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11% of New Car Sales in Europe Electric (19% Plugins)

Stellantis Shines In Europe — Plugin Vehicle Sales Report

With the overall European car market still suffering, down 13% last month year over year (YoY) and down 34% compared to May 2019, the European passenger plugin vehicle market has also started to be affected. It grew just 3% last month, with approximately 183,000 plugin vehicles registered in May. Looking closer, plugin hybrids (-12% YoY) were the ones to blame for sinking plugins into the red. Plugin hybrids (aka PHEVs) registered its third consecutive month of falling sales in May. Are we witnessing peak PHEV in Europe?

At the same time, BEVs grew 20% in May. That’s down on the yearly average (+42%), but a whole lot better than everything around it.

Last month’s plugin vehicle share of the overall European auto market was 19% (11% full electrics/BEVs), dropping the 2022 plugin vehicle (PEV) share by one point, to 20% (11% for BEVs alone).

The highlights last month were the Fiat 500e winning another best seller title, 1,800 units ahead of the surprise runner-up Ford Kuga PHEV, while the Volkswagen ID.4 got the third spot on the podium.

Looking closer at May’s plugin top 5:

#1 Fiat 500e — The little Italian won its second monthly best seller title, with a near record 6,454 deliveries in May. With wrinkles showing up on the competition (VW e-Up, Smart Fortwo EV, Renault Twingo EV) and the Dacia Spring appealing to a more cost-sensitive customer base, the little Fiat EV benefits from lack of serious competition, at least until the wave of Chinese city EVs reach European shores. That makes it the default EV choice in the cheap(ish) & chic city car category. With the Mini Cooper EV being a more premium proposal, Smart going upmarket in the next generation of city EVs in order to fight MINI, and the fossil-powered Fiat 500 ending its career next year, expect the Fiat EV to remain the reference to beat in the category. Last month, the main markets were the usual — Germany (1,834 units) and France (2,129 units), with the UK (600) and its native Italy (749) also making significant contributions to the tally.

#2 Ford Kuga PHEV — The euro-spec version of the Ford Escape PHEV has become one of the few exceptions to the PHEV fallout, with the Spanish-made plugin hybrid model jumping to the second spot in May thanks to 4,668 registrations. (The second best selling plugin hybrid, the BMW 330e, shows up only in #16, some 800 units behind.) The reason for the success of this somewhat unremarkable crossover? I believe market affordability (price plus fleet deals) might have a lot to do with it. Regarding May performances across the continent, the Ford model had its best score in Germany (1,948 units), followed by Denmark Sweden, where it recorded 717 deliveries, well ahead of the 274 registrations in neighboring Denmark, a market known for its love for the compact crossover.

#3 Volkswagen ID.4 — The German crossover was 3rd in May, with 4,652 registrations, beating expectations (and the rest of the Volkswagen Group models) and hinting that the worst of its production constraints are over. It is surely preparing for a stronger second half of the year. With production constraints still being felt (chip shortages, Ukraine supplier disruption, battery supply constraints …) and having to share production output with a widening range of MEB-based models (the recent launch of the Volkswagen ID.5 is one example), do not expect gold medal performances from it in the short term, but consistent presences in this top 5 should be a given. Regarding May’s performances, Volkswagen’s star crossover had its best score in Germany (1,665 units) and is also a success story in Norway (915 units) and neighboring Sweden (658). The UK (500) also proved to be a significant market.

#4 Peugeot e-208 — Probably thanks to increased battery availability, the French EV is increasing its output. It got a record 4,619 registrations in May and won the subcompact/B-segment category by a long shot. The stylish hatchback ended the month with a 1,000 unit advantage over the #7 Opel Corsa-e (another Stellantis model) and #8 Renault Zoe. Will the Peugeot model steal the thunder from the arch rival Renault Zoe and become the 2022 best seller in the B-segment? Regarding last month’s performance, the e-208’s main market was its native France (1,668 registrations), followed by Germany (758 registrations), the Netherlands (507), and the UK (500).

