Tesla Model 3 Shines in France As Plugin Vehicles Reach 20% Market Share!

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The French plugin vehicle market took its usual holiday in August, with last month’s plugin registrations ending at 17,404 units, divided between 9,916 BEVs and 7,488 PHEVs. The former jumped 78% year over year (YoY), while the latter were up 42%.

In isolation, these numbers might sound meh. After all, we were spoiled by doubling or tripling sales every month, but it is still the best August ever, by a wide margin, and if you compare it with the overall market, which is down 32% compared to pre-Covid August 2019, then things look much more positive. Regarding the plugin vehicle share of the country’s overall auto market, it reached 20% last month (11% BEV). Pure electrics outsold PHEVs — 57% share of the plugin market vs 43% rate — allowing the year-to-date (YTD) rate to become more balanced (49% BEV vs 51% PHEV). Expect BEVs to recover in the remainder of the year and become the majority once again.

The year-to-date (YTD) registrations are now over 162,000 units, keeping the market share of plugin vehicles at a record 16% (8% BEV). That is a good 5 percentage point increase over the 2020 result (11%), and it looks like France is on target for the 20% share I previously predicted for the whole year.

For some powertrains to go up, others need to come down, and that is what is happening to regular petrol and diesel sales, with the former (petrol) representing 38% of sales in August in the overall market, against 46% a year ago, and the latter (diesel) falling even harder, having just 18% of sales last month, a steep 12 percentage point drop compared to August 2020. And this in what was once a diesel-loving market. So, this is what disruption looks like…. At this pace, diesel sales will be dead in just two years time!

Last month’s best seller was the Tesla Model 3, thanks to 2,541 deliveries, its best off-peak result ever. Could this prelude another record month for the Tesla midsizer in September? Like, over 5,000 units? This could be something to see, especially considering that the Model Y has landed last month with a modest 117 units. It seems the American brand is focusing deliveries of its most recent model on Northern Europe, where the Y’s shadow had apparently been preventing the Model 3 from excelling recently.

In the remaining positions on the podium, the Renault Zoe barely kept silver, as the #3 Peugeot e-208 ended just 144 units below its arch rival at 1,033 deliveries.

In 4th and 5th, we have two crossovers, with the Peugeot 3008 PHEV in 4th and SAIC’s MG ZS EV surprising everyone last month (me included) by getting a record performance in the slowest month of the year — 659 registrations. That’s an amazing score that will make us keep an eye on the Anglo-Chinese EV in the coming months as we wonder if this was a one-off thing or if MG opened the gates to the French market.

Elsewhere, a mention goes out to the #8 Volkswagen ID.3, which scored 388 registrations, a good performance for the hatchback model that could preview a regular presence here during the next 4 months. The same could be said about the Mini Cooper EV, #9 in August, up from 14th in the previous month.

In the second half of the table, we have the #16 Audi Q5 PHEV and #17 Mercedes A250e scoring year-best results thanks to 265 and 264 registrations, respectively, while we have two Peugeots (2008 EV and 508 PHEV) closing out the table.

Below the top 20, it was a slow month, with even future best sellers switching off in the holiday season, like the case of the Hyundai Ioniq 5 (114 units). Still, besides the aforementioned landing of the Tesla Model Y, a mention is due to the unexpectedly good career of the Jeep Wrangler PHEV in French territory (127 units last month), while the Skoda Enyaq (168 units) nearly outsold its Volkswagen sibling, the ID.4 (170 units), posing once again the question: Is this due to the Czech’s merits, or is it the other way around?… (To be, or not to be….)

Looking at the 2021 ranking, the leader Tesla Model 3 once again took off, winning by a substantial margin over the runner-up Renault Zoe, while in the race for bronze, the Peugeot e-208 recovered ground on its 3008 PHEV stablemate, which could mean that we will have a 100% BEV podium by the end of the year. (Fingers crossed!)

The Fiat 500e is also getting closer to the #5 Renault Captur PHEV, so we could see a third Stellantis model in the top 5 soon.

When looking for actual positions changes, we need to go down to the second half of the table, with the first being the Mercedes GLC300e/de returning to #11. In #13 we now have the Hyundai Kona EV, which surpassed the Volvo XC40 PHEV last month. At the bottom of the table we now have the Jeep Compass PHEV in #19, up one spot compared to the previous month, while the Volvo XC60 PHEV returned to the table in #20.

Looking at the manufacturer ranking, Peugeot (16%, down 1 percentage point) has kept good distance over rival Renault (14%, down 1%) in the race for the title, while Tesla (9% share, up 1 point) closed out the podium ahead of Mercedes (6%) and Volkswagen (5%).

As for OEMs, Stellantis is the major force, with a commanding 30% share (down 1 percentage point last month). The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance is far behind in #2, with only 15% share, while the best foreign OEM is Volkswagen Group, with 13% share.

Off the podium, we now have Tesla in 4th (9%, up 1 point), after surpassing Hyundai-Kia (8%).

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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 477 posts and counting. See all posts by José Pontes