV, the bZ4X, totaled just 1,066 sales in the same period. The Lexus RZ tallied 912 sales.

Looking to the most recent official OEM data, here’s how EV sales have played out for the two competitors from 2022 through Q1 of 2024:

MakeModel2022 Total2023 TotalQ1 2024
HyundaiIONIQ 522,98233,9186,822
HyundaiIONIQ 6012,9993,646

What’s driving Hyundai’s success?

2024 Hyundai IONIQ 5

Sure, looks could play a part, but the driving force behind Hyundai’s EV success boils down to EV performance. Buyers spending over $40,000 on their first EV expect fast charging, long range, and an all-around special vehicle. Hyundai’s EVs check all of those boxes and more. 

Here’s how the IONIQ 5 compares to Toyota’s bZ4X for the 2024 model year:

MakeModelBase MSRPAverage Selling PriceEPA Range10-80% Charge Time
ToyotabZ4X$43,070$47,641222 - 252 miles30 - 35 min
HyundaiIONIQ 5$41,800$49,226220 - 303 miles18 minutes
HyundaiIONIQ 6$42,450$45,415270 - 361 miles18 minutes

But there’s more to the story than the above EV performance numbers. The bZ4X features additional quirks that complicate ownership for anyone who travels long distances by car. 

  • Although the bZ4X takes 30 minutes to charge from 10% to 80%, real-world tests show that it takes another 33 minutes just to charge from 80% to 90%. That matters if you need the extra driving range to make it to your destination. Trying to get to 100% state of charge in the bZ4X? Forget about it. That takes another hour. In Hyundai’s EVs, topping off from 80% to 90% takes another 10 minutes at most DC fast chargers, with the climb to 100% taking a similar amount of time.
  • An even bigger road trip hurdle: Toyota cautions on it’s own website that the bZ4X is subject to DC fast-charging limitations of various kinds. Toyota goes as far as to recommend against fast-charging more than two times per day. How does this translate to a cross-country road trip, where charging 5+ times may be required? Learn more from Toyota.

Toyota Goes All-In on Hybrids

2025 4Runner hybrid

Can you really blame them? In 2023, Toyota’s US hybrid sales climbed to new records. 2023 electrified vehicle sales of 565,800 represented 29 percent of Toyota’s sales. With recent announcements that all versions of the 2025 Camry will be hybrids, and even the redesigned 4Runner will be available as a hybrid, Toyota is moving further in that direction. Long live the Prius. 

But for those wanting a true EV, without the extra baggage of a combustion engine and the maintenance needs that come with it, Toyota is moving at a snail’s pace. Despite reiterating as recently as November that it plans to sell 3.5 million EVs annually by 2030, only one additional Toyota EV is slated to arrive anytime soon. That will be a three-row electric SUV expected to launch in 2025 at the earliest. The targeted competition? Kia’s EV9 and Hyundai’s IONIQ 7. 

As far as mainstream electric crossovers, Toyota fans will have to settle for the bZ4X for the foreseeable future.

Hyundai and Toyota: Two Different Game Plans

Hyundai and Toyota’s EV successes and failures highlight that in the EV market, charging, range, and overall value are paramount to buyers cross-shopping today’s electric offerings. But make no mistake: this is a story of differing priorities at the corporate level. 

As Hyundai continues to refine its EV offerings, Toyota continues to prioritize hybrid models. And if Toyota’s past sales are any indication, it could be a smart move for their overall business growth in North America. Hyundai, on the other hand, is driving full speed ahead into a fully-electric future. Which will ultimately come out on top? 2024’s sales numbers will shed light on that. 

Are you a bigger fan of Toyota’s hybrids, or Hyundai’s EVs? Let us know in the comments below.


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