13% Plugin Vehicle Market Share In Germany!

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After a record month in August, the German plugin vehicle market had its second best month ever in August, with a little over 33,000 units registered, an amazing performance considering August is usually one of the slowest selling months of they year. This preludes what will be another record-breaking month in September, but more on that below…

Plugin hybrid (PHEV) registrations are going through the roof, up 448%(!) to 17,000 units, helping plugins as a whole jumping an amazing 319% last month. The plugin vehicle market share reached an amazing 13% (6.4% fully electric/BEV), pulling the yearly tally to 9.2% (4.3% BEV).

The incentive changes were the main reason for the recent surge, and with more record months to come (#Super-September), we may have already reached the tipping point in Germany, where disruption is visible and the status quo is changed forever. We should see this market reach 10% plugin share already this year (September? October?), which means 2021 should see this market surf the S-curve like Garret McNamara in Nazare.

The Tesla Model 3 surprised everyone in August, with a record 2,824 registrations in an off-peak month! (How high will it get in #Super-September? 4,000? It thus won its first monthly best seller award since March, relegating the Renault Zoe (2,210 units) to the runner-up spot at last. However, if the rumors of several thousand orders pouring in for the French EV are true, then we should see it reach record numbers (3,000+?) next month (#Super-September).

Below the two top sellers, the #3 Mercedes A250e scored yet another record score, with 1,939 deliveries. With a usable electric range (65 km/40 mi WLTP rating), competitive pricing (starts below €40,000), and even fast charging, expect the compact Mercedes to become a familiar face in this top 5.

Off the podium, we have the #4 Ford Kuga PHEV and #5 Hyundai Kona EV, both at near record levels, making this a foreign-heavy top 5, with only one model (Mercedes A250e) representing the home team.

Of course, next month we should see the local hero, the Volkswagen ID.3, rise to the occasion and probably win the Super-September best seller award — with, say, 6,000 units?

Of course, next month will signal the first official delivery month for the Volkswagen ID.3, and the German prodigy is set to land with a bang. All eyes are on the ID.3 to see if it can displace the Renault Zoe on the throne. In order to do so in 2020, however, it will need to race against time and deliver a large number of units in Q4 (some 16,000 units).

Regarding the 2020 table, there’s also plenty to talk about. On the podium, the Renault Zoe replaced the Volkswagen e-Golf in the leadership position, and with the German old-timer soon to move onto greener pastures, the French hatchback won’t have to worry any more about it, and with the new 3rd placed Tesla Model 3, some 5,000 units behind, the Renault model should have enough margin to keep it in the rearview mirror.

Will Volkswagen be able to take the top spot in 2020? If I had to bet my own money on it right now, I would go with the French hatchback winning its 3rd consecutive best seller title.

Back to September, why will it be Super? Well, with the estimated 6,000 units of the Volkswagen ID.3,  3,000 of the Renault Zoe, and some 4,000 deliveries of the Tesla Model 3, we should have 13,000 registrations of only three. Add the rest of the market — with, say, 30,000 units — and you get 43,000 units, not only a new record, but also record 14–15% plugin vehicle share!

The plugin hybrid (PHEV) race is also interesting, with leader Volkswagen Passat GTE (1,444 units, a new record for the second month in a row) now being threatened by the rising star Mercedes A250e, which jumped 7 spots, to #5, and is now some 1,000 units behind the Volkswagen midsizer. We could see the baby Mercedes reach the top of the category in a couple of months.

Speaking of Mercedes, the German OEM is ramping up production, and it shows. Not only is the A250e hatchback on fire, but its family siblings have also landed with positive numbers, with the CLA250e sports sedan registering 410 units in its first month, while the family-friendly B250e MPV delivered 202 units last month.

Other Mercedes that were shining were the GLC300e, which delivered 1,047 units, a new record for the Mercedes midsize PHEV, allowing it to be #21 in the year-to-date (YTD) table, only 9 units behind the Volvo S/V60 PHEV twins; and the GLE350de, which registered 100 units last month, the big Mercedes’ first three-digit score ever in its home market.

On the other hand, the EQC is still stuck in low numbers (239 units in August), and considering the decent numbers of the midsize EV in other markets, it seems local buyers are just not into the electric SUV.

Still, the three-pointed star automaker has more to think about, like the ramp up of the next-in-line models: the GLA250e (60 units in August, surely the first of thousands more this year) and the EQV (23 units last month).

Looking at other position changes, the Hyundai Kona EV was up 5 spots, to #6, the Ford Kuga PHEV jumped 3 positions, to #11, and should join the top 10 in the coming months, while the Smart Fortwo EV climbed to #14 and the Skoda Superb PHEV was up to #19.

Outside the top 20, a reference is due for the record 720 units of the Audi A6 PHEV and the 402 deliveries of the BMW X5 PHEV, while the Nissan Leaf (yes, it’s still on sale) surprised many by delivering 322 units last month, its best score in the last 21 months, and the Polestar 2 landed in Germany with 239 deliveries.

A final note for the Volkswagen ID.3. Preparing for the September flood, the German automaker registered 388 units in August — no doubt, demonstration units. This is an important step in the OEM’s Plan to Rule the EV World, currently in Year Zero.

In the brand ranking, Volkswagen (15%, down 1 point) leads the way and is now being most closely followed by the rising Mercedes (12%, up 1 point). Audi (10%, down 1 point) has been relegated to the last place on the podium. Interestingly, in just three months, Mercedes jumped from 4th to 2nd.

Off the podium, BMW (7%, down 1 point) has the #5 Renault (7%, down 1 point) breathing down its neck.

On a final note, Volkswagen Group’s total share is now at 30% (VW — 15%; Audi — 10%, Skoda — 3%; Porsche — 2%), well above the 15% (up 1 point) of Daimler Group or the 11% (down 1 point) of the Renault–Nissan Alliance. And BMW Group? Well … it’s at 8%, or almost half of Daimler.

And to think BMW won the previous 4 manufacturer titles. … The times, they are a-changin’!

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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