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13% Of New Car Sales In Europe Electric (21% Plugins)

For the first time since June 2021, the overall European car market grew YoY. It was only by 3%, but it signals that the worst of the production constraints might be over. Although, with an energy-derived recession looming on the horizon, this uptick might not last for long….

Looking at the plugin vehicle market in particular, things are also better. After two consecutive months of falling sales, the market was back in the black in August. Approximately 159,000 plugin vehicles were registered in August, 2% growth compared the same month of 2021. Looking closer, plugin hybrids continued to fall, but the 10% dip was the smallest since last February, so it seems plugin hybrids might stop the bleeding by year end. At the same time, BEVs managed to maintain their two-digit growth rates last month, with 12% growth. That’s down from the yearly average growth rate of 28%, but it’s a whole lot better than everything around it.

Last month’s plugin vehicle share of the overall European auto market was 21% (13% full electrics/BEVs), keeping the 2022 plugin vehicle (PEV) share at 20% (12% for BEVs alone).

A highlight last month was the Tesla Model Y taking the leadership position. The Fiat 500e tumbled to fourth, while the VW ID.4 and Skoda Enyaq kept their podium positions.

Let’s look closer at August’s top 5 plugin vehicles in Europe.

#1 Tesla Model Y — After a short absence, the youngest family member of the Tesla family returned to the monthly leadership position. The US EV got 7,011 registrations in August, its best off-peak month so far, preluding another record month in September. And while it shouldn’t be enough to beat its older sibling’s record of 27,149 deliveries, set by the Model 3 last December, one can most certainly expect something above 20,000 units will be posted next month. With Giga Berlin still ramping up production, expect the crossover to continue improving its deliveries throughout Q4. The Model 3’s record result could indeed be up for grabs next December. Regarding August, Europe’s best selling EV shined in its borrowed home of Germany, with a massive 4,216 registrations, which could mean that next month the Tesla Model Y could be September’s best selling car in Germany, fossil fuel models included! Elsewhere, the Model Y’s performances were much less exuberant, with France having 702 registrations and Norway being the third biggest market with 342 units being delivered there.

#2 Volkswagen ID.4 — The star of Volkswagen Group ended the month again in the runner-up spot. The German crossover got 5,796 registrations, a new year best. This performance is especially significant when we remember that it was in one of the slowest months of the year. With its production constraints mostly surpassed and the USA allocation now being produced locally, expect a higher production output for the European ID.4. It should become a familiar face on the podium here. Regarding August deliveries, the Volkswagen EV had its best score in Norway (1,483 units) and Germany (1,301 units), followed by Sweden (654 units) and Ireland, where the ID.4 is becoming something of a phenomenon, having been the #1 model in August on the overall market!

#3 Skoda Enyaq — Possibly the most competitive model coming from the MEB platform, the Czech crossover once again appeared in the top 5 last month, this time with 4,669 registrations. With the component-derived slowdown now mostly surpassed, expect the family-friendly Skoda to have a stronger second half of the year. More top 5 presences are certainly coming. Regarding August registrations, the understated EV had its best score in Germany (940 registrations), followed by Norway (726 registrations), Sweden (472), and the Netherlands (442).

#4 Fiat 500e — The little Italian took a break last month, scoring “just” 4,032 registrations. Still, expect the cute EV to recover in September, going back to 6,000-something units, a sales level needed to keep the increasingly stronger VW ID.4 below it, all while hoping that the #2 Tesla Model 3 underperforms in order to have a chance to compete for the runner-up spot (but more on that later). Last month, the 500e’s main markets were the usual — Germany (1,527 units) and France (1,325 units) in the lead, with its native Italy (360) also providing a significant contribution to the tally.

