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Europe’s Best-Selling Electric Car = Renault Zoe

The European EV market had approximately 30,000 registrations last month, down 11% over the same month last year. This sales slip, however, had to do with the incentives-derived sales rush of the last quarter of 2015.

The European EV market had approximately 30,000 registrations last month, down 11% over the same month last year. This sales slip, however, had to do with the incentives-derived sales rush of the last quarter of 2015.

Last month, though, the top spots were yet again influenced by the Dutch market sales peak:

#1 VW Passat GTE This Volkswagen midsize offering had a record result in December, with 3,310 registrations. The Netherlands absorbed 83% of all Passat GTE registrations (2,736), starving the usual bread-and-butter markets, like Sweden (150 units) and Norway (159 units). With the right mix of electric range, space, power, and price, the Passat GTE is a continuing success among company fleets across Europe.

#2 Renault Zoe Despite being one of those all-hands-on-deck months, as Renault was set to recover the YTD leadership from the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, registrations were down 9% year over year (YoY) to 2,867 registrations. This is largely because mass delivery of the 40 kWh version only happened in France, and late in the month, leaving dealerships with little inventory to sell. Because of this, the French hatchback had good performance at home (1,928 units, up 22% YoY), but disappointed elsewhere.

#3 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV As it ran to keep the YTD leadership, the Japanese SUV profited from a Dutch sales surge (1,065 registrations) in December to reach a sales peak of 2,393 units, but Mitsubishi ended the month in 3rd, as it failed to deliver in Norway (259 units, down 33% regarding the previous month) and the United Kingdom (440 units, down 35% YoY) their usual monthly Outlander fix. Were they unable to increase the production output?

#4 BMW i3 The German Stormtrooper hatchback continues to profit from the 33 kWh sales boost, this time with 1,819 units being delivered in the month. Besides the usual Norway, with 413 units, other markets where the Bimmer performed well were Germany (433 deliveries), the United Kingdom (250 units), and Switzerland (149).

#5 Mercedes C350e Despite not showing up a lot in top positions, the Mercedes midsize model is a consistent performer just outside the Top 5, and in December it profited from strong sales in The Netherlands and the United Kingdom, both above 500 units, to reach a near record performance of 1,622 registrations, proving that fleets and midsize managers are warming up to plug-ins, if nothing else, because of fiscal incentives. Now, whether or not they plug in their company cars at night is a whole different question. …

YTD Ranking – Renault Zoe Wins Model Trophy, BMW Manufacturer Trophy

After a really close race for the “Best Seller” title, with the deliveries delay of the 40 kWh Renault Zoe units artificially dragging down the Zoe performance, the Renault model finally managed to win its first Gold medal, after two Silvers and one Bronze, with 21,735 units registered in 2016 (422 of them being 2-seater LCVs — aka, vans), 417 units ahead of the two-time winner Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. The Outlander PHEV, despite seeing its sales drop 32% compared to 2015, still managed to give chills to Renault and leave the “Best Seller” title decision to the last week of December, when the Zoe deliveries really took off.

As expected, the Nissan LEAF ended the year in 3rd, with 18,827 registrations, up 21% YoY, being effectively its best year in Europe since it arrived in 2011 — all thanks to the 30 kWh battery in the first half of the year and heavy discounting later.

Below the podium, the VW Passat GTE jumped two positions to 5th place (just ahead of the Tesla Model S), while the Audi A3 e-Tron and Volvo V60 Plug-In profited from strong performances in Holland to climb one position each, respectively to #11 and #16.

Talking about climbers, the trend-setting #18 Audi Q7 e-Tron and #19 Tesla Model X earned a couple of positions in the ranking, with the Tesla model winning the “Rookie of the Year” award.

A hot item on the EV market today is the luxury SUV class. The Volvo XC90 T8 won this category, with almost 10,000 units, three times more sales than the 2015 winner had back then (Porsche Cayenne PHEV, 3,385 units). Interestingly, this year, four luxury SUVs (Volvo XC90, BMW X5, Audi Q7, and Tesla Model X) sold more than last year’s winner. Hot stuff indeed.

In the manufacturer ranking, BMW won its first manufacturer title, with 17% market share, leaving last year’s winner, Volkswagen, in 2nd place (15%), and Renault in 3rd, with 13% share. Nissan and Mitsubishi followed, both at 10%.

Interestingly, in 2015, BMW was only 6th, with 8% share. The reasons for this turnaround lie in BMW’s ever-expanding i-Performance PHEV lineup pumping out sales at full speed and the new 33 kWh version of the i3, which pulled sales of the RWD hatchback to record heights.

Europe December YTD
Audi A3 e-Tron 1,195 6,908
Audi Q7 e-Tron 1,183 3,883
BMW 225xe 860 5,915
BMW 330e 1,464 8,691
BMW i3 1,819 15,060
BMW i8 110 1,574
BMW X5 xDrive40e 382 5,309
StreetScooter Work 99 1,502
Citröen C-Zero 272 1,836
Kia Soul EV 338 4,417
Mercedes B250e 246 3,508
Mercedes C350e 1,622 10,125
Mercedes GLC350e 325 1,865
Mercedes GLE500e 97 1,355
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 2,393 21,318
Nissan e-NV200 325 3,614
Nissan Leaf 1,595 18,827
Peugeot iOn 135 1,894
Porsche Cayenne Plug-In 285 2,955
Renault Kangoo ZE 295 3,900
Renault Twizy 250 2,230
Renault Zoe 2,867 21,735
Tesla Model S 1,408 12,549
Tesla Model X 1,094 3,680
Volvo V60 PHEV 894 4,159
Volvo XC90 T8 1,298 9,469
VW e-Up! 322 2,557
VW e-Golf 302 6,657
VW Golf GTE 1,260 11,329
VW Passat GTE 3,310 13,110
Others 1,951 9,683
TOTAL 29,996 221,614

This article was also published on EV Obsession, the EV Sales blogspot, and our Electric Car Sales page.

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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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