Tesla Model 3 & Volkswagen ID.4 Shine in the Netherlands in March

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The Dutch plugin vehicle (PEV) market dropped 4% in March, to 4,834 plugin registrations, but that result wasn’t all that bad considering that the overall market fell even more (-18% YoY). Last month’s PEV share was at 20% (9% BEV), pushing the year-to-date PEV share to 15% (5.6% BEV), which is still significantly down from last year’s full-year result (25%), but already on par with the 2019 score (15%).

Considering that the first quarter of the year is always the weakest, and the last the strongest, to make this a fairer comparison, it’s best to compare the current share with what was going on 12 months ago, and by doing so, we do see positive results. Market share grew by 3% YoY (15% vs. 12%) in Q1. Although, one must also note that BEVs saw their share fall (9% a year ago vs. the current 5.6%), so the market’s motor of growth is actually PHEVs….

Breaking down the registration split between the two plugin powertrains, BEVs recovered a bit from the month prior and are now responsible for 37% — a 5 percentage point recovery. However, they are far from the 75% of 12 months ago, and even further away from the final 82% of 2020. Expect pure electrics to continue recovering ground throughout the year, but one thing looks certain: with BEVs gradually losing their fiscal incentives year after year, plugin hybrids are regaining their strong showing in the market from years ago, highlighting just how sensitive to incentives the plugin market still is.

In March, the leader was the Tesla Model 3, scoring its first win since September, this time with 341 units. That relegated the previous leader, the Volvo XC40 PHEV, to the second spot. In 3rd we have the Volkswagen ID.4, which after a surprise landing last December (#4, with 2,408 units) has finally started charting its regular course. It landed a podium position, while its sibling ID.3 failed to show up in the top 20….

Off the podium, in 4th place we already have a surprise, with the Ford Kuga PHEV scoring its best result since last July (179 registrations). In #6 we have the BMW iX3 showing up for the first time on the table, thanks to a record 159 registrations. The veteran Nissan “Abe Simpson” Leaf is teaching the young ones a thing or two about sales. (“Now, when I was a young boy, Abraham Lincoln showed up in my dreams and … Hey! Who stole my rear bumper?!?!?”). Last month was the LEAF’s best result this year, 134 registrations.

The second half of the table also had a few surprises, like the Mercedes A250e showing up in #12, with a record 101 registrations, and two Opels in the table — the SUV Grandland X PHEV in #14, with a record 95 units, and the small crossover Mokka EV in #17, with 83 units, a promising start for the attractive Opel.

Speaking of new models, March witnessed the landing of two other nameplates that might show up in the top 20 soon, with the Kia Sorento PHEV starting its career with 54 registrations and the Mercedes EQA having its first 38 registrations in this market. After its older brother EQC’s discreet career on the market (insert short range comment), Mercedes hopes the EQA will become its volume mover in this market, where the three-pointed-star brand trails (way) behind its arch rival, BMW.

Looking at the 2021 ranking, the two main candidates for the 2021 Best Seller prize have finally came out to play, with the Tesla Model 3 and Volkswagen ID.4 jumping to the 3rd and 4th positions, respectively.

Another model climbing was the Ford Kuga PHEV, which jumped four positions to #5. The Renault Captur PHEV joined the table this month, in #12.

But the momentum belonged to BEVs. Besides the aforementioned Tesla Model 3 and Volkswagen ID.4, the BMW iX3 also joined the table, in #17, and there were several pure electric models climbing positions, like the Kia Niro EV (up two spots to #9), Volvo XC40 EV (up to #11), and Polestar 2 (from #18 to #15). After starting the year with just 5 representatives in the top 20, BEVs now have 8, and they should be the majority by June.

In the manufacturer ranking, Volvo (17%, down 1 percentage point) is firm as the #1 brand, with BMW (14%, down 1 point) safely in the runner-up position. A distant Volkswagen (5%, up 2 points) now closes out the podium, ahead of Renault and Kia, both with 4%.

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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 466 posts and counting. See all posts by José Pontes