Koreans Shine In Slow Selling EV Month In France

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Even with the overall automotive market back in the dog house (-20% in August), plugin sales continue to be immune to the surrounding doom and gloom, with plugin hybrids (PHEVs) up 269%, to 5,266 units, faring better than fully electric vehicles (BEVs), which were up only 167%, to 5,590 registrations, allowing plugin hybrids to have 49% of the plugin market last month, above this year’s average (35%) and quite possibly the highest share ever by plugin hybrids in this traditionally BEV-friendly market.

Nevertheless, looking at this year’s French market fuels split, there are already some disruptive market share changes, with petrol down 9% in share compared to the same period last year, to 50%. Diesel is also down, albeit a more moderate 3%, to 31%, to the profit of all electrified categories, starting with HEVs, up 4 percentage points (from the 5% of last year to the current 9%), passing by PHEVs that now have 3.3% of the market (reaching 5.1% last month), and ending with the 6% of BEVs (5.4% in August), allowing the 2020 PEV share to reach a record 9.3% (10.5% last month), which is a whole different level from the 2.8% of 2019.

Expect the numbers to improve slightly in the remainder of the year, with the 2020 tally possibly even reaching 10%, which would not only be a great achievement, but also the prelude for #Disruption ’21 — French Edition.

Looking at last month’s best sellers, the top two were the usual local heroes, but below them, we have an interesting surprise. Last month’s best selling foreigner, the Kia Niro EV, despite August being the slowest selling month in France, managed to have a record month, with 620 deliveries, allowing the Korean crossover to reach its first monthly medal in France.

The remaining positions went to the Peugeot 3008 PHEV, #4 with 583 registrations, while the 5th position went to the Hyundai Kona EV — which, thanks to increased availability from Czech production, allowed Hyundai–Kia to place two models in the French top 5.

Looking at the 2020 ranking, while the top 2 positions remain unattainable to others, the last position on the podium could still change hands. While the 3rd placed Peugeot 3008 PHEV has finally distanced itself in the PHEV category from its DS 7 PHEV arch rival, the #4 Tesla Model 3 can still steal the bronze medal from the French crossover, with 369 units separating the two models. With the Californian expecting to have its quarterly high tide next month, we could see it overcome the difference and surpass the high-riding Pug.

Off the podium, the Koreans, the Hyundai Kona EV and Kia Niro EV, deserve a mention. The Hyundai model is now just 6 units behind the #5 DS 7 PHEV, so it should surpass the French SUV next month, while the Kia also has a shot at surpassing the DS plugin hybrid in September, especially if it continues to score record performances.

In the second half of the table, we have the only position changes of the month, with the Mercedes GLC300e climbing to #12, switching positions with the now retired Citroen C-Zero dinosaur, while the rising star Volvo XC40 PHEV climbed another position, now staying at #14.

A surprise appearance on the table is the Volkswagen Golf GTE, which joined the table at #20, displacing the BMW i3. This is still the Golf VII body, not the new Golf VIII, which means this end-of-career peak could only be possible from fire-sale prices, something we knew Volkswagen had been providing in the past few months with the e-Golf, but apparently that was also the case with Golf GTE, at least in France.

But this should be a temporary presence. In fact, there are two other models fewer than 100 units behind the Volkswagen hatchback, as the #21 BMW i3 is just 17 units behind while its British cousin, the Mini Cooper EV, is #22, with 1,025 units. And the Mini hot hatch is on the rise, having scored a record 244 registrations in August.

Speaking of future new entries to the top 20, we should mention the #23 Opel Corsa EV, which scored 157 registrations in August, and the #24 Mercedes A250e, which is less than 200 units from the top 20 and had 260 registrations last month. Highlighting Mercedes’ good moment, not only is the GLC300e on the rise, but the A250e also has good prospectives to reach the top 20 soon, and there were the strong landings in August of the CLA250e (118 registrations) and the B250e (81 registrations). Amazingly, Mercedes is currently the best selling German brand in the French plugin market.

Speaking of which … in the brand ranking, the leader is, as always, Renault (25%), with Peugeot (21%) firmly in the 2nd spot, while a sliding DS (5%, down 1% point) is in the 3rd spot, just ahead of Tesla (also 5%).

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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 467 posts and counting. See all posts by José Pontes