The Norwegian Road Traffic Information Council (Opplysningsrådet for Veitrafikken, OFV) just released a new report on car sales in the country. As expected, these numbers shame everybody else, by far, again!
“2018 was the year new passenger cars that run on alternative fuels fortified their strong position in the market,” says Øyvind Solberg Thorsen, Director of OFV.
In 2017, 20.9% of all new passenger cars registered were zero emission. In 2018 that share is very close to one-third: 31.2%! If plug-in hybrids are added, a mind-boggling 49.1% of market share is confirming that this country of 5.3 million souls is going to be an electric-only nation in a very few years.
“This consolidates Norway’s position as the world leader with regard to sale of cars using alternative fuels,” Øyvind Solberg Thorsen adds.
2017 was a peak year for Norway in terms of car sales in general. In 2018, sales declined 6.8% to a total of 147,929 new cars, which is quite a bit lower than OFV’s forecast of 157,700 cars. A reason for this could be the new measuring method, WLTP, which meant that some car manufacturers could not deliver certain car models in the autumn of 2018. However, in 2019, many new electric cars will fulfill the demand of price and functionality of many families, and sales are expected to surge.
Still, OFV’s total forecast for 2019 is a conservative 146,300 new passenger cars, in part because there is doubt that manufacturers can meet demand when other countries wake up to the electric car revolution, which is expected to gain momentum in 2019 due to the many new models coming to market with longer range options and lower prices.
I personally expect Tesla Model 3 will have a huge impact on the Norwegian market. Prices are competitive, and Tesla is certainly gearing up to produce the number of cars needed. It would probably be safe to guess that Norway has some 40,000 reservations on the Model 3. But ironically, the introduction of the Model Y later this year might slow down the Model 3 surge somewhat. When new potential customers see the Model 3 in the streets this summer and realize that a much more family friendly Model Y is on the way, many will surely choose to wait.
The most popular model of 2018 in Norway was the Nissan Leaf with 12,303 cars sold (8.3% of all cars market share). VW Golf is still popular with 9,859 cars sold (6.7%), and the BMW i3 is actually doing quite well with 5,687 cars sold (3.8%).
The three most popular brands of 2018 in total new cars sold were VW with 20,071 cars (13.6%), Toyota with 14,709 cars (9.9%), and Nissan with 14,216 cars sold (9.6%).
The report also notes that the sales of diesel cars continue to plummet. The share of diesels sold has declined from 23.1% in 2017 to 17.7% in 2018. Bye, bye diesel. Gasoline, you’re next.