Normally Norway is the biggest Tesla market in Europe. When the Dutch market absorbs nearly three times the Norwegian number of Model 3s, that is crazy.
Electric cars are far better known in Norway than in the Netherlands. In Norway, there was a huge pile of orders waiting when the first ship from Fremont arrived. In the rest of Europe, not so much. Europe has to wake up to this new type of car. The Zoes, the Leafs, and the i3s were toys for a small group of treehuggers. The big Teslas were toys for the rich, and there was nothing in between.
Now, the Tesla Model 3 is changing all that. The growing awareness is supported by the Volkswagen ID.3 as well as Peugeot, Opel, Audi, Jaguar, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes, and Porsche all asking for attention for their fully electric offerings.
Europe is waking up slowly, warming to these new type of cars. The first on the mainland is the Dutch market. Supported by a lavish incentive, these electric autos are a better offer then nearly any competitor in the C- or D-segment (aka compact and midsize cars). Germany is waking up more slowly. The UK will see an explosion in the next fiscal year with a new incentive scheme. But back to the Netherlands. …
With all the stories about demand falling off a cliff (now debunked), the 97,000 deliveries of Q3, 79,600 being Model 3s, is great news. That those silly Dutch bought nearly 9.5%, or 7,547, of those Model 3s was rather unexpected. Additionally, the Model S & X are recovering from the dip that followed the spike in demand in late 2018, extra confirmation that Tesla is a healthy brand in this region. Both reached about a hundred units in the quarter. Without the customers making the Tesla stretch any more, these sales come again within the same size as the sales by the competition from BMW and Mercedes.
To put the Tesla sales really into perspective, below are the top brands and to models in the Netherlands in September and January–September sales numbers.
For the January–September period, the Tesla Model 3 accounted for 4.1% of Dutch auto sales, while the #2 VW Polo accounted for 2.9%. In the month of September, the Model 3 represented 15.1% of new registrations (and the Tesla brand as a whole 15.5% of new registrations).
One important comment to make about Dutch and European sales numbers: The monthly numbers show the result of production and logistics planning for that month. The yearly numbers are more of a demand indicator. This is completely different from the USA, where the sales are from stock and the monthly numbers basically reflect the current demand for the brand and model.
I am already waiting for the European numbers for Q4. Not only those of Tesla, but the whole EV market, which is starting to take off. I expect the European numbers to show that the Netherlands is not the only country where Tesla is gaining in popularity. The biggest problem for Tesla in Europe is not a bad reputation, it is having no reputation, being mostly unknown and not having a sales location within reach. Even without incentives, the Tesla Model 3 can compete with the BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Volvo, and Jaguar models in the same class on price and beat them on total cost of ownership (TCO).
The Dutch numbers are inflated by lavish incentives. In the next fiscal year, the incentives in the UK will be even more lavish. This is not the last time we will see this demand problem in Europe. Eventually, it has to be solved by a European Gigafactory.
Source for sales numbers: RAI Vereeniging.
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