Renault Zoe Returns To #1 In France

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With the overall French market slowly returning to normal (last month it was down just 50%), plugin vehicle sales are also returning to form, with registrations up a splendid 77% year over year in May, to 7,167 units. Plugin hybrids (+134%) are faring better than fully electric vehicles (up only 50%), allowing plugin hybrids to have 43% of the plugin vehicle market last month, well above this year’s average (29%).

Last month, plugin vehicle market share ended at 7.4% (4.3% for full electrics alone), dropping the 2020 plugin vehicle share to 9.2% (6.5% full electrics), which is still well above the 2.8% of 2019.

When one looks at last month’s best sellers, we can see the market returning to normal. After losing April’s Best Seller title for the first time in 7 (seven) years, the Renault Zoe is back in the lead, winning last month’s Best Seller trophy with a 486 unit advantage over April’s Best Seller, the Peugeot 208 EV. With PSA hoping to ramp up its production during the following months, in order to tickle the Renault Zoe’s lead again, the question is, will it be able to do so? To be continued…

We have a surprise in the 3rd spot, profiting from increased availability coming from its new Czech Republic production facility and the lack of fresh units in Tesla delivery centers, the Hyundai Kona EV won May’s bronze medal, its first in the French market. It also won its first Best Selling Foreigner award. A sign of things to come?

Another surprise, just outside of this top 5, is the Mercedes-Benz GLC300e showing up in #6, with 263 registrations, the midsize SUV’s best performance since November 2017. Interestingly, its fully electric sibling, the EQC, had only 10 deliveries in the same period. Hmm … makes you think, doesn’t it?

Looking at the 2020 ranking, nothing significant changed in the top spots, with the first position change happening only in #8, with the rising Hyundai Kona EV surpassing its cousin Kia Niro EV, and with the #7 Peugeot 508 PHEV just 27 units away, the Korean crossover should continue climbing positions in the near future.

But the Climber of the Month was the Mercedes GLC300e, which jumped 4 positions to #14. Expect the three-pointed-star SUV to continue climbing positions, maybe already displacing the #12 Porsche Cayenne PHEV in June.

Despite the slower growth in May for full electrics, the two new entries in the top 20 were of the 100% electric variety, with the hot (hatch) Mini Cooper EV showing up in #19, thanks to a record 191 deliveries, while the increased battery availability allowed Peugeot to ramp up the production of its 2008 EV small crossover, with 151 registrations resulting in May, a new high, allowing the much anticipated model to join the table in #20.

Expect both models to climb further in the coming months, especially the Peugeot crossover, which could reach a top 10 position sometime in the future.

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Finally, regarding possible new entries to the top 20, the Ford Kuga PHEV continues to impress, having delivered a record 162 units, while the BMW X3 PHEV is also starting to be noticed, with the midzise SUV registering 124 units in May, a new personal best.

The VW EV triplets (VW e-Up, Seat Mii EV, and Skoda Citigo EV) continue delivering significant numbers. If counted together, they would be #13, with 682 registrations (343 e-Up, 173 Citigo, 166 Mii).

In the brand ranking, the leader Renault (26%, down 2 points) is declining (the upcoming Captur PHEV and Megane PHEV are badly needed), with Peugeot (24%) firm in the 2nd spot, while DS (8%, down 1 point) is staying in the 3rd spot, resisting Tesla’s advances (7%, down 2 points).

Adding all PSA brands (Peugeot — 24%; DS — 8%; Citroen — 2%, and Opel — 1%), the total tally for Groupe PSA is 35%, well above the Renault-Nissan Alliance (29%), a big contrast with last year’s result, when the Renault crew had 42% of the market (and 50% in 2018). All of the Renault-Nissan Alliance brands are losing share compared to 2019, as Renault is down 5 percentage points, from 31% to its current 26% share, Nissan is down from 6% to … 2%(!), and Mitsubishi is also down, from 5% to its current 1% (a likely candidate to lose a top 20 spot).

It seems the Alliance is in trouble, doesn’t it?

Below are the sales charts again, but with “Others” included.

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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 472 posts and counting. See all posts by José Pontes