One of our friends and faithful readers shared this morning that the Tesla Model 3 just surpassed the Tesla Model S in Norway in terms of all-time sales. At the moment he shared the news, the Model 3 had 21,070 all-time sales in the country and the Model S had 21,069.
Interestingly, and perhaps to the surprise of some (or many) Tesla fans, the Model 3 is not yet the all-time best seller in the Norwegian EV market. The Nissan LEAF has more than 3 times as many sales, the Volkswagen e-Golf has more than twice as many sales, and even the BMW i3 has more sales (for now).
— 🚀 🐉 Don't Bet Against Elon 🐉🚀 (@SteveHamel16) December 19, 2020
A few extra thoughts pop out here.
First of all, the overall sales volumes look quite small. We are so used to writing about Norway’s superb, amazing, unmatched EV market share, and everyone realizes it’s a small auto market overall, but 21,000 all-time sales looks so small compared to Tesla’s current quarterly sales and all-time sales. But there are indeed just over 5 million people living in Norway.
The other thing is that the two top sellers are vehicle classes that are extremely popular overall. The LEAF and the e-Golf are electric versions of vehicle types that you see all over European roads, because they offer the right mix of practicality and moderate cost. We’re seeing the same trend play out in Europe as a whole. The Model 3 (and Model Y) can certainly keep climbing the ladder because, as far as I can see, they offer the most value for the money, as well as some top features no one else offers. However, one thing is clear about the auto market — people like diversity. People embed their identity into their vehicles to a large degree, and that leads to people favoring different vehicle classes, brands, and designs. The Model 3 and Model Y will continue to be major sellers there, but so will the Volkswagen ID.3, Volkswagen ID.4, Audi e-tron, Renault ZOE, and new or scaling-up models.
Also note that Norway was running at a fast clip long before others, for years. So, it was racking up sales of the Model S, ZOE, i3, and LEAF long before the Model 3 arrived. I think that also contributes to the somewhat surprising all-time sales split. That said, 2020 has brought its own changes, and perhaps surprises.
Revisiting recent sales, here are the top 10 passenger vehicles (of any type) sold in Norway in the first 11 months of the year (note that Tesla heavily focuses its deliveries on the last month of the quarter):
As you can see, there are 9 fully electric vehicles on the list and only one plugin hybrid — and nothing without a plug. However, the top 3 are Volkswagen Group models, and the two following that are the relatively compact and affordable LEAF and Kona EV. The Model 3 will very likely climb above them in December — but it’s not clear yet how high the Model 3 will climb, and the #1 position seems out of reach.
For even further context, though, below are the country’s 20 top selling plugin vehicles in 2019. The Model 3 nearly doubled the sales of the second best selling vehicle in the country last year. So, it could certainly have been expected that there would be a drop-off in sales in 2020, since many people who were eagerly waiting for the car for years had already got it in 2019. Combining 2019 and 2020 sales, there is no contest. But the big question is: what does 2021 bring?
Any remaining thoughts?