65% Plugin Vehicle Share in the Netherlands! Volkswagen ID.3 Shines!

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The top 10 vehicles in the Netherlands in December in terms of registrations were all 100% electric vehicles.

December was the second best month ever in the Dutch market for plugin vehicle sales, with 23,150 plugin registrations. That score was only behind the all-time record set a year ago when the EU’s CO2 fleet rules joined local fiscal changes to create the mother of all inflated record months — over 30,000 plugin vehicles were registered in one month. That translated into a Norway-like 72% plugin vehicle (PEV) share, with 69% share from just full battery-electric vehicles (BEV).

Sure, with numbers a step below what we had a year ago, shares aren’t as impressive, but still, the plugin share last month reached 65% (59% BEV alone), pulling the 2021 plugin share to 30% (20% BEV). That’s a positive increase over the previous year’s result of 25% (21% BEV). Although, one should highlight that growth came from PHEVs (from 4% in 2020 to 10% in 2021), not from BEVs (down from 21% to 20%). Something for the local policymakers to think about….

Still, these numbers are well above the 15% plugin share of 2019 and the 6% of 2018, so one can’t really complain too much, and although BEVs represented 82% of plugin registrations in 2020, to just the 67% of this year, growth is growth, so the Dutch market continues on the right track.

Looking into 2022, after the usual sales hangover in Q1, something this market is used to, expect things to pick up again around Q2/Q3, ending 2022 with another great result and probably pulling the plugin share well above the 30% mark.

Looking at last month’s best sellers, and comparing the results to the last December peak, we are now witnessing a much more democratic ranking. In December 2020, the Volkswagen ID.3 represented 20% of the registrations. Last month’s winner, the Skoda Enyaq, had just 7% of all plugin vehicle registrations. This is another sign of a maturing market, where choice expands at a faster rate than the market itself, leading to lower shares of the leading models and an increased balance between the players in the market.

Also interesting to acknowledge, with 65% plugin share, the plugin market basically merged with the overall market in December, as proven by the fact that the overall top 10 was 100% BEV. The first pure ICE model (VW Polo) only appeared in #13. … How long will it take for the yearly ranking to look like this?

Looking at last month’s best sellers, we should disclose first that December registrations are not very representative of general market dynamics, because of the usual rush to allocate BEVs before the year end. The results have more to do with the OEMs’ capability to allocate units to this market than anything else.

Still, we should notice that Volkswagen Group had its own version of a Tesla high tide and not only won the Best Seller title in December, with the Skoda Enyaq, but also placed 4 Volkswagen Group models in the top 5 (#3 VW ID.4, #4 Audi Q4 e-tron, #5 Cupra Born). The 5th best MEB-based model, the VW ID.3, also joined the top 10, in 8th.

It’s funny how the ID.3, presented as the poster child of the MEB platform, was the model with lowest sales of all the five MEB-based models. … Anyway, of these five Volkswagen Group models, two hit record months in December (the Skoda Enyaq and the Audi Q4 e-tron), while the Spanish twin of the ID.3 (with more salero), the Cupra Born, had its first full delivery month and an impressive 1,134 registrations.

And in such a strong month, records were aplenty in the table, with 12 out of the 20 top models hitting best ever performances. Highlighting just a few, both the #10 Hyundai Ioniq 5 and #12 Kia EV6 hit record scores, with the Kia in particular impressing by the fact that December was just its 3rd delivery month in the Netherlands. It’s almost the same story with the #11 Tesla Model Y, which hit a record 908 registrations in its 5th month here. Expect Tesla’s crossover to become the automaker’s star player in this market, easily outselling its Model 3 sibling.

On the PHEV side, we almost didn’t have any model to mention, as the Best Selling model was the recently introduced Lynk & Co 01 PHEV in 15th (812 registrations, a new record). That’s an impressive performance for the young brand, which seems to indicate that once Geely’s “youth brand” gets its hands on some BEV models, it could become a true mass market brand in the Dutch market, complementing the Volvo/Polestar premium approach. To be continued….

Outside the top 20, and still in the Geely–Volvo Group, the fully electric Volvo C40 had its first full month. It landed 353 deliveries. Meanwhile, another recent model also had its first volume month — the BMW iX squirrel scored 229 deliveries in December and is looking to displace the Audi e-tron from the full size category leadership position in 2022.

