18% of New Cars Were Plugin Vehicles in France in January

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Dacia Spring is #1!

While the overall auto market fell off a cliff in January (-19% YoY), the French plugin passenger car market hit the accelerator, all thanks to pure electrics (BEVs) jumping 58%, to 10,217 registrations. Plugin hybrids (PHEVs) dropped 3% YoY, to 7,934 units,  allowing pure electrics to have 56% of plugin sales. So, it seems the French market is once again preferring BEVs over plugin hybrids.

Looking at overall market sales by fuel type, the demise of petrol and diesel is even more visible. The first dropped 32% YoY — to 38% share of the auto market, versus 45% a year ago. Meanwhile, the second was even worse, dropping 41% — to 18% share rather than the 25% of January 2021. At this pace, full diesel cars will be dead in the French new car market by 2025, while pure petrol ones should only hang on three more years, until 2028….

Plugless hybrids grew 13% YoY last month, to 22% share, which added to the 10% of BEVs (5% a year ago) and the 8% of PHEVs (7% a year ago). This means that 40% of the overall French market in January had some form of electrification. Not bad, eh?

This also means that the 2022 plugin vehicle (PEV) share started at 18% (10% BEV), which is significantly above the 12% share of 12 months ago (and miles away from the 3% of January 2019). This all points to the idea we will see the French market go north of the 25% mark this year, and maybe even reach 30% by the end of this year. We’ll see!

Looking at January’s best sellers, we have a surprise in the leadership position, with the little Dacia Spring starting the race in number one!

The Renault Zoe was the runner-up, while the Peugeot 3008 PHEV also started the year on a strong note. It not only won the “Best Selling PHEV” award in January, but also got 3rd place among plugins. It passed its stablemate, the Peugeot e-208 EV, which ended in 4th.

Highlighting a strong month from Peugeot, the compact 308 PHEV had its first true volume month, getting 687 registrations. That made it four Pugs in the top 10 (#3 — 3008 PHEV; #4 — 208 EV; #6 — 308 PHEV; #9 — 2008 EV). Stellantis, the relatively new automotive group Peugeot is part of, had 8 models in the top 20. Besides the Pug models, the cute Fiat 500e was 7th, Citroen’s C5 Aircross PHEV midsize SUV was 8th, the DS 7 Crossback PHEV premium SUV ended January in 17th, and it was tied with the striking Citroen C4 EV compact model.

Will the new Peugeot 308 PHEV have a word to say when it comes to the top positions? I don’t think so. It might steal the “Best Selling PHEV” title from its 3008 PHEV sibling, but with the market now returning to its BEV-friendly origins, I think the “Best Seller” title will be fought out between the Tesla Model 3, Renault Zoe, and Dacia Spring. The Sino-Romanian probably starts the year with a small advantage over the other two candidates, as the Zoe’s wrinkles will become deeper this year and the new Renault Megane EV will start its career. On the Tesla side, the Model 3 will feel the effect of the internal competition from the Model Y.

But January wasn’t only about Stellantis, as Hyundai–Kia also had reasons to smile. It had four models in the top 20. The Hyundai Kona EV ended the month in #10, followed by two Kias — the Niro EV was #11 and the EV6 was #12. Meanwhile, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 closed out the table in #20.

Still in the second half of the table, a mention goes out to MINI, which managed to place both its plugins in the top 20. The hot hatch Cooper EV was #14, and the crossover Countryman PHEV was #15. Parent brand BMW had none … which was still better that Volkswagen Group, which had no representatives in the table at all. Its best selling model, the VW ID.3, scored only 186 registrations.

Outside the top 20, this time there isn’t much to talk about, with the exception being the record performance of the Lynk & Co 01 PHEV. After taking the lead in the Netherlands, it is also starting to gain traction in France, having scored a record 100 registrations last month. Will Geely’s post-modern brand gain a foothold across Europe? It is starting to look that way, but to be future proof, the Chinese brand will need to add some BEV models into its portfolio.

With Peugeot (21.2%) going at full speed in January, the Sochaux automaker has started the year in the lead, keeping Renault (13%) at a safe distance.

In 3rd place, and far from the two French arch rivals, we have Dacia, with 8.2%, thanks to the success of its Spring EV, followed by the Korean siblings Kia (5.8%) and Hyundai (5.7%).

While the first two places already seem taken, expect an entertaining race for the 3rd spot, with several candidates.

In the OEM race, thanks to a strong start, the mutinational conglomerate Stellantis has started the year a commanding 35.2% share, followed by the Renault–Nissan Alliance (22.4%) — mostly thanks to Renault and Dacia, which together had 21.2% of the market, while Nissan and Mitsubishi only contributed 1.2%….

In the last place on the podium, we now have Hyundai–Kia, with 11.5%, relegating Volkswagen Group to 4th (8.1% share), slightly ahead of BMW Group (7.9%).

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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