While the German overall market is still recovering from the pandemic, dropping just 32% year over year (YoY) in June, the local plugin vehicle market is in much better shape, having registered almost 19,000 units, up 124% YoY. This is mostly thanks to plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), which jumped an amazing 274%(!). Overall, last month’s plugin market share reached 8.6% (3.7% fully electric/BEV), pulling the yearly tally to 7.8% (3.7% BEV).
With the recent incentive changes, it is expected that the German plugin market will have a strong second half of the year, with record months (ahem, September) allowing it to end possibly at approximately 10% plugin share, which would mean 2021 would be a very (VERY) interesting year to follow … #Störung ’21.
Although plugin vehicle (PEV) market growth is always good news, the not so good part is that much of it is due to increased sales of plugin hybrids, which are already the majority of plugin registrations this year (47% BEV vs. 53% PHEV), and they should increase their lead throughout the summer, at least until September. But more on that later.
Regarding last month’s best sellers, in June, the VW e-Golf was beaten by the Renault Zoe, with the small EV scoring its first win since last January. The Renault model’s success on the other side of the Rhine is a true case study for French companies, and I bet the Zoe’s 22 kW AC charging has something to do with it.
Below these two best sellers, we have three plugin hybrids, with the evergreen Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV banking on its strong points (lots of utility for the price) to end in 3rd, with 861 units, while another old-timer, the Audi A3 PHEV, is enjoying a second youth, having even scored a record performance last month, with 838 units registered.
In #5 we have a newcomer to the top 5, with the Ford Kuga PHEV registering a record 807 units, an amazing performance for the Ford SUV, which is becoming a true success story for the Dearborn automaker in Europe.
Regarding the 2020 table, the podium positions remained the same, with the Renault Zoe reducing the distance to the leader VW e-Golf to just 254 units, which could allow the French hatchback to reach the leadership by August and even hang onto the #1 spot in the Super-September month.
And why will September be Super? Imagine this: a certain VW ID.3 lands, delivering some 8,000 units (wild guess) at once, landing immediately on the podium, kicking the Renault Zoe off the throne in the following months, and speaking of the Zoe, the French EV should register (at least) some 2,000 units in September, all while the Tesla Model 3 will benefit from an unconstrained end-of-quarter peak and deliver some 2,500 units.
So, in just three EVs, 12,500 registrations. Add the rest of the market, with, say, 15,000 units, and you get 27,500 units, thus obliterating March’s record result of 19,145 units … and reaching some 13–15% plugin share!
Now, that’s when things start to get interesting…
The PHEV race is also interesting to see, the leader is still last year winner, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, in #4, but the Japanese SUV has to keep up the pace with the new #5 Audi A3 PHEV, that is ending its career on a high note, without forgetting also the #6 VW Passat GTE.
And even the #7 Mercedes E300e/de family have a shot at winning the PHEV category, especially now that, thanks to the new incentives, the PHEV versions will become even more price-competitive compared to their fossil siblings, so Mercedes better find an extra supply of batteries for the E300, because the company will surely need them!
Speaking of the big Mercedes, it has once again regained the lead in the luxury category, after surpassing the Audi e-tron and becoming the new top dog in this (high end) race, and the good news for Mercedes hasn’t stopped there, as its new baby, the compact A250e, joined the ranking, in#20, with this young one scoring another record performance, with 562 units.
It has been said that Mercedes is having trouble in ramping up production of its small plugin model, due to the lack of available batteries, so once that issue is over, the A250e should reach higher places in the table.
And while some climb the table, others are on their way down, like the case of the BMW 330e — as if it wasn’t enough to be trounced surpassed by the Rock Star Tesla Model 3, the Bimmer also saw its Mercedes-Benz C300e/de arch rival say bye bye and jump ahead, and now even the Volvo S/V60 PHEV twins are ahead of it!
You might be thinking, “Oh, the horror! Oh, the tragedy!” (Then again, maybe not.)
There’s a lot of merit from the Swedes, which scored yet another record performance, with 587 registrations, allowing them to jump 3 spots in the table.
There were other models shining as well. The #15 Hyundai Kona EV scored a year best score of 381 units last month, while the Opel Grandland X PHEV was up one spot, to #17, thanks to a record 456 registrations (it’s in these kinds of markets that Opel becomes an asset to PSA). Meanwhile, the Ford Kuga PHEV finally joined the table, in #19, making it the first Ford to join this top 20.
Outside the top 20, a reference is due for the #21 Skoda Citigo EV, which is just 55 units from joining the table. Additionally, the Mercedes GLC300e registered 337 units, the GLC’s best score since 2017, while the Volvo XC60 PHEV scored 306 units, a new personal best, highlighting Volvo’s good moment. The Porsche Taycan continues to ramp up deliveries, having registered a record 246 units in June.
In the brand ranking, Volkswagen (16%) leads the way and Audi (11%) is the runner-up, making a 1–2 lead for the Volkswagen Group, while a slowing BMW (9%, down 1 percentage point) lost the last place on the podium to a rising Mercedes (10%, up 2 points). The #5 Renault (8%, up 1 point) is now reinforced with the Captur and Megane PHEVs, and is also looking to surpass the Bavarian automaker.
BMW needs to get its act together if it wants to benefit from the upcoming sales bonanza. For now, things aren’t looking great. BMW i3 sales are down 44% YoY in a booming market. While a year ago BMW had two PHEVs (530e and 225xe) in the top 10, now its best placed PHEV is the 330e, in #14, and like mentioned before, it’s not in its best shape. … As a consequence of all this, while a year ago BMW was leading its domestic market with 19% share, now it is only #4 with 9%. On the flip side, a year ago, Volkswagen was only 5th, with 7% share. How quickly things can change.
So, BMW now needs to throw the kitchen sink (meaning adding the 330e/530e Touring versions and the X2 PHEV, as well as starting deliveries of the iX3 as soon as possible, while focusing on quickly developing the i4). As the market goes into warp speed and disruptions start to occur, it is decision time for the German OEMs, with Volkswagen Group being the major force behind the current momentum and Mercedes (Mercedes!) picking up pace, thanks to a strong PHEV lineup. As a result, BMW is losing room to grow. For how long?