Tesla Model 3 Takes #1 Spot In Dutch Auto Market

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Tesla Model 3 Amsterdam

At the end of August, Tesla reached the #3 spot in terms of 2019 Dutch auto sales, as Zach wrote yesterday. That was a memorable achievement for a model that started deliveries only halfway through February in earnest. But we also have September sales data for the top 3 automobiles, and September is a last-month-of-quarter month. All Tesla watchers know what that entails — the end-of-quarter delivery rush that Tesla still hasn’t gotten rid of.

This quarter started in earnest in the second half of August when the first boat of the quarter arrived, and then grew over time to the current avalanche of over 300 deliveries a day. That is a lot for the puny Dutch auto market. With about 400,000 yearly auto sales vs the USA’s 16,000,000 yearly sales, it is about 1/40 the size. But Tesla Model 3 deliveries this month are about ½ the size of US deliveries in some months of this year. Okay, that is crazy.

Chart: Top 3 vehicles in Netherlands

Last weekend, the year-to-date number crossed 10,000. That is kind of a magical round number. Not many vehicles sell that many in 1 year. And that also meant that the Tesla Model 3 became the #1 automobile overall on the Dutch market. That is a first for a fully electric vehicle (BEV) in the Netherlands. The data used in the chart above includes registration data through Friday, September 20.

Last year, with a crazy end-of-year rush placing the Jaguar I-PACE #1 and the Tesla Model S #2 in December, with a BEV market share of 30%, they still did not reach the top 20 for the year. The Tesla Model S was #21 for 2018 and the Jaguar I-PACE #39.

Naturally, I’m intrigued by the chance that the Model 3 could hold that #1 position until the end of the year. The Dutch market, like every other market, has its peculiarities. People like a license plate from early in the new year, and not from the last months of the previous year. There are sales in these last months the European way — writing an order down with a delivery date in January of the next year.

January can start the year with deliveries between 50,000 and 60,000 as a result. December can close the year with deliveries between 15,000 and 20,000. Between these two extremes, the other months are relatively flat, tapering downward at the end.

Tesla Model 3’s #1 Spot is Secure for 2019

Another peculiarity is that the Dutch market is starting to be known for is its end-of-year delivery rushes for EVs. These are caused by incentives that will be lower or disappear in the following year. The first big rush was in 2013 with the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. Model sales of a few dozen a month were great in the rest of the world, and then the Outlander entered the Dutch market in October 2013. In the last quarter, the monthly numbers were 345, 2,735, and 4,959, quickly securing the first place among plug-in vehicles that year.

We had a second rush when PHEVs (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles) lost their incentives. A third rush came last year when “only” the first €50,000 of the sales price would be rewarded with an incentive.

And now we see a fourth rush coming with the BiK percentage doubling from 4% to 8% and the incentive boundary lowered to €45,000.

The Tesla Model 3 is the most popular BEV in the world, and that’s also the case in the Netherlands for as far as we can see. With BEV sales climbing and fossil fuel vehicle sales tapering, the outcome can not be in doubt. The only thing that can prevent the Model 3 from being the Dutch #1 in the remaining months of this year is if Fremont can’t deliver the cars to Europe.

Third quarter Dutch Model 3 deliveries will pass 5,000 vehicles. Next quarter, it will be more, bringing the year total somewhere between 17,000 and 20,000.

Next year there will be a dip, but not as massive as the implosion of the Model S & X and Jaguar I-PACE sales this year. That will also be compensated by the UK, which will have a lower BiK percentage, going from 16% all the way down to 0%. Expect more boats headed for Southampton, the British RoRo port.

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Maarten Vinkhuyzen

Grumpy old man. The best thing I did with my life was raising two kids. Only finished primary education, but when you don’t go to school, you have lots of time to read. I switched from accounting to software development and ended my career as system integrator and architect. My 2007 boss got two electric Lotus Elise cars to show policymakers the future direction of energy and transportation. And I have been looking to replace my diesel cars with electric vehicles ever since. At the end of 2019 I succeeded, I replaced my Twingo diesel for a Zoe fully electric.

Maarten Vinkhuyzen has 280 posts and counting. See all posts by Maarten Vinkhuyzen