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Ford Has #1 Plugin Vehicle in Germany in October!

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17% of new car sales in Germany fully electric, 32% have a plug

It seems the German automotive market has bottomed out and is back on a growth path. October brought a solid 17% increase in sales, but it still wasn’t enough to pull the year-to-date (YTD) numbers out of the red (-6% YoY). Sales of full electric vehicles (BEVs) were inline with the overall market, growing 17% year over year (YoY). There were 35,781 BEV registrations last month, which also incidentally represented 17% of the overall market. On the other hand, plugin hybrids (PHEVs) jumped 35%, its highest growth rate since August 2021. Expect this number to rise even further in the last two months of the year. There should be a sales rush in December, as next year PHEVs will no longer be eligible for EV incentives. Either way, PHEVs had 32,064 registrations in October, or 15% of the total auto market.

October’s 32% plugin vehicle share kept the year-to-date score at 29% (16% BEV). A 30%-ish result by year end seems not only possible, but likely.

The German plugin market is known for surprises, and October brought another one. After a close race with the Fiat 500e, the Ford Kuga PHEV (Euro-spec Ford Escape) won the best seller title in October!

And with the PHEV incentives ending soon, expect the compact Ford to continue cranking out strong performances in the next two months. Although, it probably won’t win more best seller titles this year, because BEVs will also get fewer incentives starting on January 1, which means makes like Tesla, Volkswagen, maybe Opel, and others will flood the German market with plugins in the last two months of the year, particularly in December. Many different EVs will fight to profit on the 2022 version of the incentives, so expect a high number of pre-registered units sitting on dealer lots in January and waiting for a buyer, and a wider sales hangover during Q1 2023….

In the particular case of Tesla, this is the main reason why it is focusing its European deliveries on Germany, even at the cost of starving other European markets.

But back to October results, we have another surprise in the last place on the podium. The VW ID.3 got 2,160 registrations, its best result since September 2021. Expect a peak month for the hatchback next December.

But it wasn’t only the ID.3 providing a good result for Volkswagen, as the VW ID.4 ended the month in 5th, with 1,701 deliveries. Additionally, the Spaniard Cupra Formentor PHEV was 4th, with 1,942 units.

Also a surprise of some sort is the fact that both Teslas ended the first month of this quarter in the top 10. The Model Y ended in #6, with 1,622 deliveries, and the Model 3 ended in #7, with 1,563 deliveries. This is their best first-month-of-the-quarter ever in Germany.

Will this mean both will get a record result in December?

Well … there are good arguments to be had on both sides. On the one hand, these early results have more to do with allocation policies than a measurement of demand — because Tesla dispatched boats from Giga Shanghai in the final weeks of last quarter, the vehicles have reached Europe sooner than usual. It is only natural that these units ended up being registered sooner (the first month on the quarter) than later.

As for the Model Y, because of the Giga Berlin production ramp-up and Tesla prioritising the German market, they naturally have more units available to be delivered in Germany right in the beginning of the quarter.

BUT — with these units being delivered sooner, it will all depend on the demand side and how many pre-registrations Tesla is willing to log this quarter in order to know how many units Tesla will deliver in Germany in the next two months. Record months? Maybe, but at this point, I honestly do not know. To be continued.

In 8th, we have the Opel Mokka EV, with a record 1,531 registrations, while in #10 we have a tie between two plugin hybrids that posted impressive results last month. The Mercedes A250e PHEV and the BMW 3 Series PHEV registered 1,263 units each, with the Mercedes scoring its best result in 17 months while the BMW had its best result in over two years. Expect both models to improve further in the next couple of months, profiting from the end of incentives–derived sales rush.

The second half of the table also saw other models shining, like the #14 VW Tiguan PHEV having its best performance ever, 1,132 registrations. The German make is milking everything it can from the compact SUV before it is too late (incentives end), so expect December to be an even bigger month for the Tiguan.

But there were also BEVs reaching record highs, like the #19 Renault Megane EV scoring 1,076 registrations. The French brand is hoping to replicate at least part of the success that the Renault Zoe once had on the other side of the Rhine river. The Polestar 2 joined the table, in #20, thanks to a record 1,073 registrations. This last result signals Volvo’s newfound belief in BEVs. Besides this record and top 20 presence from the Swede’s casual cousin, its own BEV models also hit record scores in October. The sporty C40 EV got 347 registrations, while the more uptight XC40 EV had 459 deliveries.

