The German plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) market started the year on fire, jumping 128% year over year (YoY), to a record 16,131 registrations. That smashed the previous record (12,026 units) set last October, so it seems the German locomotive has (finally) been set in motion.
While fully electric vehicles (BEVs) jumped significantly (+61% YoY), the bulk of growth came from plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), with their sales jumping through the roof (+308%!!!). That allowed plug-in hybrids to recover the lead from full electrics (46% BEV vs. 54% PHEV).
This brilliant performance, added to the fall of the overall market (-7% YoY), allowed the PEV share to jump from 2.6% a year ago to its current 6.6% in 2020. BEVs alone hit 3.1%, which is already originating significant changes in the fuels mix, with diesel dropping 12% YoY, to 33% share, while gasoline fell 17%, to 52% share.
Looking at January Best Sellers, we have the Renault Zoe leading the way, with 1,798 units, the second best score ever by a plug-in vehicle, only behind the 2,224 units of the Tesla Model 3 last March. The VW e-Golf continues to amaze as well, not only starting its last year on the market in 2nd place, but with a record(!) 1,120 units to boot.
Speaking of record performances, there were plenty of them throughout the ranking, particularly coming from Volkswagen Group. Besides the aforementioned VW e-Golf, the #5 VW Passat GTE registered a record 698 units, the #7 Audi e-tron had a best ever 572 registrations, while its sibling Q5 PHEV was #6, with 645 units.
But the not so surprising news of the month was the VW e-Up!, starting the year in the 9th spot with a record 463 registrations, a great result. If we add the twins/clines from the Czech Republic (Skoda Citigo EV — 437 units) and Spain (Seat e-Mii EV — 70), we get 970 units, which would place it in the 3rd spot. That’s an amazing score for a city car, isn’t it?
And the good news does not end there for the German conglomerate. The new Skoda Superb PHEV midsize model landed in #12, with 425 units, the Audi A3 PHEV came back from the dead, into #18, with 314 registrations, its best score in 16 months, while WLTP emissions rules started (yep, it’s already been that long). Outside the top 20, the Porsche Taycan hit a 3-digit score (167 units) for the first time in its ramp up for success, with the only negative note being the VW ID.3, that in its 3rd month in (pre-)production has only registered 84 units. Production hell, anyone?
But the VW Group didn’t have an exclusive on good news. PSA and Volvo had reasons to smile as well. In the PSA field, the crossover Opel Grandland X had its first full sales month, scoring 449 units and allowing it to start the year in #10, while its French cousin the Peugeot 3008 PHEV also started its career in Germany with 261 units, just enough to feature in the top 20 … in #20.
Outside the top 20, the fire sale of the Opel Ampera-e allowed it to score a record 145 units of performance, while the Peugeot 208 EV and 508 PHEV have landed, with 142 and 176 registrations, respectively.
As for the Swedish maker, its flagship SUV, the XC90 PHEV, scored a record 282 units, placing it in #19, while its smaller brother XC60 PHEV registered 168 units, also a best ever.
Outside the top 20, a mention is also due to the record 227 deliveries of the new BMW X5 PHEV, and also to the fact that several familiar faces were kicked out of the top 20, like both Smart nameplates, and the increasingly irrelevant Nissan Leaf (#pricecutsneeded). The Tesla Model 3 was #21, with 257 units, but we shouldn’t give too much relevance to this low score, since the Tesla midsizer always performs poorly in the first month of each quarter. Expect it to rejoin the top 20 in February and jump into the first half of the table by March.
In the brand ranking, the Volkswagen Group has a 1–2 lead, with Volkswagen (15%) in the front, followed by Audi, although closely followed by Renault (both with 11% share), while BMW (10%) and Mercedes (8%) remain off the podium.
If you prefer seeing the sales chart above with all other vehicles included, here’s that chart: