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Hyundai Ioniq 5 outsells Ioniq 6 in US May report revealing SUV preference despite similar pricing, range

The Hyundai Ioniq 6's polarising design might have to do with why some buyers prefer the Ioniq 5 instead. (Image source: Hyundai)
The Hyundai Ioniq 6's polarising design might have to do with why some buyers prefer the Ioniq 5 instead. (Image source: Hyundai)
Hyundai has reported a record number of battery electric vehicle sales in May, with the Ioniq 5 seeing a 28% increase in monthly sales compared to last year, outpacing the rest of Hyundai's line-up that saw an average 20% increase in sales. The new Hyundai Ioniq 6 fell behind the Ioniq 5 considerably, reinforcing the US penchant for SUVs over sedans.

Hyundai USA has announced its May 2023 sales figures, and there are some interesting takeaways about electric vehicle sales hiding in the data. First off, the Korean brand's electric fleet outpaced the rest of its line-up in terms of growth, with hybrids and BEVs accounting for 19% of total sales volume for the month of May. The Ioniq EVs alone represented 4.9% of Hyundai's sales for May 2023.

Perhaps more interestingly, examining the Ioniq 5 and Ioniq 6 sales numbers reveals some quirks in human behaviour that contradict expectations. When it comes to electric vehicles, one of the most common discussion points is range and battery capacity. Given a choice between the Ioniq 5 and Ioniq 6, though, more buyers seem to have opted for the Ioniq 5, with 2,446 sales in May 2023, while Ioniq 6 only garnered 971 sales during the same period, despite having more range. 

Curiously, the Ioniq 5 has less range than the Ioniq 6 — only 20 miles in the SE Standard Range trim, but up to 58 miles in the RWD SE trims. Apart from the range differences, there's not all that much separating the Ioniq 5 and 6, other than vehicle dynamics and body type. The Ioniq 5 is a compact SUV, while the Ioniq 6 is a fastback sedan. The Ioniq 6 is also only US$150 more than the Ioniq 5, making cost a very small decision-making factor.

This penchant for SUVs and crossovers more or less aligns with previously-observed trends in US automotive sales, where crossover cars represent around 45% of total sales volume, while midsized cars only represent around 8% of sales.

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Julian van der Merwe, 2023-06- 2 (Update: 2023-06- 3)