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France EV Share Grows In May, Fiat 500 Leads

France, Europe’s second largest auto market, saw plugin electric vehicles take 20.9% share in April, from 17.3% year-on-year. Full battery electrics grew their share by almost 1.5x YoY, to 12%. Overall auto volumes were down 10% YoY, and down by around a third from May 2019, at 126,811 units.

Market Share Trends

May’s combined plugin result of 20.9% comprised 12.0% full battery electrics (BEVs), and 8.9% plugin hybrids (PHEVs). A year ago their respective performances were 8.2% and 9.1%. So whilst BEV share is growing at a decent clip, PHEVs have continued to remain broadly flat over recent months.

Plugless hybrids, scored a decent 20.5% in May (from 16.6% YoY), while combustion-only powertrains continued to lose share, with Petrol and Diesel combined on track to fall under 50% later this year.

Best Sellers

The Fiat 500e took the BEV top spot in May with its best ever monthly result, some 20% up from its previous best in April.

Other faces were mostly familiar, save for the (temporary) low ebb for Tesla’s models (more below). The Renault Megane had its first decent volume month, with 758 units, at least 50% higher than its previous best. The Mini Cooper SE also saw its most deliveries YTD, around 50% higher than its previous YTD best (though still below its December peak).

Looking at the broader trailing 3-month view, we can see that, since our last report, Tesla’s Model 3 has dropped back from its 1st position, to now 4th, since May’s 111 units were a shadow of February’s 2,717 units.

The Tesla low-ebb in May, also seen in the Model Y figures (40 units in May vs 866 in February), was mostly due to recent production constraints stemming from the Shanghai lockdowns. Unless there are more production headwinds, Tesla should be back in, or near to, the lead by the end of Q3.

Meanwhile, thanks to its record May result, the Fiat 500e has overtaken the Dacia Spring in the 3-month chart. The Peugeot e-208 climbed to 3rd spot, just head of the temporarily relegated Tesla Model 3.

The bottom half of the table was similarly shuffled due to the Tesla Model Y dropping off from its previous #7 spot. The models ranks are otherwise largely in line with recent performances.

Now that the Renault Megane is ramping up production, we can expect it to become a regular face inside the top 10 in the coming months.

Outlook

The various crises in Europe are having an impact on supply chains, industrial costings, general consumer price inflation, and public sentiment, so it is no surprise that the overall auto market is down year-on-year.

With fuel prices rising, there is plenty of demand for plugins, but limited supply and long waiting lists. As these conditions endure, we can expect demand for combustion powertrains to continue to drop off. Since available volume of plugins cannot quickly ramp up to compensate, we should expect overall auto market volumes to continue to be far down on pre-pandemic levels for the foreseeable future.

Of the total volume of autos that do get sold, plugin share will continue to climb higher over time, and we can expect share well above 30%, perhaps as high as 40%, in the final quarter of 2022.

What are your thoughts on the French auto market, and the broader European picture? Please jump in to the discussion below.

 

 
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Max is an anthropologist, social theorist and international political economist, trying to ask questions and encourage critical thinking about social and environmental justice, sustainability and the human condition. He has lived and worked in Europe and Asia, and is currently based in Barcelona. Find Max's book on social theory, follow Max on twitter @Dr_Maximilian and at MaximilianHolland.com, or contact him via LinkedIn.

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