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Record Electric Car Sales Month In Germany, While Diesel Dives (March Electric Car Sales Report)

Electric vehicle fever has definitely caught on in Germany, with March coming in as a record month to echo France’s record month. Germany had over 6,700 electric car registrations last month, a 52% increase year over year (YoY). The plug-in vehicle share of the overall car market was 2%.

Electric vehicle fever has definitely caught on in Germany, with March coming in as a record month and echoing France’s record electric car sales month. Germany had over 6,700 electric car registrations last month, a 52% increase year over year (YoY). The plug-in vehicle share of the overall car market was 2%.

But more important than the plug-in niche are the seismic changes happening in the fuel mix of the mainstream market: diesel sales continue to sink (-25%!) YoY, to the benefit of all other fuels — regular gasoline-powered cars are up 9%, CNG cars are +519% (to 1,046 units), plug-in hybrids are +32%, and fully electric cars are +73%. The shift leaves diesel with a market share of only 31%, less than half of what regular gasoline cars have (64%). At this pace, diesel sales will be dead in das diesel Vaterland by 2021–2022. … Could someone imagine this four years ago?

Back to the plug-in vehicle market, the best selling model in March was the VW e-Golf (534 units), stealing the best seller status from the Smart Fortwo ED (which landed only 5th, with 454 deliveries). The e-Golf was followed closely by the Renault Zoe (523 units, its best performance since June) and then the 3rd placed BMW i3 (scoring 459 registrations). The #4 Smart Forfour ED, with 457 deliveries, hit a new record and the 4-seater for the first time outsold its 2-seat sibling (barely).

Some people still don’t believe in fully electric cars … but this was a strong showing for the top 5 EVs on the German market.

Model Sales  
1 Volkswagen e-Golf 534
2 Renault Zoe 523
3 BMW i3 459
4 Smart Forfour ED 457
5 Smart Fortwo ED 454

In a traditionally fragmented market, the year-to-date leader, the Smart Fortwo ED, lost precious ground to its followers, but without immediate podium changes.

The most relevant changes were the Kia Soul EV climbing two positions to 5th Place and the Smart Forfour ED jumped three positions to 6th, thus creating a fully electric top 6.

The best selling PHEV title also changed hands, with the BMW 225xe Active Tourer (404 deliveries, its best result in 6 months) beating the VW PHEVs and stealing the scepter.

Close to the top 10 is the hot-selling Porsche Panamera PHEV, rising once again, this time to #11, and confirming that buyers enjoy “electricity” and “Porsche” in the same sentence…

The Mercedes E350e once again had a record performance, with 258 registrations, jumping three positions to #12. The new LEAF landed with 346 units, the nameplate’s best result in three years, allowing it to jump to #18.

“What about Tesla?” — you might ask.

Well, the Model S scored 304 deliveries last month, the nameplate’s best result in a year, jumping into #13. As for the Model X, deliveries are markedly slower, having delivered only 124 units in March, still the nameplate’s best performance in 9 months.

In the manufacturer ranking, Volkswagen is in the lead, with 19% share (down 1 percentage point), while last year’s winner, BMW, climbed to 2nd place, with 16% share (up 2%), surpassing Smart (15%, down 1 percentage point).

Regarding the BEV/PHEV share, BEVs are now ahead in the race. Let’s hope this time it will be for good.

Germany March YTD Market Share
1 Smart Fortwo ED 454 1,693 10%
2 VW e-Golf 534 1,449 8%
3 Renault Zoe 523 1,297 7%
4 BMW i3 459 1,129 6%
5 Kia Soul EV 396 947 5%
6 Smart Forfour ED 457 883 5%
7 BMW 225xe Active Tourer 404 855 5%
8 VW Golf GTE 301 854 5%
9 VW Passat GTE 281 833 5%
10 Mercedes GLC350e 128 522 3%
11 Porsche Panamera PHEV 179 510 3%
12 Mercedes E350e 258 497 3%
13 Tesla Model S 304 473 3%
14 Kia Niro PHEV 125 462 3%
15 Mercedes C350e 101 424 2%
16 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 153 363 2%
17 Hyundai Ioniq Electric 61 359 2%
18 Nissan Leaf 346 357 2%
19 BMW 530e 129 354 2%
20 Audi A3 e-Tron 82 311 2%
Others 1,135 2,977 17%
TOTAL 6,810 17,549 100%


Plug-ins & Regular Hybrids

Model March Sales  
1 Toyota Yaris Hybrid 1,346
2 Toyota C-HR Hybrid 1,071
3 Toyota Auris Hybrid 909
4 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid 673
5 VW e-Golf 534

Unlike other markets, where regular hybrids are feeling the heat and being reached by plug-in electric vehicles, Toyota still owns the podium in Germany. The only plug-in present in the electrified ranking is in fifth, with less than half of the sales of the leading Yaris Hybrid.

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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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