Peugeot 208 EV Beats Renault Zoe In Pandemic-Disrupted French EV Market — April 2020

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While the overall French market ground to a halt due to the coronavirus lockdown (-89% year over year), plugins were down just 66%, with fully electric vehicles (BEVs) faring slightly better, down only -62%. That allowed BEVs to have 74% of the plugin market last month, slightly better than this year’s average of 73%.

Last month’s plugin market share ended at 7.8% (5.8% for BEVs alone), dropping the 2020 PEV share slightly to 9.6% (7% BEV), which is still well above the 2.8% of 2019.

One should consider that the strict lockdown heavily disrupted registrations, with only units ordered before the lockdown being allowed to be registered, in home delivery mode, so most of these deliveries have more to do with OEM skills at solving logistic issues than actual demand. The first demand-driven month could be no sooner than July, as May will still be impacted by lockdown and June will be a transitional month. Although, considering that July and August are usually slow months due to the summer holidays, we might only see a strong month again in September. …

Back to April — in such an atypical month, when one looks at last month’s best sellers, one realizes the size of the disruption, with the Renault Zoe losing the monthly best seller title for the first time in 7 (seven) years!

Yep, the Peugeot 208 EV managed to beat the Zoe narrowly, just with 360 vs 322 units, and by next month the Renault hatchback should return to its natural spot, but still, this was a welcome change from the usual monotony at the top and could empower Peugeot to dare to dream higher and run the 208 EV head to head with the Renault EV.

The Tesla Model 3 was once again the only foreigner in this top 5, with 189 deliveries, followed by the DS 7 PHEV and its Peugeot cousin, the successful 3008 PHEV.

Last month’s other surprise was the Citroen C-Zero reaching #6, with 89 registrations. Although, this performance was possibly due to some fleet deal (French government? hospitals?), allowing Citroen to dispatch units it probably had in some forgotten area of the parking lot, allowing the company to free space for faster selling models.

Expect sales to rebound in the second half of the year. The impressive growth of Q1 should resume later in the year, with the final market share possibly ending above 10%. Looking at the 2020 ranking, nothing significant happened, with all models maintaining their standings, so it’s best to take the time to see how things will develop from here on.

In the top 20, the podium positions are pretty much decided, with the Zoe taking gold, the 208 EV earning silver, and the Model 3 running away with bronze.

The Best Selling PHEV and Best Selling SUV trophies are going to be decided between the DS 7 and Peugeot 3008. While the more upmarket DS is ahead right now, I believe the Peugeot will end up having more stamina to keep the pace and win both titles.

If the Tesla Model 3 is without a shadow of a doubt the best selling foreigner. The second best is still pretty much out in the open, with the Kia Niro EV, Hyundai Kona EV, and Nissan Leaf running for the position. Although, it’s not out of the realm of possibilities that the upcoming VW ID.3 could beat all of them.

The Best Selling Luxury PEV title should be fought between the Porsche Cayenne PHEV and BMW X5 PHEV, with the second running from behind and hoping to shorten the distance in the next few months.

Finally, as far as future new entries to the top 20, the Opel Corsa EV and Mini Cooper EV are strong possibilities, being joined later in the year by the Volkswagen ID.3, while on the PHEV side, the Ford Kuga PHEV could also join the top 20 in the coming months, and the Citroen C5 Aircross PHEV is dead certain to join the table soon.

In the brand ranking, the leader is still Renault (28%, down 1 point) but it is declining (the upcoming Captur PHEV, Megane PHEV, and Twingo EV are badly needed), while Peugeot (24%) is firmly in the 2nd spot and DS (9%) hangs onto 3rd, still resisting Tesla’s (9%) advances.

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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.

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