#5 Dacia Spring — The little Sino-Romanian crossover reappeared in the top 5 last month, with 3,857 registrations. It looks like the model’s cruising speed is around 3,500 units/month, not enough to be the disruptor some would hope it would be, but significant volume nonetheless. Back to May’s deliveries, the plain-Jane EV had its best score in France (1,357 registrations), followed by Germany (1,326 units) and its native market — 426 registrations in Romania. In addition, city car friendly Italy saw 270 deliveries.

Looking at the rest of the May table, the big highlight was that all four record performances belonged to Stellantis models. Besides the aforementioned Peugeot e-208, the #7 Opel Corsa-e scored a record 3,603 registrations, allowing the conglomerate to have a #1 plus #2 win in that category. In the segment above, the #17 Jeep Compass PHEV had a record 2,915 registrations, while the Citroen e-C4 EV celebrated its first top 20 position with a record 2,621 registrations. Add this to the near record score of #1 Fiat 500e and the presence in #19 of the Peugeot 3008 PHEV, and we have 6 Stellantis models in the top 20 from 5 different brands — of which, four had record breaking performances. So, this can only be considered a positive month for the conglomerate. That brings us back to the core formula in this industry: more batteries available = more sales.

Elsewhere, the Audi e-tron scored another top 20 presence, while the Mini Cooper EV was #12, with 3,035 registrations.

Below the top 20, the big news is the production ramp-up of several models, like the 2,392 registrations of the super sporty Cupra Born. The Cupra Born benefits from the easing up of production constraints on Volkswagen’s plants. There’s also the 2,062 registrations of the BMW i4, the first decent month for the new BMW fastback. Meanwhile, the all-important Mercedes EQE (1,065 registrations) continues to ramp up, looking to reach Audi e-tron’s level of deliveries (2,892) soon.

Finally, we saw the first volume month of the long awaited Renault Megane EV (775 units) and Volkswagen ID.5 (952).

Looking at the 2022 ranking, the top positions remained the same. The two mass-market Teslas were stable in the leadership positions, a feat in itself considering the delivery drought of the Model 3 (355 units) and the slow ramp-up of Giga Berlin, with only 1,118 Model Y deliveries in May.

The Fiat 500e gained precious advantage in the race for best selling non-Tesla. The VW ID.4 will have a hard time removing the little Italian from the bronze medalist position!

The first position change happened in #7, with the Peugeot e-208 EV jumping three positions, to #7, and surpassing the Renault Zoe and Hyundai Kona EV, top rivals. That allowed the Peugeot EV to become the new leader in the B-segment/subcompact category, which means that Stellantis now has the lead in both the A-segment/city car category (Fiat 500e) and in the B-segment/subcompact category (Peugeot e-208 EV). Not bad, eh?

Elsewhere, the Skoda Enyaq continues to climb the ranking ladder, now in 10th, while the Dacia Spring jumped to #11.

Also worthy of reference is the BMW 330e climbing to #15 in the context of falling PHEV sales, while the Mini Cooper EV returned to the table in #19.

In the automaker ranking, with Tesla (6.9%, down from 8.4%) suffering from production constraints and Mercedes (8.6%, down from 8.9%) suffering from the PHEV sales drop, BMW (9.4%, up slightly from 9.3%) has cemented its leadership position.

In 4th we have Kia (6.4%), which is followed by a resurgent Volkswagen, now in 5th with 6.1% share, up from 5.8%.

With Peugeot and Audi having 5.9% each, and Volvo at 5.8%, the race for the 6th position will be quite interesting. This is a very balanced EV market, as proven by the fact that leader BMW has less than 10% share.

Arranging things by automotive group, Volkswagen Group is in first place with 18.1% share, up from 17.4%. It looks like the dog days are over for the German conglomerate.

Stellantis is in second and also rising (now at 16.1%, up from 15.3%). The runner-up conglomerate is gaining ground on the competition and one wonders how much higher it can go. Will it be able to endanger the Volkswagen Group’s #1 position?

The current bronze medalist, Hyundai–Kia (11.7%, down from 11.8%) lost some ground over #4 BMW Group (11.5%, up from 11.3%), but still has a slight lead. In 5th, we have Mercedes-Benz Group (9.8%, down from 10.1%). It is well ahead of the #6 Renault–Nissan Alliance (8.4%).


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Written By

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.


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