German Brands Recover Ground In German Electric Car Market — April EV Sales Report

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The German plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) market continued on the right track in April, having scored 7,771 registrations. Fully electric vehicles (BEVs) grew at a faster pace, +50% year over year (YoY), than plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), +14% YoY, contributing to an all-electric share in 2019 of 67%, far above the 2018 result of 53%.

With the mainstream market stagnant (-3%), the increase in PEV sales meant its market share grew t0 2.5% in April, with BEVs alone hitting 1.5%. The year-to-date (YTD) plug-in vehicle share is now 2.5% (1.5% BEV).

Looking at April best sellers, the Renault Zoe managed to outsell the Tesla Model 3, which remained in chill mode throughout the month (after a Ludicrous March). The American midsized sedan had to be content with the #4 spot in April, losing out to the aforementioned Renault model as well as the #2 BMW i3 hot hatch and the evergreen #3 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.

But the surprise of the month came in #9, with the Porsche Panamera PHEV scoring 291 deliveries, a new record for the Porsche nameplate. After the WLTP hiccup, it seems the German sports sedan is back on top of its form, something that provides good signs for the career of the upcoming Porsche Taycan.

Rank Model Sales  
1 Renault Zoe 939
2 BMW i3 762
3 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 663
4 Tesla Model 3 514
5 Volkswagen e-Golf 489

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 is still the leader, but the Renault Zoe is just 43 units behind, so it will be an interesting race to follow in the coming months.

Also, the BMW 225xe Active Tourer and Hyundai Kona EV were up one spot, to #6 and #7, respectively, while another BMW, the 530e (329 registrations, a year best), also won one position and is now in #10.

The Daimler Group had a positive month, with the Mercedes E300e/de PHEV jumping to #14, thanks to 284 deliveries, the Uber Black model’s best result in 15 months, while both Smart models climbed in the ranking. The Fortwo EV climbed one place, to #8, thanks to428 deliveries, while its slightly bigger Forfour EV brother jumped three spots, to #12, thanks to 280 registrations. Both of those are year-best performances for the models.

Outside the top 20, we should mention the record 85 deliveries of the Jaguar I-PACE, with the British Sports-Crossover-SUV-Thingy now at #22, just 24 units from knocking on the top 20’s door.

Rank Model April YTD YTD Segment Share
1 Tesla Model 3 514 3,699 12%
2 Renault Zoe 939 3,656 12%
3 BMW i3 762 2,929 9%
4 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 663 2,260 7%
5 VW e-Golf 489 1,735 6%
6 BMW 225xe Active Tourer 476 1,501 5%
7 Hyundai Kona EV 296 1,271 4%
8 Smart Fortwo ED 428 1,253 4%
9 Audi e-Tron 174 1,214 4%
10 BMW 530e 329 1,031 3%
11 Nissan Leaf 165 982 3%
12 Smart Forfour ED 280 736 2%
13 Mini Countryman PHEV 141 722 2%
14 Mercedes E300e/de 284 663 2%
15 Hyundai Ioniq Electric 137 613 2%
16 Kia Soul EV 60 544 2%
17 Porsche Panamera PHEV 291 471 2%
18 Kia Niro PHEV 78 439 1%
19 Volvo XC60 PHEV 108 400 1%
20 Hyundai Ioniq PHEV 54 323 1%
+ Others 1,103 4,612 15%
= TOTAL 7,771 31,054 100%

In the brand ranking, BMW (18%, up 1 percentage point) is the leader, with Tesla closest in the rear view mirror with 14% share (down 2 percentage points), ahead of the #3 Renault (11%, down 1 percentage point).

Off the podium, we have Volkswagen, Hyundai, and Mitsubishi, all with 7% share.

Tesla Model 3 & the ICE Competition

Rank Model 2019 Sales  
1 Mercedes C-Class 21,595
2 Audi A4 17,905
3 BMW 3 Series 12,053
4 Audi A5 6,699
5 BMW 4 Series 3,883
6 Tesla Model 3 3,699

One of the question marks around the Model 3 in Europe has been the impact it’s going to have on foreign turf, on this side of the Atlantic — will it disrupt the PEV and gasoline/diesel sedan market in the same way that it is doing in the US, or will it be more subdued since it’s playing away from home?

The answer is now being written. Comparing the Model 3’s YTD deliveries against sales of its midsize premium competitors, we can see that the local heroes are still significantly ahead, with only the end-of-cycle BMW 4 Series close to being surpassed.

Nevertheless, in a backdrop of falling sales (midsize cars are down 11% YoY), the Tesla Model 3’s performance is impressive, especially considering that the car has given a couple of months’ head start to the competition.

Also interesting to see: not all models are being affected in the same way by the arrival of the Model 3 and the overall category’s falling sales. While the Audi A4/A5 and BMW 4 Series are experiencing two-digit drops, Mercedes C-Class sales are flat, with the Mercedes model surpassing the Audi A4 and becoming the class’s best seller. This confirms what we have seen in other markets — Mercedes resisting well the Model 3’s approach while BMW and Audi suffer. Apparently, these are fairly different segments or consumer groups despite being in the same class and having similar pricing.

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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 445 posts and counting. See all posts by José Pontes