Tesla Model 3 driving on a snowy road.  We see it from a front angle of three-quarters.  The car is elegant, in gloss black with black wheels and rims.More people bought an electric car in the third quarter than in the second quarter, even though quite a few people are considering buying one. Hybrids and plug-in hybrids are still gaining more serious traction from new car shoppers than electric vehicles (EVs).

The Kelley Blue Book Brand Quarterly Report is a consumer perception survey that also weaves into shopping behavior to determine how a brand or model stacks up with its industry competitors on the twelve primary factors of a consumer’s purchasing decision.

We publish three survey reports every quarter. One covers the affordable car market (where Toyota won in the third quarter). It covers the latest luxury car shoppers (BMW has taken the crown, while the number of people considering buying a Tesla has declined).

The third covers electrified vehicles — an auto industry term that includes electric vehicles, hybrids, hybrid electric vehicles and a few hydrogen fuel cell vehicles sold mostly in California.

Hybrid cars are still more popular than pure electric cars

In general, interest in electrified cars has remained steady for most of the year. Twenty-seven percent of shoppers looked at EV in the third quarter. That’s the same percentage as in the second quarter and just shy of the peak of 28% in the fourth quarter of 2021.

But hybrids and PHEVs bore the team, with 20% of all car shoppers considering buying a hybrid.

Interest in pure electric vehicles declined slightly in the third quarter – 11%, down from 12% in the previous quarter and 13% in the fourth quarter of 2021.

But those looking at an electric car were more inclined to stress it out in the last quarter. Electric vehicle sales grew nearly 12% during the quarter, although overall vehicle sales remained mostly flat.

Electric vehicles have almost tied up hybrid cars in actual sales. Americans bought 205,682 purely battery cars in the last quarter and 206,072 hybrid cars. A year ago, in the third quarter of 2021, automakers sold more than 245,000 hybrids for 122,000 electric vehicles.

The numbers suggest that shoppers of electric vehicles may be a unique breed and pursue different shopping strategies than buyers of traditional hybrids or pure-combustion vehicles. They are more likely to know what they want, and look for fewer options. For example, fewer shoppers looked at buying a Tesla in the last quarter of last year. But the brand’s sales are still strong.

Toyota dominates the hybrid car market

Toyota continues to dominate the hybrid car market. During the first nine months of this year, Toyota accounted for nearly half of all hybrid vehicles sold in the United States. The Japanese automaker sold 100,000 hybrid cars last quarter. But it has been hit harder by the lack of inventory than any other major automaker — it probably would have sold a lot more if it had had it in stock.

Tesla still leads the way in electric cars

Tesla suffered from a decline in consumer interest, but it made so much progress in the electric car market that the decline did not threaten its dominance of the number one position. Its electric vehicle market share is dwindling as new players enter the field, but Tesla still dominates with a sector share of 64%. More importantly, Tesla is still the #1 selling luxury brand in the US, far ahead of Mercedes-Benz. Consumer interest and brand image may wane, but sales have never been stronger.

The Tesla Model S and Model Y dropped from the list of the 10 most shopped electrified cars, leaving only the Model 3.

Top 10 most considered electric vehicles:

  1. Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
  2. Honda CR-V Hybrid
  3. Tesla Model 3
  4. Toyota Highlander Hybrid
  5. Ford Maverick Hybrid
  6. Honda Accord Hybrid
  7. Toyota Camry Hybrid
  8. Ford F-150 Lightning
  9. Toyota Prius
  10. Chevrolet Bolt EV

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