BMW i3, Renault Zoe, Tesla Model 3 — Who Will Be Germany’s Best Selling EV In 2019?

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Something clicked in the German plug-in vehicle market after the summer holidays. After two consecutive record months, November saw 10,985 units registered, only the second five-digit performance in Germany’s history, after the record 11,926 units of October. It seems Europe’s e-locomotive has finally been set in motion, which is a promising sign for 2020.

Despite a BEV slowdown (only +9% year over year, or YoY), PHEVs (+216%!!!) were more than enough to propel the market forward. In total, plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) grew 72% YoY last month, while share-wise, November saw the PEV share reach 3.7% (1.6% for BEVs alone), allowing the 2019 share to climb to a record 2.9% (1.7% BEV).

November brought another demonstration of strength from the Daimler Group, placing once again three models in the top 5. Besides the E300e/de twins keeping the monthly leadership position, with 1,263 deliveries, their smaller siblings, the C300e/de twins, ended in 4th, with 719 registrations.

But the Daimler Group didn’t stopped there, with the tiny Smart Fortwo EV ending the month in 3rd, with 828 units registered, its best result since December ’17.

The remaining two spots in the top 5 went to local heroes, the VW e-Golf (#2, with 925 units) and the BMW i3 (#5, with 546 units). The Volkswagen veteran impressing with its vitality, despite its successor on billboards everywhere (and starting to roll off the lines of Zwickau into the hands of a few lucky VW employees — 81 ID.3’s were registered in November…).

Regarding the year-to-date (YTD) table, the #1 spot continues to be hotly contended, with all 3 top models underperforming (the Dutch market black-hole effect is making itself felt…). The BMW i3 still managed to overcome the former leader, Renault Zoe, and become the new #1, while at the same time time, it has won a precious advantage (665 units right now) over the #3 Tesla Model 3.

With only 1 month to go, this is still a 3 horse race, and I guess the decision lies in the hands of … the Netherlands.

Depending on the priority given to the Dutch market in December by the three brands, the best seller could either stay in Germany, cross the border to France, or go halfway around the world to Palo Alto. But if I had to bet on a winner, I would go for BMW.

BMW i3s Charging North Carolina Cynthia Shahan | CleanTechnica

While the Model 3 will probably end December ahead of the other two, in the 2019 count, the disadvantage compared to the leader (665 units) is significant, so it would take an extraordinary performance in December which, while not impossible, is becoming even more difficult by the black-hole effect of the neighboring Dutch market.

As for Renault and BMW, the distance is small enough (101 units) for a small allocation difference to make a big difference, and with the French maker still in volume ramp-up of the revised Zoe, it wouldn’t be surprising if the priority to the Dutch market prevented it from having enough units to beat the local BMW i3.

One thing is certain: this is probably the most exciting race among the top markets, so don’t forget to bring the popcorn…

Off the podium, there’s also a lot to talk about. The Mercedes E300e/de twins climbed to #6, and although the #4 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is too far in front of the Mercedes model for the luxury sedan to reclaim the Best Selling PHEV title, next year the Japanese SUV will surely lose out to the Mercedes.

But the PHEV resurgence didn’t end there. Another Mercedes double, the C300e/de, jumped three spots, to #16. And we see a new face on the table, with the new BMW 330e joining the ranking in #20, making that four BMWs in the top 20.

Outside the top 20 there are also significant performances: the new Audi Q5 PHEV had 276 registrations, a new personal best, while its relative, the VW Passat GTE, scored a record 350 units, and the Porsche Cayenne PHEV delivered 374 units, placing it just 8 units behind the #20 BMW 330e. Will we see the Porsche SUV ascend to the top 20 in December?

Oh, and before I forget, the Porsche Taycan is still in “demonstration mode,” having registered only 76 units last month, enough to beat the 43 Tesla Model S deliveries, but that isn’t saying much, right? Of course, the Taycan will trounce the Model S in Germany. After all, it is playing at home. Now, if the Taycan ever manages to beat the Model S in the USA … that would be something to write about!

In the brand ranking, BMW (21%, down 1 point) is the leader, with Tesla (10%, down 1 point) keeping its advantage over #3 Renault (9%, down 1 point).

Off the podium, rising Mercedes (8%, up 1 point) has surpassed Mitsubishi and Volkswagen, with the three-pointed-star now aiming to displace Renault in the last place on the podium in December. Meanwhile, the Smart brand (7%, up 1 point) is looking to end the year in 4th.

If you prefer to see the sales charts with “Others” included, here you go:

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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 477 posts and counting. See all posts by José Pontes