German EV Market Share At 8.5% In April, Overall Autos Down 61% YoY

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Germany saw the auto market drop 61% in April. While that doesn’t look good for the industry, it was much more resilient than the large neighboring markets of France and the UK. Market share of different powertrains was largely unchanged over recent months, with plug-in electric vehicles at 8.5% of passenger sales. Tesla was the only auto brand with increased sales year on year, up 10.4%.

Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) were marginally preferred over full battery electric vehicles (BEVs), with a ratio of approximately 6:5.

The KBA has not yet released detailed model data, but it has said that Tesla was the only manufacturer to see April sales growth (10.4%) compared to a year ago, with 635 sales. Tesla usually doesn’t have many ships arriving in Europe in April, so these figures are down over March volumes nonetheless, as expected. More instructively, we do now have the model results from March 2020, which give us an idea of which BEV models are currently popular (repeat: below are MARCH 2020 results, not April results):

Again, the above volumes represent a peak end-of-quarter delivery month for Tesla, with the Model 3 more likely to be at around ~570 units in April. Given the lower volumes, this will likely still put the Model 3 inside the top three behind the e-Golf and ZOE.

The Hyundai Kona (#10 in March) has also been subject to irregular shipments, though this is now improving with the recent opening of Hyundai’s Nošovice plant. The others on the list are locally made in Europe and don’t suffer from erratic shipments, so their rankings are likely to be fairly stable month to month. If we get the release of April model data within the coming few days, we may be able to update this list.

VW e-Golf Press ImageVolkswagen e-Golf. Image courtesy Volkswagen

Car showrooms started to reopen from 20th April in Germany, though this has not yet led to an uptick in sales according to VDIK trade association president Reinhard Zirpel, who called April’s result “an unprecedented collapse.” That’s a geographically insular view, however — much greater sales drops have already been reported in April in France (-89%), the UK (-97%), and Italy (-98%). Against that context, Zirpel should rather be counting his good fortune.

On a brighter note, we now know that the Volkswagen ID.3 will take confirmation orders on June 17th, with unannounced delivery commencement, though presumably July or August. The biggest slice of the new deliveries will of course be going to Germany in the first instance.

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Dr. Maximilian Holland

Max is an anthropologist, social theorist and international political economist, trying to ask questions and encourage critical thinking. He has lived and worked in Europe and Asia, and is currently based in Barcelona. Find Max's book on social theory, follow Max on twitter @Dr_Maximilian and at, or contact him via LinkedIn.

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