Plugin Vehicles = 20% Of New Car Sales In France

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The Tesla Model 3 was last month’s best selling EV and the 9th best selling car overall in France.

Plugins continue to rise in France, with last month’s plugin vehicle registrations ending at 23,138 units, divided between 13,453 BEVs (or 12% share of the overall auto market) and 9,685 PHEVs (8% share of the auto market). The former jumped 60% year over year (YoY), while the latter were up by just 7%.

With the overall market continuing to drop off a cliff, down 13% YoY and down a significant 31% compared to February 2020, the last normal month in the market, plugins reached 20% share of the market last month (12% BEV). Pure electrics once again outsold PHEVs — 58% share of the plugin market vs. 42% — allowing BEVs to continue gaining a bit more ground in the year-to-date (YTD) race (57% BEV vs. 43% PHEV). This is a departure over the 2021 final result (53% BEVs vs. 47% PHEVs). Expect BEVs to keep gaining ground throughout the year.

The year-to-date (YTD) registrations are now over 40,000 units, pulling the market share of plugin vehicles to 18% (11% BEV), which is already the same result the market had in 2021 and is a good 7-percentage-point increase over the 2020 result (11%). So expect the market to be firmly above 20% (30%?) by the end of the 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 last month in the overall market, a 25% drop, and the latter (diesel) falling even harder, having just 18% of sales last month, with its sales diving a steep 39% compared to a year ago. And this in what was once a diesel-loving market! At this pace, diesel sales will be dead in just two years.

Interestingly, plug-less hybrids have seen their sales go up, by 7%, now representing 20% of the market, which means that if we add all electrified powertrains, BEV+PHEV+HEV, we see that 40% of all passenger cars sold in France last month had some form of electrification, which is already more than the share of the leading fossil fuel powertrain (petrol — 38%). This is what disruption looks like….

Last month’s best seller was the Tesla Model 3, with an impressive 2,717 registrations, its best off-peak result so far, allowing it to be 9th overall and the best selling “true” foreign model (the Dacias Sandero and Duster can be considered honorary French models) in the mainstream automotive market. With such a strong month in the middle of the quarter, will we see the midsize sedan hit a record score in March?

Speaking of Tesla, the #6 Model Y had its best month so far in France, with 866 deliveries, so expect the crossover to win its first 4-digit performance next month.

The remaining podium positions went to the Peugeot 3008 PHEV and Dacia Spring, with the Sino-Romanian outselling (again) an underperforming Renault Zoe. The Zoe ended the month in 4th, with 1,088 registrations, its worst score in a year. This podium had two models Made in China (Tesla Model 3 and Dacia Spring), which says a lot about the current market dynamics.

Elsewhere, a mention goes out to the poor result of the Peugeot e-208, 8th with just 783 units, its worse result in 18 months. Was it a hiccup, or is the Renault Zoe arch rival also losing its mojo? On the flipside, the compact Peugeot 308 PHEV continued to impress (608 registrations), not only trouncing its Renault Megane PHEV rival (250 units last month), but also allowing Peugeot to win 1st and 2nd place in the PHEV category. In fact, it was a 100% Stellantis podium last month, thanks to the category’s 3rd spot going to the SUV Citroen C5 Aircross PHEV. Can it be that all of the above is connected? Could it be that Stellantis is prioritising PHEVs over BEVs? Discuss.

In the second half of the table, we have the Kia EV6 continuing to shine, in #18 with 314 units. Its relative from Hyundai, the Ioniq 5, wasn’t that far behind, having been #22 with 286 registrations, a new record for the retro-futuristic hatchback.

Just below the top 20, the Citroen C4 EV ended the month in #21, getting 291 registrations — just two units below the #20 Mercedes GLA PHEV. Expect the compact hatchback-disguised-as-a-crossover to start showing up in the table regularly soon.

Looking at the 2022 ranking, #1 is still in the hands of the Dacia Spring, but expect the Tesla Model 3 to jump into the leadership position in March, thanks to Tesla’s expected peak delivery month (how it ends quarters).

The last place on the podium for now belongs to the Peugeot 3008 PHEV, but with the #4 Renault Zoe just 157 units behind, do not expect Peugeot’s crossover to stay on the podium for long. The remaining top 10 positions have four more Stellantis models, another Renault, the small Twingo EV, and the Tesla Model Y closing out the first half of the table in 10th. Expect Tesla’s crossover to climb a few more positions in March, possibly to #7.

In the second half of the table, there isn’t much to talk about, but just below the top 20, we have two BEVs looking to reach the table. The Citroen C4 EV is just 15 units away from the #20 Hyundai Tucson PHEV, while the Hyundai Ioniq 5 is only 53 units behind its plugin hybrid sibling. Expect these two EVs to join the table soon.

Looking at the brand ranking, despite losing share, the top two brands remained stable, with both Peugeot (17.2%) and Renault (11.5%) keeping their gold and silver medals. The last place on the podium, however, has a new tenant, with Tesla (8.8%) surging to 3rd. With an expected peak month in March, the US automaker could even replace Renault in the runner-up spot.

Below the podium, there is also news. Besides the fact that Dacia (6.9%) went down from 3rd to 4th, we now have Mercedes (5.8%) in 5th, thus kicking out both Korean brands from the top 5.

As for OEMs, Stellantis is the major force in this market, with a commanding 31.2% share. The Renault–Nissan–Mitsubishi Alliance is far behind in #2, with 19.2%, while Hyundai-Kia is in 3rd, with 10.4%.

Off the podium, we now have Tesla in 4th (8.8%), and the US OEM will benefit from its March peak month and remove Hyundai–Kia from the last place on the podium.

With Tesla jumping to 4th for now, Volkswagen Group was down to 5th, with 7.8%.

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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 478 posts and counting. See all posts by José Pontes