Volkswagen Group Is #1 — By Far — In Fully Electric Vehicle Sales In 10 European Countries

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After reporting on top electric vehicle sales in 10 European countries, a reader indicated it would be even more interesting to see the combined sales numbers of different automotive groups or alliances in that region. It was an interesting idea, so I ran with it.

Aside from being another interesting way to combine and look at sales, it’s an interesting approach because, basically, it shows which automotive groups are seriously progressing (and which are not). It’s fun to look at model rankings, but one company or group may have 3–4 “competing” models that could be combined to have a fairer comparison (for example, we could combine the Volkswagen ID.4, SKODA Enyaq, and Audi e-tron for comparison against the Tesla Model Y — the former 3 are similarly sized electric vehicle models underneath the Volkswagen Group umbrella). Taking an ever bigger step back, we’ve got all electric vehicle sales from the overarching brands or groups/alliances — making a comparison of sales from all of their electric models combined gets us to true electric vehicle sales leadership in absolute terms (relative sales leadership, taking into account these companies’ fossil-fuel vehicle sales, is a different matter).

Before jumping into the group/alliance rankings, though, let’s revisit the plain auto brand charts.

Combined sales in Norway, the Netherlands, Spain, France, Germany, Switzerland, Finland, Ireland, Sweden, and Denmark.*
Combined sales in Norway, the Netherlands, Spain, France, Germany, Switzerland, Finland, Ireland, Sweden, and Denmark.*

As indicated in the earlier article, Volkswagen has a solid lead in those rankings. In January–April, the German auto giant had almost 17,000 more sales than Tesla in these 10 European countries. Renault and Peugeot were then 2,000–3,000 further behind.

Let’s now take that next step back and compare the sales results of the top 8 automotive groups or alliances.

Combined sales in Norway, the Netherlands, Spain, France, Germany, Switzerland, Finland, Ireland, Sweden, and Denmark.*
Combined sales in Norway, the Netherlands, Spain, France, Germany, Switzerland, Finland, Ireland, Sweden, and Denmark.*

Volkswagen Group pulls away even a little more than the Volkswagen brand itself when you look at the stats from this perspective. It stands in a whole different league than the rest of the pack.

Looking at the first 4 months of 2021, Tesla drops down to #5, while the Stellantis alliance (more than 10 automotive brands combined) shines much more than any of its individual brands, even passing up the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance.

The Hyundai–Kia duo comes in at #4 before the 100%-premium brands swoop in and start collecting ranking spots.

Volkswagen Group set out some years ago to truly go electric and become the top selling company in the electric vehicle market as quickly as possible. Many have laughed and scoffed, and it certainly hasn’t been 100% smooth sailing for the German giant, but its European results show that it is progressing quite well so far. Yes, it still needs to do much better in the United States and China to become the global leader (Tesla easily holds that title at the moment), so let’s not make this more than it is. However, it is a good and uplifting sign that Volkswagen Group is on track for more than 150,000 sales in Europe in 2021. (The total should be significantly larger, though, since more capacity is going online throughout the year.) If the conglomerate could match that in the US and China (it won’t in 2021), it could match Tesla’s 2020 global results. With Tesla aiming for nearly 1 million sales in 2021 (perhaps) and quick growth year after year, Volkswagen Group is still trying to catch up to a nimble competitor running at a fast pace, but at least we now have someone in the race! Also, in the real world (rather than a trite metaphor), Tesla and Volkswagen Group’s electric division are actually working in alliance to retire gasoline- and diesel-powered models and transition the whole automotive fleet to electricity stat. So, jumping back to metaphors, it’s just good news to see Tesla gain a competent partner in the mission to clean up the transportation sector.

What we need to do next is start looking at how these companies’ electric vehicle sales compare to their fossil-fuel vehicle sales. That will look much less rosy. Should we start now? Or should we wait until the charts won’t look too depressingly lopsided and shrink the electric vehicle results to broken little bars barely visible on the charts?

*Sales data courtesy of, with individual country results coming from official governmental sources.

These 10 European countries were used here because their official figures are published publicly. We’ll have a broader European EV sales report later in the month from EV-Volumes.

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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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