Tesla Model 3 Avalanche (German Edition)

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After a great start of the year, the German plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) market continued on the right track in March, up 42% year over year (YoY) to 9,677 registrations. Fully electric vehicles (BEVs) grew at a fast pace (+75% YoY), while plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) remained flat (+1%).

With the mainstream market stagnant (-1%), the PEV share climbed to 2.8% in March, with BEVs alone hitting 1.9%.

Looking at March best sellers, there was a Tesla Model 3 delivery avalanche (where have I heard this one before?), with 2,224 units being registered. That’s the best score ever by a plug-in vehicle in German territory. The previous leader, the Renault Zoe, despite losing the top spot, is also reaching record results, having delivered 1,136 units last month.

In fact, the Tesla Model 3 arrival in Germany is following the trend that we are seeing elsewhere in Europe — instead of the Californian drying up sales of other EVs, like in the US, here it is helping other EVs to reach new heights, thanks to increasing the visibility of electric cars, as we can see with the #3 BMW i3 hitting a record 770 deliveries, or even the evergreen Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV selling 693 units, a new record for any PHEV.

So, in the same month, both the BEV and PHEV single-model records were beaten. Nice!

But the surprise of the month came in #6, with the Audi e-tron registering 478 units. The German maker is finally fulfilling the long waiting list for its new BEV model. Will we see it often here? If Audi finds enough batteries, I presume we will.

Rank Model March Sales  
1 Tesla Model 3 2,224
2 Renault Zoe 1,136
3 BMW i3 770
4 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 693
5 BMW 225xe Active Tourer 486

The German PEV market is known for close races and constant changes, and last month was no exception. First of all, the Tesla Model 3 jumped from 4th to the 2019 leadership position. The best selling PHEV, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, took the Model 3’s place at 4th, surpassing the VW e-Golf, which seems to be entering sunset mode.

Speaking about Volkswagen Group, the Audi e-tron was up to #6, while the BMW 225xe Active Tourer is in recovery mode, jumping two spots to #7.

Both BMW Group and Daimler had reasons to smile. Besides the aforementioned good results of the BMW i3 and 225xe Active Tourer, the BMW 530e climbed one spot to #11 and the MINI Countryman PHEV was up to #12. On Daimler’s side, we had one Mercedes nameplate joining the top 20, with the Mercedes E300e/de PHEV jumping to #16, thanks to 225 deliveries. That’s the taxi’s model’s best result in 14 months. Also, the Smart Fortwo EV climbed one place, to #9.

Outside the top 20, we should mention the record 106 deliveries of the Jaguar I-PACE and the surprising 130 registrations of the Porsche Panamera PHEV, with the German sports sedan now apparently recovered from the WLTP trauma and back in the fast sales track.

In the brand ranking, BMW (17%, down 2%) is still the leader, but now has Tesla in the rear-view mirror at 16% share. They’re both solidly ahead of the #3 Renault (12%), while #4 Hyundai (7%, down 2%) is now ahead of Volkswagen (6%, down 3%), which dropped to 5th.

Tesla Model 3 & the ICE Competition

Rank Model March Sales  
1  Audi A4 5,584
2 Mercedes C-Class 4,941
3 BMW 3-Series 4,014
4 Tesla Model 3 2,224
5 Audi A5 1,971

One of the questions around the Model 3 in Europe, regarding the impact that it’s going to have on this side of the Atlantic, is whether it will disrupt both the PEV and mainstream internal combustion engine (ICE) sedan market in the same way that it is doing in the US. Or will it be more subdued here in Europe, because it is playing away from home?

The answer is now starting to be written. Comparing Model 3 deliveries against deliveries of its midsize premium competitors, we can see that the local heroes are still significantly ahead, but the Audi A5 is behind the Tesla.

Also interesting to see is that it seems the BMW 3 & 4 Series are the models most affected by the current Model 3 fever, which could be explained by the type of drivers we see buying the current European Model 3s. They are significantly younger than those of the Model S, and it’s the kind of driver we were used to seeing in brand new BMW M3s and M4s, or high-end 3/4 Series, devouring kilometers at the hands of the Ultimate Driving Machine like there’s no tomorrow.

One thing is certain, BMW will have a hard time regaining these drivers. Maybe not even a plug-in hybrid M3 or M4 will be enough…

Rank Germany March 2019 2019 Share
1 Tesla Model 3 2,224 3,185 14%
2 Renault Zoe 1,136 2,717 12%
3 BMW i3 770 2,167 9%
4 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 693 1,597 7%
5 VW e-Golf 219 1,246 5%
6 Audi e-Tron 478 1,040 4%
7 BMW 225xe Active Tourer 486 1,025 4%
8 Hyundai Kona EV 284 975 4%
9 Smart Fortwo ED 371 825 4%
10 Nissan Leaf 227 817 4%
11 BMW 530e 278 702 3%
12 Mini Countryman PHEV 188 581 2%
13 Kia Soul EV 33 484 2%
14 Hyundai Ioniq Electric 131 476 2%
15 Smart Forfour ED 132 456 2%
16 Mercedes E300e/de 225 379 2%
17 Kia Niro PHEV 68 361 2%
18 Volvo XC60 PHEV 98 292 1%
19 Hyundai Ioniq PHEV 65 269 1%
20 Tesla Model S 82 260 1%
+ Others 1,489 3,429 15%
= TOTAL 9,677 23,283 100%

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José Pontes

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.

José Pontes has 446 posts and counting. See all posts by José Pontes