Outside the top 20, there is a lot to talk about. Besides the strong results of the Mini Cooper EV (1,019 registrations) and Audi Q4 e-tron (1,031 registrations), we should also mention the first full month of deliveries of the competitive MG 4. With 433 registrations, it is no doubt a strong candidate for a top 20 presence next year. We should also celebrate a record score for the BMW i4 in its native market … 403 registrations. Yes, that low. Maybe BMW is looking to milk everything it can from the PHEV versions of the 3 Series before starting to deliver the i4 in relevant volumes next year?

But even so … in the same period, arch-rival Mercedes had three BEV models outselling the i4, with the EQA scoring 780 registrations (a new year best), the EQB getting a record 650 registrations, and even the older EQC registered 524 units … on top of an extensive Mercedes PHEV lineup.

True, the three-pointed-star brand also has its problems — for example, the much-awaited EQE only had 300 deliveries last month, or almost four times less than the category leader Audi e-tron (1,141 units) — but it seems Mercedes has a more consistent lineup for the upcoming 2023 BEV-heavy German market.

Or course, the upcoming BMW iX1 crossover could change all of this … (fingers crossed that it does).

Regarding the 2022 table, there was plenty to talk about. Thanks to a great October, the Ford Kuga PHEV surpassed the Tesla Model 3 and climbed to the last place on the podium, but with fewer than 20 units separating them, anything can happen.

The same can be said about the #2 Fiat 500e. While the #1 Tesla Model Y is untouchable, the 2,255 unit advantage the 500e has over the US sedan might not be enough to keep the silver medal. Depending on the allocation policy of the American brand, we might yet have a surprise result in December that allows Tesla to have models in the top two positions … in the German plugin vehicle market.

Elsewhere, Volkswagen Group continued to recover from a slow first half of the year. The VW ID.3 jumped two spots, to 7th, while the sporty Cupra Formentor PHEV is now 5th. Further below, the Skoda Enyaq was up to #11, while the veteran Audi e-tron reaffirmed its full size category leadership by climbing one position, to #13. That is an impressive performance when we consider that the big Audi will be heavily revised soon, even being entitled to a new name: Audi Q8 e-tron.

In the second half of the table, there is another model moving on up, with the design icon Hyundai Ioniq 5 rising to 12th. It benefited from the BMW i3’s slow-walk into EV Heaven, a place where fast chargers are plentiful, reliable, use renewable energy, and not blocked by ICE vehicles!

Back to Purgatory/Earth: considering that PHEVs will lose incentives next year, and therefore, their market share will shrink significantly, it is interesting to see that of the four plugin hybrid models present in this top 20 list, only one has a direct BEV replacement (BMW 3 Series PHEV —> BMW i4). And even so, the i4 lacks the all-important station wagon body. But for the other three PHEVs (Ford Kuga PHEV, Cupra Formentor PHEV, Mitsubishi Eclipse PHEV), buyers will not have direct replacements from their respective brands. Mitsubishi is still years from having a new BEV in Europe, Ford only has the more expensive Mustang Mach-E as a BEV, and Cupra’s Born is a regular hatchback and the upcoming Tavascan, Cupra’s take on the VW ID.4-formula, is only set to land in 2024. These three models represent roughly 50,000 vehicle sales a year. Where will they go?

In the brand ranking, Volkswagen (10.7%) consolidated its leadership position, while Mercedes (10%) surpassed BMW (9.1%) in the race for the runner-up spot. With Volkswagen back in its natural position and Mercedes in #2, the plugin market is getting closer to matching the overall market (#1 Volkswagen, #2 Mercedes, #3 Audi, #4 BMW).

Off the podium, Tesla (7.4%) held onto the #4 position, but #5 Audi (7.4%) is now just 143 units behind. Below them, #6 Hyundai (6%) is too far behind to pose a threat.

Looking at the rankings by OEM, the standings remained the same. Volkswagen Group (26.9%) has its domestic market well in hand. It is followed at a distance by Stellantis (12.7%), while #3 Mercedes (11.6%) surpassed #4 BMW Group (11%) and is now looking to reach the multinational conglomerate and the 2022 runner-up spot. Can Mercedes surpass Stellantis?

The #5 Hyundai–Kia collab (10%) is safe from the #6 Renault–Nissan–Mitsubishi Alliance (8.1%).


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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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