Electric Vehicles Nearly 9% Of New Auto Sales In Germany — March EV Sales Report

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Germany reaches 8.9% EV share in record month. Ausgezeichnet!

Despite the Covid-related lockdown in the second half of the month, the German plug-in vehicle market score signaled another record performance in March, its third in a row — 19,145 plug-in vehicles (EVs) were registered. With the overall market dropping 38% year over year (YoY), last month’s plug-in share reached a record 8.9% (4.8% fully electric/BEV), pulling the yearly tally to an amazing 7.3% (3.7% BEV).

March had a not so surprising leader, with the Tesla Model 3 winning its first monthly best seller title in Germany since last September thanks to 2,034 deliveries, its best performance in a year. Meanwhile, Volkswagen continued to milk its e-Golf to the last drop, thanks to generous discounts. The German EV was #2, with 1,524 units registered, its third record performance in a row. It seems the veteran model is set to end its career on a high note.

But Volkswagen didn’t stopped there, with the Passat GTE ending the month in 4th, with 872 registrations, its best score ever.

Another surprise was the Audi e-tron showing up in #5, thanks to a record 721 registrations.

So, 3 models out of 5 for the Volkswagen Group, with three record performances to boot. And the #6 (Audi A3 PHEV) and #7 (VW e-Up!) spots went also to VAG models.

How do you say “counter-attack” in German?

Regarding the 2020 table, the two frontrunners switched positions, with the VW e-Golf rising to #1. Just below them, the Tesla Model 3 jumped from #12 to #3, but it is still over a thousand units behind the top two, so it will be hard for the American to recover ground. Although, being Tesla, you never know…

With the evergreen VW e-Golf seeing its career extended almost until the end of the year, and the expected general slowdown in the coming months, the 2020 race should become a four-horse race, with the VW e-Golf hoping to keep demand/momentum until the end of the year, the Renault Zoe betting on consistent performances to win the title “à la Alain Prost,” the “Ayrton Senna” Tesla Model 3 hoping to pull some surprising performances to stun the competition, and a certain “young Schumacher” VW ID.3 expecting to overcome mechanical software problems and recover enough positions to win the 2020 title in the last stages of the championship year.

Speaking of this newcomer, the production ramp up of the ID.3 is now underway, with the much anticipated hatchback crossing north of the monthly 100 registration mark in March.

For now, Volkswagen Group doesn’t need it in order to grow, as the remaining lineup is running strong. Besides the aforementioned three record performances (VW e-Golf, VW Passat GTE, and Audi e-tron), the Audi A3 PHEV pulled a Rudi Völler (who?) and found a second youth in the last stages of its career, despite the wrinkles and grey hair. The premium hatchback scored a record result last month, with 687 registrations six years after it landed.

If Volkswagen Group can do all this with a bunch of old-timers (e-Golf, A3 PHEV, e-Up!), imagine what it will be able to do with new, competitive models!

But Volkswagen Group didn’t have the exclusive on good performances in this top 20. The Smart Fortwo EV returned to the table, in #16, thanks to 501 registrations, a new year best.

Outside the top 20, there’s plenty to talk about, like the BMW X3 PHEV (256 registrations) and X1 PHEV (102 registrations) ramping up production. The new Opel Corsa-e registering 622 units, a strong first sales month for the Opel hatchback, so we should see it here soon, while Volvo continues to increase its electrification efforts, with its S/60 PHEV twins scoring 407 registrations, their second record performance in a row, and the XC40 compact SUV also scoring a best ever 184 registrations.

The Mercedes A250e is another model soon to be seen soon in the top 20, with the compact model registering 421 units last month. And the Mini Cooper EV registered 326 units in March, confirming its popularity across Europe.

In the brand ranking, Volkswagen Group has gold and silver at the moment, with Volkswagen (17%, up 1 percentage point) leading the way, while Audi (10%, down 1 point) is in second place, followed by #3 BMW (10%), while #4 Mercedes (9%) is getting ready to run go after the medal positions.

Midsize Car Best Sellers

Looking at 2020 sales, we have four models with a significant degree of electrification, with the leader VW Passat getting 14% of its sales from the GTE version while the #4 Mercedes C-Class has 16% of sales coming from its PHEV versions and the #2 BMW 3 Series has 10% share.

But the champion of electrification is the #5 Skoda Superb, with 24% share.

Which leaves the Audi A4 as the only unplugged model.

Midsize SUV Best Sellers

We have a fully electrified top 5. Although, these models have widely varying degrees of electrification, from the 3% PHEV share of the Mercedes GLC, to the 73% share of the Mitsubishi Outlander, passing by the 8% of the BMW X3, 14% of the Volvo XC60, and 25% of the Audi Q5.

Anyway, 5 electrified models out of 5 is already something, and with the Mercedes GLC PHEV and BMW X3 in ramp up mode, things will look even better in a few months.

Full Size Car Best Sellers

With the exception of the #2 Audi A6, which still has its PHEV in demonstration mode, all other models have volume deliveries of their PHEV versions, with the #1 Mercedes E-Class hitting a significant 22% share while the #3 BMW 5 Series reached 12% and the #4 Volvo S/V90 twins had 20%.

With the Audi A6 PHEV said to ramp up production in the coming months, expect this top 5 to be fully electrified soon.

Finally, the flagship BMW 7 Series had 24% of its sales coming from its PHEV version, while the Porsche Taycan is some 200 units below it, so we should see Porsche’s sports sedan here sometime in the future as the automaker ramps up production.

Full Size SUV Best Sellers

Unlike other categories, the full size SUV category isn’t on the forefront of electrification, with two models still very much fossil only. The leader, the Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class, had just 1% of its sales coming from the PHEV version (for some reason Mercedes Germany is not betting on the 350de version), while the #3 VW Touareg (1% PHEV sales) just now officially presented its plug-in hybrid version.

The #5 Audi Q7 also has a low PHEV share, with just 8%, while the BMW X5 PHEV represented 19% of X5 sales, adding to the full EV #4 Audi e-tron. The latter two are the bright spots of the category.

With the new VW Touareg PHEV and hopefully the Mercedes GLE350de ramping up production, it should be only a matter of time until this top 5 becomes electrified to some extent in every position.

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

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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 478 posts and counting. See all posts by José Pontes