Kia Niro EV #1 In Covid-19 Impacted Dutch Market

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With the Netherlands escaping a full lockdown, the economic slowdown hasn’t been as devastating as in other markets, with the overall market dropping just 53%. The local plugin market this time wasn’t able to escape red numbers, dropping 14% YoY in April to 2,139 plugin registrations, this market’s first two-digit drop since 2017.

Because the plugin market was less disrupted than the broader auto market, however, April’s plugin vehicle (PEV) share was still firmly in double digits, at 14% (10% BEV). That kept the 2020 PEV share at 12% (9% BEV), which is still below the 15% of last year, but double the 2018 result (6%). Considering the second half of the year should see a return to growth in the fast lane, the Dutch plugin market should end north of last year’s result.

Looking at last month’s best sellers, we should bear in mind that these results are heavily influenced by the supply chain logistic challenges that the current pandemic is imposing. So, the best sellers reflect not only demand, but also how local importers can move (and deliver) metal in the current context.

With this out of the way, last month we saw the Kia Niro EV win its first monthly best seller title of 2020, with 364 deliveries, while the VW e-Golf continued to be immune to the VW ID.3’s shadow, collecting another podium position.

In an off-peak month, the Tesla Model 3 managed a meritable 3rd position, with 191 units registered, while the Hyundai Kona EV jumped to 4th in April, repeating February’s positioning.

But the surprise of the month was no doubt the 5th spot of the Ford Kuga PHEV (Euro-spec Ford Escape), that in just its second full month on the market crossed into three-digit performances, becoming last month’s best selling PHEV. Pent-up demand? Or is Ford finally having a plugin success story in Europe?

Either way, I believe this could be a good opening story for the Blue Oval’s true EV sales champion in Europe: The upcoming Ford Mustang Mach-E.

Looking at the 2020 ranking, the Kia Niro EV profited from last month’s good performance by jumping two positions, up to the runner-up spot, all while reducing the distance to the leader, the Tesla Model 3, to just 277 units, and with the Californian possibly not benefitting from the usual end-of-quarter peak in June, due to the Fremont factory shutdown, the Korean crossover could even end the first half of the year in the lead …

… only to lose it by Q3, once fresh Model 3 units land.

And second place could also be in danger, if (a big IF) the VW ID.3 market launch follows as expected — as in, with a major bang. The hot Volkswagen will surely go after silver, and run with the Model 3 for monthly trophies in the second half of the year.

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The remaining ranking action is only visible in the second half of the table, with the #10 Renault Zoe and #11 Nissan Leaf surpassing the BMW X5 PHEV. The big Bimmer now has the Mini Cooper EV right behind it, so expect the spicy hot hatch to dribble around the SUV like Lionel Speedy Gonzalez Messi and reach #12 in May. (Or not — with the plant shutdowns, May could see several models running out of inventory.)

Kia’s good moment is also thanks to the new Soul EV, which climbed to #15, thanks to 38 registrations, and the Niro PHEV scored a record performance in May, by delivering 34 units.

The Audi e-tron was up to #16, while the Hyundai Ioniq Electric rejoined the ranking in #17, making that 4 Korean models on the table, or 20% of the pack.

Outside the top 20, a reference is due for the #21 MG ZS EV, just 1 unit away from a table presence (189 registrations in 2020), while the #22 Ford Kuga PHEV is also on the tail of the #20 BMW i3, having registered 187 units so far. Expect these two to join the ranking soon.

Finally, the still in ramp-up mode Porsche Taycan registered a record 28 units last month, with the German sports sedan picking up enough speed to leave the Tesla Model S behind (89 units for the Porsche in 2020, 53 for the big Tesla). Although, one wonders if it will have enough pace to secure a top 20 presence.

Speaking of sports cars, the Polestar 1 debuted last month, with its first 7 units delivered. Don’t expect many sales coming from this one. Although, the same can’t be said about the brand’s second album model, the Polestar 2. …

In the manufacturer ranking, Tesla (14%, up 1 point) is still the leader, but has only a 54 unit advantage over rising #2 Kia (13%, up 2 points), while Volkswagen (11%) isn’t too far behind in third.

Off the podium, we now have Volvo (9%) in 4th, surpassing Opel (9%, down 1 point), which is suffering from the end of the Ampera-e fire sale and the slow ramp-up of the Corsa EV and Grandland X PHEV.

To close, here are sales charts again but including “Others” all combined on one line:

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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