Tesla Cybertruck Is Outselling Rivian, but Ford Remains King

Tesla Cybertruck Is Outselling Rivian, but Ford Remains King photo
Tesla Cybertruck Is Outselling Rivian, but Ford Remains King photo

The story of electric pickups in the U.S. so far has seemingly been one of lukewarm success. Countless instances of production issues and shoddy design overall have plagued the Tesla Cybertruck, while the Ford F-150 Lightning's initially attractive price has swung up and down, and a production ramp-up for its foremost competitor, the Chevrolet Silverado EV, has already been pushed back amid lagging demand for EVs at large. The Rivian R1T seemed to be weathering the storm, but new registration data from S&P Global Mobility puts the Cybertruck ahead of the backsliding Rivian, while the F-150 Lightning outsold both rivals by a healthy margin.

Just a few months after its launch in November 2023, the Tesla Cybertruck had 1,158 registrations in March, according to Automotive News. Keep in mind that Cybertruck production is and was still ramping up then, so the number of registrations could shoot up as the summer gets going. As Auto News reports, U.S. registrations are all we have to gauge market performance, since Tesla doesn't separate sales figures into major markets.

The latest figures are nonetheless surprising to analysts who say the Cybertruck is outselling the Rivian R1T "by more than two to one." S&P's associate director of industry analysis, Tom Libby, tells Auto News he's frankly "...a little bit surprised. The Cybertruck is very, very unique, and it's interesting that it's been able to do that type of volume so quickly." Meanwhile, registrations of the Rivian R1T have dropped by 65 percent compared to the same time period last year for a total of 548 registrations in March of 2024.


It appears the polarizing design of the Cybertruck and its unconventional approach to the pickup segment have resonated with at least some portion of the market. The R1T, with its more traditional styling and practical design touches, seems to be losing momentum. It's also quite possible that Rivian's fully moved through its full slate of reservation holders for the R1T, and now we're observing the product's performance in a more mature market; the Cybertruck has, of course, only just hit the ground running. These days, Rivian seems to be prioritizing production of the R1S SUV over its pickup, which makes sense when you consider that the startup logged three-and-a-half times the registrations for its SUV as it did for the R1T in January.

Still, both the Cybertruck and the R1T remain in the shadow of the F-150 Lightning, which saw 2,893 registrations in March 2024 for nearly a threefold increase compared to March of last year. Despite what appears to be Lightning EVs piling up on dealer lots, registration figures indicate that Ford's EV full-sizer is exceeding onlookers' expectations as well as those of its rivals. That may have been spurred on by recent steep price cuts to the Lightning (of up to $15,000), although Rivian also slashed the price of the R1T earlier this year by more than $3,000 to little positive effect.

Of course, the Rivian still claims the highest cost of entry among the electric trucks mentioned so far. The R1T now starts at $71,700; the F-150 Lightning has a base price of $57,090; and the Cybertruck starts at $60,990. (In the Cybertruck's case, many of the models that have made it to buyers have been part of the Foundation Series, which cost over $100,000 when factoring in delivery.)

Lest we forget, the Chevrolet Silverado is also in the EV truck sandbox, and it carries a starting price of $74,900. The Silverado EV only had 319 registrations in March of this year, after having launched last summer. GM's other electric truck, the nearly $99,000 Hummer EV pickup, launched in late 2021 and claimed 192 registrations in March.

Zooming out from the month of March, the Ford F-150 Lightning had the most registrations for the first quarter of 2024 with a total of 8,589 models. That's an increase of 51 percent from Q1 of 2023, which, again, you might find surprising if you regularly drive by rows of Lightning trucks on dealer lots like I do in South Texas.

The Cybertruck saw 1,791 registrations in Q1, while the R1T saw a 56 percent decline year-over-year with 1,786 models registered. Woof. The Chevy Silverado saw 803 registrations in the "most recent quarter," per Auto News, and the Hummer EV pickup had 400. If you run the numbers, the Ford F-150 Lightning easily had more registrations than all other EV pickups mentioned here combined, which paints a more promising picture than many are telling.

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