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US electric-vehicle sales hit record high, Tesla loses market share - report

(Reuters) - Electric vehicle (EV) sales in the United States jumped to more than 300,000 for the first time in the third quarter, but industry leader Tesla's market share slipped to the lowest on record, a report by Cox Automotive showed on Thursday.

Tesla now dominates just half of the market, down from the 62% it held in the first quarter, despite a price war started by the Elon Musk-led company to solidify its foothold in the competitive EV arena.

However, the company could reverse the downward trend with the launch of its Cybertruck electric pickup truck, which is set to be delivered to customers in the current quarter, the market research firm said.

Playing catch-up, other automakers have been aggressively cutting prices to counter a tough demand environment triggered by high inflation and rising borrowing costs.

"Higher inventory levels, more product availability, and downward pricing pressure have helped spur continued linear growth of EV sales in the U.S. market," Cox said.

The price war started by Tesla has brought average EV prices down to $50,683 in September, down from $52,212 in the prior month, Cox added.

Total EV sales for the third quarter rose nearly 50% from a year ago, and accounted for a record 7.9% of total industry sales, the report showed.

Rivian Automotive handed over more cars in the third quarter than analysts expected, and reiterated its annual production target of 52,000 vehicles.

Tesla, meanwhile, missed market estimates for deliveries in the third quarter as planned upgrades at its factories to roll out a newer version of the Model 3 mass-market sedan forced production halts.

Industry analysis firm Canalys said earlier this month that while Tesla is dominant in the United States, there is an increasing demand for a wider range of EV options to satisfy the growing interest in electric vehicles.

(Reporting by Zaheer Kachwala in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath)

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