Shown above is the EQE, an electric car of Mercedes-Benz. The German brand saw the sales of its EVs shoot up in the United States and Korea this year. Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

German automakers more than triple sales in US

Mercedes-Benz and BMW more than tripled their sales of electric vehicles in the U.S. market over the first half of this year, according to the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association (KAMA) on July 24.

During the first six months of 2023, the KAMA noted that the U.S. battery EV market amounted to 530,182 units, up 59.2 percent from a year before.

The sales of Mercedes-Benz EVs shot up 469.7 percent year-on-year from 4,050 to 23,071. Those of BMW electric models also jumped 219.9 percent from 3,646 to 11,662.

Still, their market share was not so great at 4.4 percent and 2,2 percent, respectively, as Tesla Motors accounted for around 60 percent of the market with sales of 318,500 units.

Another major automaker with big growth in the EV market was General Motors, which shipped 36,322 units during the January-June period, up 364.5 percent from a year ago.

In the South Korean market, the KAMA said that Mercedes-Benz and BMW had also chalked up an abrupt increase in EV sales this year to nudge past perennial champion Tesla among imported brands.

The diversified lineup of the two German firms seemingly contributed much to their brisk sales in the global EV market.

For example, Mercedes-Benz sold just a single EV model of EQS early last year, but it jacked up the number to five in 2023 by introducing not only sedans but also utility vehicles.

Encouraged by the popularity of the iX and the i4 modes, BMW also newly brought about the i7.

However, observers point out that the two carmakers will not be able to threaten the market dominance of Tesla.

“Mercedes-Benz and BMW have improved much in the EV markets over the past year,” Daelim University automotive professor Kim Pil-soo said.

“Yet, their EVs are expensive premium models. They are not a match for Tesla in the mass market, and things are not likely to change in the near future.”

Hillary Lee studied literature in Seoul. Lee has big interests on various topics including IT, BT, business and finance. Lee can be reached at or 82-2-6956-6698.