16% Of New Cars Now Fully Electric In France!

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Plugin vehicles continue to rise in France, with last month’s plugin vehicle registrations ending at 34,360 units. That means it was another two-digit growth month for plugin vehicles (PEVs) in France.

The overall market presented its second positive month, after a long time in the red. It was up 6% year over year (YoY). But it is still down a significant 19% compared to September 2019 (the market’s last “normal” year), so one can say with certainty that we are in the demand valley that many were predicting when forecasting EV disruption.

Full electrics (BEVs) were the highlight of the market, growing 34% year over year (YoY) and winning 16% of the market in September. They surpassed diesel sales (14% share) for the first time ever. In fact, diesel sales continued to fall off a cliff, dropping 4 percentage points YoY in September. Diesel’s market share dropped from 18% a year ago to its current 14%. At this pace, diesel sales will end around 2025….

Plugin hybrids (PHEVs) were also down, by 2%, to 11,607 units (8.2% share). September was their 7th consecutive month in the red, helping to explain how the BEV/PHEV sales breakdown is now heavily balanced towards BEVs (66% in September vs. 61% YTD).

The year-to-date (YTD) registrations are now over 229,000 units, with the market share for plugin vehicles now at 21% (13% BEV). Expect the market to end closer to 25% by the end of the year.

Last month’s best seller was once again the Renault Megane EV, which scored a record 2,897 registrations, allowing it to break into the overall top 10 (in #9). The compact EV won its third best seller title in a row and is still in ramp-up mode, so one wonders how high it will go. 3,000? 4,000? More? One thing is certain — the Megane is Renault’s main bet to recover its leadership position in its home market, now that the Zoe is far from its best days and the future Renault 5 EV is still a couple of years away.

Kudos to Renault for being bold and developing the Megane EV from the start as a dedicated EV, without an ICE counterpart. When the old generation fades out in one or two years, the hatchback-that-thinks-it’s-a-crossover will be Renault’s only model in the compact category. So, Renault’s minimum expectations for its compact EV should be around 30,000 units in 2023, and 40,000 in 2024, if it wants to compete for the category leadership spot with its Peugeot 308 rival. By the way, with regards to the Peugeot 308, Stellantis played it safe initially and went the PHEV route first. The new Peugeot 308 PHEV ended the month in #14, with just 597 registrations.

With such a disproportionate response from the market, it is no coincidence that Peugeot recently presented the BEV version of the 308, even if initial deliveries are only set to take place towards the end of the first half of next year.

Following the stylish new Renault, we have the Tesla Model 3, with 2,202 registrations, while the Dacia Spring closed out the podium with 2,170 registrations. This has once again kicked the Peugeot e-208 off the podium. Its Italian cousin, the Fiat 500e, also experienced a slow month, ending September in #6 — not only behind the #3 Dacia Spring, but also the #5 Renault Twingo EV. Has the little Fiat exhausted its waiting list in France?

The Tesla Model Y crossover was 7th, with 1,261 registrations, with both Teslas being easily the best selling foreign models. The VW ID.3 ended the month in #12.

Interestingly, the best selling PHEV was only 9th on the table. The category leader, the Peugeot 3008 PHEV, won another category title, benefiting from the fact that the Mercedes GLC PHEV is going through a generation change.

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In the second half of the table, the highlight is the year-best performance of the aforementioned Volkswagen ID.3 hatchback. With 632 registrations, this might be signaling a return to form from the German brand. Does this means that the worst of the components crisis is over for the German conglomerate?

Two other models also shined last month, with the #19 Kia Niro EV scoring 461 registrations thanks to the first volume deliveries of its new generation, while the #15 Mercedes GLA PHEV had a surprise appearance in the table (576 registrations). The compact crossover even surpassed the Mercedes baguette bread and butter model in France, the GLC PHEV. Interestingly, in a time where the market is trending towards BEVs, Mercedes two best sellers in France are PHEVs. … Will this mean problems ahead for the German make in this market?

Outside the top 20, one should highlight the strong results of the Opel Mokka EV (284 registrations) and SAIC’s MG ZS EV (416 registrations). The Sino-British crossover missed a top 20 result by just 16 units. Additionally, we should highlight the landing of the all important MG 4 hatchback, with the first 71 units being registered — no doubt still demonstration vehicles. Expect this model to become not only the best selling MG in Europe, but possibly a disruptor in the compact hatchback category (VW ID.3, Renault Megane EV, take notice…).

Elsewhere, Volvo celebrated two record scores from its (only) two BEV models, with the more upright XC40 EV registering 221 units, its second record month in a row, while the sportier C40 EV hit 357 deliveries. This is proof that the Swedish automaker is rushing to adapt to a more BEV-based plugin market.

Looking at the 2022 ranking, the Peugeot e-208 kept its leadership position, but the best seller trophy is still not secured. The new runner-up Dacia Spring surpassed the Fiat 500e and is some 1,000 units behind the e-208, so the French hatchback cannot afford to have a bad month if it wants to keep the Romanian model at bay.

The Renault Twingo EV was up one spot, to #4, at the expense of its Zoe sibling. This says more about the Zoe’s slowdown, most likely due to falling demand, than the Twingo’s merits. Maybe it is time for a price cut?

Two positions below, we have the Renault Megane EV climbing to #7, and expect Renault’s new star player to continue climbing the table, possibly even into a podium position. That would be a great launching pad for the Megane attack on the 2023 Best Seller title.

Speaking of compact hatchbacks, the Megane EV arch rival, the Peugeot 308 PHEV, was also up, in this case to #11. The compact Pug has almost half of the Megane EV’s registrations, though. That says something, doesn’t it? …

The Kia Niro EV profited from its refresh to climb another position in the table. The Korean crossover is now in #16.

Finally, with the MG ZS EV now in #21, some 200 units behind the #20 BMW X3 PHEV, expect the MG model to look for a top 20 position soon and remove another PHEV model from the table.

Looking at the brand ranking, the podium didn’t have any position changes. The highlight was the rise of Renault, up 0.4% to 14.9%. Together with another meh month from Peugeot (14.9%, down from 15%), the two arch rivals are separated by a thread. Expect Q4 to provide a close race for the brand title.

#3 Tesla had its expected end-of-quarter peak, allowing it to jump to 7.1% share. In #5 we have a position change, with Dacia (5.7%, up 0.1%) re-joining the top 5 at the expense of Fiat. Fiat actually dropped two positions, to #7, to the benefit of #6 Kia (5.5%) as well.

As for OEMs, Stellantis is the major force in this market, but it has lost share. It now has 30.4% share, compared to the 30.8% share of the previous month. The #2 Renault–Nissan–Mitsubishi Alliance is the main OEM to benefit, with 21.9% being up notably from 21.4%.

Hyundai–Kia is in 3rd, with 10.8%, followed by #4 Volkswagen Group (8.4%).

BMW Group (7.1%) is 5th, but it has Tesla (7.1%) dangerously close behind it, so we might see a position change here 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 468 posts and counting. See all posts by José Pontes