#5 Dacia Spring — Renault had high hopes for its low-cost EV, and although one cannot say it’s been a game changer, the Sino-Romanian EV earned its place in the market. It’s an honest, usable-range EV for more cost conscious buyers, proving that not everyone needs a hulking two-tonne SUV EV to do the daily errands. The small EV got a top 5 presence in August thanks to 3,784 registrations. With the Dacia model cruising at 3,000-something units, Renault seems happy with its results in Europe and is now focusing on launching it in Latin America, where it could be a disruptor in a number of markets. Regarding August deliveries, the CUV had its best score in Germany (1,447 registrations), followed by France (988 registrations) and Dacia’s native Romania (544 registrations).

Looking at the rest of the August table, the Volkswagen ID.3 is also picking up pace. It ended the month in 6th, with 3,694 registrations, while its Spanish sibling, the sporty Cupra Born, continued to impress and finished August in 9th. Interestingly, with the Audi Q4 e-tron ending the month in 10th, there were 5 MEB-platform model among the 10 best selling models of August, signaling that the German conglomerate’s EV deployment is back on track and ready to consolidate its leadership role in Europe.

In the second half of the table, the #12 Mini Cooper EV was the only BMW Group model on the table, once again highlighting that with the retirement of the BMW i3, the German conglomerate is missing a star player. Hyundai–Kia once again had a positive month, placing 5 models in the top 20, as much as the all-mighty Volkswagen Group.

The 11-year-old Nissan LEAF managed to reach a top 20 presence, this time in #19, thanks to 2,250 registrations. This was its best score since last March, proving the old geezer veteran model still has some charge running through its veins/cables.

Below the top 20, the big news is the production ramp-up of the VW ID.5, the sportier twin of the more family-friendly VW ID.4. The sporty crossover scored 1,866 registrations in August, its fourth record score in a row, signaling that the increased component availability for the Volkswagen stable is finally allowing the ID.5 to pursue its delivery ramp-up. It could join the top 20 as soon as next month. By the way: When will we see the ID.5 being launched in China?…

Underlining the better days at the Volkswagen plants, even the Volkswagen Tiguan PHEV had a great score. It registered 1,839 units, its best performance in 14 months.

The Audi e-tron saw 2,185 deliveries last month, losing out on a top 20 presence by just 56 units. It did keep its full size competition, namely the increasingly menacing BMW beaver iX, at bay.

But there was another model even closer to a top 20 position. The Opel Mokka EV ended the month with 2,227 registrations, only 14 units behind the #20 Hyundai Ioniq 5. So, Opel’s stylish crossover could return to the table soon.

Finally, the Kia Niro EV is going through a generational change, having scored just 1,938 units last month (both generations counted). Expect the compact crossover to return soon to its peak form. Although, one wonders how buyers will respond to the fact that the Niro changed from being one of the blandest crossovers on the market to become one of the most individual designs out there. If the current success of the striking Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage are anything to go by, then Kia might have (another) winner on its hands.

Looking at the 2022 ranking, the top positions remained the same, but the Fiat 500e came even closer to the runner-up Tesla Model 3, so Tesla’s possible #1 and #2 finish in Europe could be in danger.

Sure, the odds are against the Italian EV, and the Tesla Model 3 should gain significant ground in September, but with the Fiat EV being a model of consistency and the Tesla Model 3 far from its best days (currently its sales are down 43% YoY, no doubt hurt by the Model Y’s internal competition), the race for 2nd place could become interesting. But for that scenario to happen, the Tesla Model 3 would need to stumble even more, and while that’s not something completely off the table, it’s not likely.

If all goes according to logic, the Fiat 500e will repeat its past performances in the remainder of the year and end 2022 with around 69,000 registrations, all while the Tesla Model 3 sells about half of what it did by year end. That would be in line with the current 43% drop. This forecast would have the Model 3 ending the year with some 76,000 units.

On the other hand, the Fiat EV needs to keep an eye on the #4 Volkswagen ID.4. While the 8,000-unit advantage is significant, the truth is that the German crossover is ramping up production. With a several-month-long waiting list, expect it to continue ramping up throughout the rest of the year, probably ending the year at 64,000 units. And with just a 5,000-unit difference, the Italian model is not safe from a possible stunt (as in, massive pre-registrations) from the German make in the last couple of weeks of the year.