Other models shining were the hot hatch Mini Cooper EV (362 registrations), the compact crossover Mercedes EQA (300 registrations), the little Renault Twingo (240 registrations), and the stylish Opel Mokka EV (212 registrations).

Looking at the 2021 ranking, after leading in a good part of the year, the Kia Niro EV lost once again to a Volkswagen Group model. This time it wasn’t the Volkswagen ID.3, but rather the Skoda Enyaq, which took the 2021 Best Seller award. The Enyaq also ended up 5th in the overall ranking. The Volkswagen ID.4 won the bronze medal in the last stage of the race, at the expense of the Volvo XC40 PHEV, thus completing a 100% BEV podium.

The Czech BEV was the 6th different model to win the Best Seller title since 2015, the others being the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (Remember when the Dutch were positively in love with that model? How things have changed.), the Volkswagen Passat PHEV, the Tesla Model S, the Tesla Model 3, and the Volkswagen ID.3. This diversity says a lot about the balance of this market and the changing tastes/policies in this market. So, will the Skoda EV retain the title in 2022?

As seen in the previous paragraph, in this market, one can always expect surprises, so I can’t really say who will win this year’s title, but one thing is for sure — as it stands right now, the Skoda Enyaq is the most competitive model in the Volkswagen Group stable, being quite possibly the best sensible family-friendly EV in Europe. With the SUV-coupé body coming soon, things look good for the Czech model, which kind of reminds one of the kind of sports story where players come from the lower leagues, no one really has big expectations for them, and then they surprise all the top players on the big playing fields.

So, maybe it’s time to take the Skoda Enyaq to the biggest EV stage (China) in the world? Wink wink, Volkswagen….

Elsewhere, the Volvo XC40 PHEV had a horrible month, being surpassed by the VW ID.4 and the Ford Mustang Mach-E. Even its cousin, the Lynk & Co 01 PHEV, managed to get ahead of the Swede, stealing the PHEV Best Seller title from it.

The BMW iX3 was up one spot, ending the year in 7th, while in the second half of the table, the Audi Q4 e-tron climbed to #12, ending ahead of last year’s best seller, the VW ID.3, which this year had to settle for the 13th spot.

With so many BEVs getting record scores in December, the last positions in the top 20 received a thorough overhaul, with five new entrants in the last stage of the race. The Hyundai Ioniq 5 joined the table in #15, immediately followed by its cousin Kia EV6 in #16, while the Tesla Model Y ended the year in #18 and the Opel Corsa EV in #20.

Looking at size categories, the Fiat 500e won the city car category for the first time, with 1,039 registrations, the Peugeot e-208 EV has finally beaten its arch-rival Renault Zoe, in the midsize category the Ford Mustang Mach-E took the prize without a sweat. This is a category that all of the sudden has swollen with competitors. In 2020, there were just three midsize models in the top 2o (the Tesla Model 3, Polestar 2, and Volvo S/V60 PHEV), while now we have seven midsizers in the table (Mustang Mach-E; BMW iX3; Model 3; Polestar 2; Ioniq 5; Kia EV6; and Model Y).

In the light commercial vehicle (LCVs) category, we have a rather unexpected winner, with a Toyota winning the race — in this case, it is the Proace van, a Toyota-badged Stellantis van, which means that there is demand for fully electric Toyotas — you just need to have them available.

In the manufacturer ranking, Kia (10%) won the best selling automaker title for the first time, ending ahead of Volvo (9%, down 1 percentage point) and BMW (9%).

Skoda ended just behind the podium, followed by Volkswagen and Ford, each with 7%.

In more proof that this market is constantly changing, of the top 3 brands in 2020 (Volkswagen, Tesla, and Volvo), only the Swedish brand remained on the podium! In the model table, this was even more extreme. The 2o2o best seller was only #13, last year’s runner up Tesla Model 3 was 9th, while 2020 bronze medalist Hyundai Kona EV didn’t even show up in the top 20.

In the OEM table, winner Volkswagen Group benefited from good performances from Audi, Skoda, and Cupra to gain 2% share and end the year with 24% share. Geely-Volvo (15%) was the runner-up, with Lynk & Co and Polestar compensating for a slower than usual month from Volvo.

Hyundai–Kia took Bronze, while off the podium, we saw a last-minute position change, with the melting pot Stellantis conglomerate surpassing BMW Group in December.

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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