The European passenger plugin vehicle market is staying in the fast lane. More than 155,000 plugin vehicles were registered in August — which is +60% year over year (YoY). This performance is even more impressive when we consider that the overall auto market is in the doldrums. August 2021 was the weakest August since 2014, which was when the European economy was still recovering from The Great Recession!
With plugin registrations rising fast and the overall market shrinking significantly, plugin vehicle market share had to rise significantly, and it did. Last month’s plugin vehicle share of the overall European auto market was 22% (12% full electrics/BEVs), which pulled the 2021 plugin vehicle (PEV) share to 17% (8% for BEVs alone).
Growth came from both plugin fields, with BEVs (+72% YoY) outrunning PHEVs (+47%) this time, allowing them to represent the majority of registrations in August (56% vs 44%). So, pure electrics should surpass plugin hybrid registrations by the end of the year, especially considering that September should represent another strong month for BEVs thanks to the Tesla end-of-quarter peak. The ongoing BEV push from Volkswagen Group and others (Renault, Ford) will help them to overcome PHEVs as well.
#1 Volkswagen ID.3 — The German hatchback is slowly returning to form, and after a close race with the Tesla Model 3, it won last month’s Best Seller title, getting 8,025 deliveries last month, its best score in 2021. The 2020 pre-registration units are reportedly now cleared out, but we can expect it to be a regular presence on the podium for the remainder of the year, maybe even winning a couple more monthly best seller titles. Regarding August, the ID.3’s sales performance had its home market as its main source of sales. Germany logged 3,750 registrations, or almost half of the model’s European deliveries. (Had this happened in September, I would say that VW is following Tesla’s strategy of delivering the most recent production closer to home, so it could deliver more units per quarter….). Germany was followed from afar by the United Kingdom in #2 (810 units) and Norway in #3 (649 units).
#2 Tesla Model 3 — The sports sedan had another great month, scoring 7,878 deliveries in August. It will be interesting to see if the Model 3 will be affected by the arrival of its younger but larger and more practical Model Y sibling. Trying to identify the first signs of how these two models will act together, while the Model Y deliveries were spread out in a number of countries, with a focus on the Nordic countries, the Model 3 deliveries were focused on the two largest markets, with Germany (2,946 units) and France (2,541) being the only countries reaching four-digit scores — both markets counted together represent the bulk (70%) of Model 3 deliveries in August. The 3rd largest score came from Norway, which accounted for just 774 units.
#3 Volkswagen ID.4 — Sitting on the vortex of the current hottest trends (plugins and compact crossovers), much is expected from the new Volkswagen, and in August the Volkswagen crossover lived up to some of those expectations and collected a bronze medal thanks to 4,844 registrations. Regarding last month’s performance, while ID.3 deliveries were focused very heavily on Germany and the #1 market for the ID.4 was also Germany (1,278), ID.4 deliveries continued to have a particularly Scandinavian tone, with Norway (861 units), Sweden (553 units), and Denmark (414) being the crossover’s 2nd, 3rd, and 4th best markets.
#4 Renault Zoe — Its 4,065 deliveries in August show that the French hatchback has recovered its cruising speed. Expect the second half of the year to show a couple of strong results, maybe already in September. In any case, the main markets in August were the usual, with France (1,179 units) and Germany (1,578) leading by far (one could even say that Renault — like VW with the ID.3 — delivered its August production closer to home in order to increase its month tally). Italy was a distant 3rd (199 units).
#5 Ford Mustang Mach-E — Ford’s midsize EV continues to ramp up deliveries in Europe. This was its 4th record score in a row. This time around, with 3,743 registrations, it managed to beat the #6 Skoda Enyaq and score a top 5 presence. This allowed it to represent 12%(!) of all Ford registrations in August! That’s an amazing number, but it also makes one realize that the American brand’s midsize and full-size offerings in Europe have failed to succeed in recent years (the Mondeo is marching toward retirement, the Explorer is niche, and the Ford Edge … well, let’s not even go there). The fact that Ford has a success story in the midsize category is a story in itself, regardless of the powertrain. Interestingly, while other brands in this top 5 focused their deliveries on the two largest markets in Europe, Germany and France, the best markets for the Ford model were evenly distributed, with Norway leading (907 units), followed by the Netherlands (437 units), Germany (411), Sweden (303), Austria (294), and … Denmark (254), where Ford plugins continue to be on a roll. (Does anyone knows why both the Ford Kuga PHEV and Mustang Mach-E are so popular in Denmark?!?)