So, best case scenario, the Fiat 500e can aspire to the silver medal and break Tesla’s #1 plus #2 finish. Worst case scenario, it can be kicked off of the podium. Bring on the popcorn….

Still in the first half of the table, the Climber of the Month was the Dacia Spring, jumping three positions to #8 and becoming the best selling EV from the Renault–Nissan Alliance. Meanwhile, the Ford Kuga PHEV and Hyundai Kona EV climbed one position each, to #7 and #9, respectively, all due to the horrific month of the Renault Zoe, which had fewer than 1,500 registrations last month, its worst performance in five years! A one-time thing? Or are wrinkles, combined with internal competition from the fancier Renault Megane EV, making the French hatchback crumble? To be continued….

Elsewhere, the hot hatch MINI Cooper EV was up two positions, to #17, and is now looking to surpass the #15 BMW 330e in order to become BMW Group’s best seller. That would be a small feat for a somewhat niche model that has only a year and a half of life to go (a new MINI Cooper EV is coming in 2024). Another PHEV model facing serious headwinds due to the current BEV takeover (61% BEVs in August vs 58% YTD) is the #20 Volvo XC40 PHEV. It is the prime candidate to have its place in the table taken by some on trend BEV, like the #21 Opel Corsa EV, which is fewer than 600 units behind it. If that happens, we’ll soon have a top 20 with only 3 PHEV representatives.

In the automaker ranking, BMW (9.1%, down from 9.2%) and Mercedes (8.2%, up from 8.1%) have hung onto the top two positions. But they have seen the competition get closer to their top two spots, especially a rising #3 Volkswagen (7.4%, up considerably from 6.9% in July and 6.4% in June). Volkswagen is looking to regain its leadership position in Europe by the end of the year.

Tesla (6.7%, down from 6.8%) remained in 4th and Kia stayed in 5th, with 6.3% share, followed by Audi (5.8%) and Peugeot (5.6%).

Overall, this is a very balanced EV market, as proven by the fact that leader BMW has only 9.1% share.

Looking at where the market was a year ago, the big difference is the fact that Volkswagen was a comfortable leader, with 11% share, while now it is in 3rd place and in recovery mode, highlighting just how horrible the first half of the year was for the German make.

Arranging things by automotive group, Volkswagen Group is in first place with 20% share, up from 19.4% in July (and 17.4% in April). It looks like the dog days are over for the German conglomerate. Expect it to end the year hovering around 21–22% share, thus defending its title from last year.

Stellantis is in a comfortable second place (now at 16.3%, down from 16.7% in July). It seems the multinational conglomerate has reached its potential as a comfortable runner-up to #1 Volkswagen Group, something that incidentally (or not) is also its role in the overall market.

The current bronze medalist, Hyundai–Kia (11.6%) has kept #4 BMW Group (11.1%) at a safe distance, while Mercedes Group (9.2%, up from 9.1%) gained a bit more ground over the #6 Renault–Nissan–Mitsubishi Alliance (8.7%).

Looking at what was happening 12 months ago, leader Volkswagen had a full 5% extra share in August 2021, at 25%. Both Stellantis and Hyundai–Kia have earned significant share this year, with the Korean group being the biggest winner in that regard. Its share jumped from 8.9% in August 2021 to its current 11.6%. The 2% gain of Stellantis, from 14.3% to its current 16.3%, is also relevant, and proves that the plugin market is becoming more democratic and appealing to a wider range of buyers — instead of being overly focused on the more premium end of the market.

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Written By

Always interested in the auto industry, particularly in electric cars, Jose has been overviewed the sales evolution of plug-ins on the EV Sales blog, allowing him to gain an expert view on where EVs are right now and where they are headed in the future. The EV Sales blog has become a go-to source for people interested in electric car sales around the world. Extending that work and expertise, Jose is also market analyst on EV-Volumes and works with the European Alternative Fuels Observatory on EV sales matters.


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