Tesla Model 3 Still #1 In France’s EV Market, Renault Zoe #1 in May

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The French plugin vehicle market continues in the fast lane, with May’s plugin share reaching 17% last month (8.2% BEV), pulling the YTD share to a record 15% (7.1% BEV), which is a good 4 percentage point increase over the 2020 result (11%), while the 20% share I predicted for the whole year looks well on target.

Interestingly, most of the growth is coming from PHEVs, with plugin hybrids representing 53% of registrations in May, 1 percentage point above this year’s average and a significant jump over the 40% they had in 2020. Maybe it’s time to cut subsidies on plugin hybrids?

For the first time this year, in May, the Renault Zoe managed to win its domestic Best Seller trophy, thanks to 2,577 registrations, a new year best. So, it looks like the French automaker has (finally) recovered from the late 2020 registration fever and is back to its usual self. Expect the Zoe to collect a few more trophies during the coming months. …

… But not in June, because that one seems destined for the Tesla Model 3, which pulled out a surprising 2,111 registrations last month. The sports sedan seems set to score a new personal best next month (5,000 units? 6,000?), thus beating the expected 3,000–3,500 June score of the Renault Zoe.

These are bad news for the Peugeot e-208, 4th in May with 1,199 units, because not only are the top 2 in good shape, but so is stablemate Peugeot 3008 PHEV (#3 with 1,712 registrations). Thanks to its recent facelift, the 3008 PHEV in top form, scoring another near-record score. This means that the small Pug should only have a chance at a podium seat in July, when the Model 3 takes its usual vacation month off.

In the first half of the table, the biggest surprise is the appearance of SAIC’s MG eHS PHEV in #7, with 590 deliveries, shattering its previous record and creating an impressive result for the Sino-British SUV. This is the highest standing ever for a SAIC model in France.

Another surprise in the first half of the table is the instant success of the #8 Hyundai Tucson PHEV, which scored 578 units right in its landing month. Expect the popular Korean SUV to continue riding this wave of success, maybe even scoring a few top 5 position soon.

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Elsewhere, a mention goes out to the record score of the #19 Audi Q3 PHEV, with 359 registrations, while its less aspirational relative, the Volkswagen Tiguan PHEV, was #20, with 338 registrations.

Below the top 20, a mention is due for the 331 deliveries of the popular Ford Kuga PHEV, while the Skoda Enyaq had 234 registrations in only its second month on the market, and keeping with the Volkswagen Group compact SUV/crossover topic, the new Cupra Terminator Formentor PHEV had a record 253 registrations last month. So, the sporty crossover could be another candidate for a top 20 presence.

Looking at the 2021 ranking, the Peugeot e-208 had a steep crash from its leadership position, with the Tesla Model 3 (new #1), Peugeot 3008 PHEV (#2), and Renault Zoe (#3) all surpassing the Peugeot EV. In fact, this is the first time this year that the Zoe is ahead of its arch rival. …

But not all are roses on the Renault team, as the Twingo lost significant ground to its Stellantis rival (only 490 registrations last month), with the French EV hanging by a thread (or 13 of them, to be more accurate) in the 6th position. The Fiat 500e is looking set to climb one position next month to beat the local hero in the city car category.

The second half of the table had a number of changes, namely the Volvo XC40 PHEV climbing one position, to #12, which was the same number of positions that the Mini Cooper EV climbed, now in #15.

In the last positions on the table, the Renault Megane PHEV jumped two spots, to #18, while the Ford Kuga PHEV joined the table in #20.

Looking at the manufacturer ranking, Peugeot (18%) and Renault (15%) are stable in the top positions, while Tesla (8% share, up 1 point) closes out the podium, ahead of the rising Mercedes (7%, up 1 point) and Volkswagen (6%).

As for OEMs, Stellantis is the major force, with a commanding 30% share, with the Renault-Nissan Alliance far behind, with only 16%, while the best foreign OEM is Volkswagen Group, with 13% share (up 2 points), well ahead of Tesla, BMW Group, and Daimler.

It is impressive that Tesla, with only one model, can sell as many as both German premium OEMs, which have lengthy plugin lineups, isn’t it?

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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 468 posts and counting. See all posts by José Pontes