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Electric cars had a banner month in Norway in March, accounting for nearly 40% of sales. Conventional cars saw their share of the market fall to just over a third of sales. Is it a sign?


Electric Cars = 37% of New Car Sales in Norway in March

Electric cars had a banner month in Norway in March, accounting for nearly 40% of sales. Conventional cars saw their share of the market fall to just over a third of sales. Is it a sign?

March of 2018 was a good month for clean transportation in Norway. 14,401 new cars were registered in the country last month. As a group, their average carbon dioxide emissions were 63 grams per kilometer. Want to put that into perspective? Check this out. That’s 22 grams per kilometer lower than in March 2017. That’s an unbelievable drop in just one year. Think people don’t want to buy electric cars? Get a life.

Nissan LEAF electric cars

What accounts for such an enormous decrease? More electric, plug-in hybrid, and hybrid cars in the mix. Battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell cars accounted for 37.3% of all new registrations — 5,322 electrics and 4 hydrogen cars. The new Nissan LEAF was by far the runaway best seller for the month with 2,172 sold. Tesla was next with a total of 1,403 cars — 727 Model X SUVs and 676 Model S sedans.

Want to know what Norwegians aren’t buying many of these days? Diesels. Once the default choice with over 50% of the market, sales of cars with compression ignition engines fell to just 16% last month. That’s down from 25% a year ago. Gasoline powered cars had over 26% of the market last year at this time. Today, they are down to 20%.

New car sales in Norway are a harbinger of what is coming to the global auto industry as a whole. Take a look at the sales volume changes compared to a year ago. The numbers are enough to make executives at traditional car companies defenestrate.

  1. Nissan: 2.333 (+ 61.4%)
  2. Tesla: 1.403 (+ 40.6%)
  3. Volkswagen: 1.353 (- 20.5%)
  4. Volvo: 1.240 (+ 0.1%)
  5. BMW: 1.090 (- 13.7%)
  6. Toyota: 1.037 (- 28.4%)
  7. Mercedes Benz: 651 (- 44.4%)
  8. Skoda: 589 (- 12.7%)
  9. Mitsubishi: 575 (- 14.8%)
  10. Ford: 472 (- 20.8%)

Mercedes sales are down 44%? Yikes! Hello, is this Dieter Zetsche? Are you sitting down, Dieter? Your business is going straight into the toilet while you gavotte around the C Suite. Volkswagen at least has the eGolf in its showrooms but even that was not enough to save it from a 20% tumble in sales. And you guys want to save your precious diesels? Are you on crack? Want to know what cars people really don’t want to buy? Diesels. You guys are digging your own grave, one diesel car at a time.

The Last Hurrah is a book about the glory days of Irish politics in Boston. Long-time party boss Frank Skeffington is re-elected time after time, thanks to a well-oiled political machine liberally lubricated by whiskey. One election eve, he is seated at his usual table as the polling numbers are being posted. Out of the corner of his eye, he sees what no one else in the room does — the numbers from a district he usually carries handily are down. Frank knows it is an omen, the beginning of the end for his political career.

Norway is a small market. Ford makes more F-150s in a week than all the new cars Norwegians buy in a month. But just like that one small district in Frank Skeffington’s fiefdom, it is a harbinger, a sign of things to come. Those who ignore that signal do so at their peril. In the halls of power in the American car market, manufacturers are scurrying about trying to game the emissions rules process so they can sell more trucks and SUVs. They aren’t seeing the signs of the coming maelstrom, signs that are there for anyone to see who knows where to look. Unless they wake up and soon, they may be in the unemployment line in a very short time.

Related: Electric Car S-Curve Adoption By Country (Fun Chart!)

Hat tip to Leif Hansen

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Written By

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new."


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