Looking at the rest of the August table, one should highlight that the Best Selling PHEV was only #7 and there were only 6 plugin hybrids in the top 20, with the Ford Kuga PHEV winning the category trophy in August thanks to 3,674 registrations, just 12 units ahead of the #8 Mercedes GLC PHEV, which challenged the Ford crossover for the category leadership position until the end.
But the highlight of the top 10 is the landing of the Tesla Model Y, in 10th, with an impressive 3,543 deliveries. Expect the new Tesla crossover to already be in the race for the leadership position next month, as some 15,000 units are expected to be delivered in September.
In the second half of the table, the highlight belongs to another recent addition to the market, with the Hyundai Ioniq 5 jumping to #16 with a record 2,321 deliveries, just 300 units behind Hyundai’s current best seller, the Kona EV. Will the retro XL hatchback beat its smaller sibling in September?
Below the top 20, the attractive Audi Q4 e-tron continued to ramp up deliveries, getting 2,082 registrations but narrowly failing to land a top 20 presence — by just 6 units. No doubt, its numbers will increase significantly, maybe providing a top 20 spot for the German SUV in September, which would mean 4 MEB-based models in the top 20.
Finally, the quirky Mazda MX-30 had its best score so far in 2021, with 1,174 units, so we might have a surprise coming from this crossover-that-thinks-it’s-a-sportscar soon.
Looking at the 2021 ranking, the main news was the #3 Renault Zoe falling too far back from the target range of the #2 Volkswagen ID.3. With some 6,000 units separating them, the German hatchback now has enough distance over the French model to have its silver medal secured.
Another thing for Volkswagen to be happy about is the Volkswagen ID.4 climbing to 4th, with the added tally of both the ID.3 and ID.4 being enough to beat the leader, the Tesla Model 3. Now, if this will end like that in 2021 is a different matter….
Speaking of BEVs being on the rise, expect both the Kia Niro EV and Hyundai Kona EV to climb one position soon, as the Volvo XC40 PHEV seems to have lost the wind from its sails. Meanwhile, the #10 Fiat 500e is now officially the best selling Stellantis model in the stable, no doubt helped by the fact that it doesn’t have any platform competitor that could steal sales from it. Interestingly, the little EV already represents 8% of all Fiat sales in 2021, while in August alone it represented 12% of the Italian brand’s sales. Yep, that’s #Disruption for you!
Another model on the rise is the Skoda Enyaq, which jumped to #15 and should reach the top 10 in a few months.
Interestingly, BEVs are now the majority in the top 20, with 12 representatives, and the best selling PHEV (Ford Kuga PHEV) is only 5th. Expect this trend to consolidate through the rest of the year.
Unlike the model ranking, where the leadership position is not really up for discussion, in the automaker ranking, things are more balanced, but Volkswagen (11%) is wisely managing its advantage over #2 BMW (9%) and #3 Mercedes (9%). Expect Volkswagen to take this trophy home by the end of the year.
Off the podium, Tesla, Volvo, Peugeot, and Audi all have 6% share, but expect the Californian automaker to move ahead in September thanks to its quarter-end peak.
Arranging things by automotive group, Volkswagen Group is far ahead, with 25% share, safely above Stellantis (14%). The multinational conglomerate, meanwhile, put more ground between it and its closest pursuers, BMW Group (11%) and Daimler (10%, down 1 point). So, expect Stellantis to take the silver medal this year — not bad for an OEM that many insist is a Dead Duck….
Do not expect Volkswagen Group to lose its commanding position in Europe anytime soon, as neither Stellantis (not enough firepower at the higher end of the market) nor Daimler or BMW (not enough firepower at the lower end of the market) are in a position to challenge the Volkswagen Galaxy.
Finally, Hyundai–Kia (9%) has surpassed the Renault-Nissan Alliance, increasing concerns about the future of the French-Japanese group.
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