Open the Floodgates! Record Electric Car Sales Month in Germany — 22% of New Cars Fully Electric

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It seems the German automotive market has bottomed out and is back on a growth path. November brought a surprising 31% increase in sales. Though, that’s still not enough to pull the year-to-date (YTD) numbers out of the red (-2% YoY). Much of this growth can be attributed to plugins — sales of full electric vehicles (BEVs) grew 44% year over year (YoY). There were 57,588 BEV registrations last month, a new record, which also incidentally represented 22% of the overall market. On the other hand, plugin hybrids (PHEVs) jumped 61%. Expect these numbers to rise even further in December. There should be a sales rush in December, as next year PHEVs will no longer be eligible for EV incentives, and BEVs will have their subsidies reduced. Either way, PHEVs had 44,539 registrations in November, also a record month for the category, representing 17% of the total auto market.

November’s 39% plugin vehicle share allowed the year-to-date score to reach 29% (16% BEV). A 30% (or 31%?) result by year end seems not only possible, but likely.

20 Top Selling Plugin Vehicles in Germany — November 2022

The German plugin market is known for surprises, and November brought another one. If a Tesla model winning the German plugin market isn’t really something to talk about, the fact that it wasn’t the Made-in-Germany, crossover bodied Tesla Model Y, but the Made-in-China, midsized sedan Tesla Model 3, now that’s something worth reflecting on.

The 6,811 units of the Model 3 represented the sedan’s best off-peak performance ever in Germany, which allowed it to be 3rd in the overall German market, an unexpected performance, especially when we consider that the locally made and more in trend Model Y was only 4th, with 3,867 units, behind the #3 Fiat 500e and #2 Ford Kuga PHEV.

This peculiar behaviour of the two Tesla nameplates is representative of the current moment in the German EV market. Because of the change in the incentives, these last months of the year are experiencing a sales rush not only from actual individual buyers but also of pre-registrations. That benefits the OEMs and models that are not production constrained. And because the Model 3 is in less demand than the Model Y globally, Tesla can deliver more Model 3 units than Model Y units to satisfy this peak in demand in Germany — hence the bigger delivery peak (and pre-registration peak?) of the Model 3.

This being a record month, due to the aforementioned reasons, we have 12 models in this top 20 reaching record results. One highlight includes the #2 Ford Kuga PHEV (4,649 registrations), the Dearborn make milking everything it can from its plugin hybrid crossover before subsidies end. Another was the Fiat 500e ending the month in 3rd, with 3,904 registrations. That was a new best for the little Italian, contributing 57% of the overall sales of the Fiat model in November. That allowed the Italian model to end the month in #2 in the overall auto market.

Also, a surprise of some sort is the fact that the Tesla Model Y, 4th in the plugin market, was also 7th in the overall market. That meant there were four plugin models in the overall top 10.

Will we see a majority of plugin models in the overall top 10 in December?

On the top half of the table, there were three more record performances, with the Dacia Spring reaching #9 thanks to 2,035 registrations, the stylish Opel Mokka EV getting 2,031 registrations, and the sporty Cupra Born making it to 7th with a record 2,089 registrations.

This last result is representative of the recent rise in production output of the MEB family, just in time to satisfy the current sales surge. The Spaniard EV not only reached a record result, but its premium sibling, the Audi Q4 e-tron, also hit a record result, 1,498 registrations. The sporty VW ID.5 had a record 774 registrations, the highly anticipated VW ID.BUZZ had its first volume month (642 registrations), and even the Audi e-tron (!) and Porsche Taycan (!!!) joined the incentives-derived surge — with record results from both high-end models. The big Audi reached 1,486 registrations last month, just before the end of its production run, while the ice cool Porsche EV reached 886 registrations in November.

As for the VW ID.3 and VW ID.4, while they still haven’t been able to impress in their native market, ending respectively in 5th and 6th, the truth is that they are on the right track. The hatchback model scored 3,619 registrations, its best result since September 2021, while the crossover had its second best result ever, 2,097 registrations, only bested by the 2,300 units reached in December 2020 when the ID.4 had just been launched. Does this mean that the two models will finally fulfill their destiny in 2023?

The second half of the table also saw other models reaching record results, like the #11 Mercedes A-Series PHEV (2,009 units), and the #13 VW Tiguan PHEV (1,747 units), with both brands looking to bank on the last days of the PHEV incentives.

But there were also BEVs reaching record highs, like the #14 Renault Megane EV crossover hatchback scoring 1,728 registrations, its second record in a row. 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 stylish Polestar 2 ended the month in #15, thanks to 1,669 registrations, also its second record in a row. Even Hyundai managed to allocate more Ioniq 5s to Germany, allowing the attractive retro-XXL hatchback to end the month in #20, with a record 1,475 units.

Outside the top 20, there is also a lot to talk about. While BMW pushed sales of its classic 3 Series (record 1,451 units) and 5 Series (record 1,049) PHEVs, its BEV models were unable to benefit from the current sales surge. The i4 liftback ended with just 359 registrations, and the flagship iX with 429 registrations. Yes, that low.

In the same period, arch-rival Mercedes was firing on all cylinders charging full speed ahead, with several record performances. Besides the aforementioned A-Series’ record result, four other models impressed with record scores, like the new C-Series PHEV (1,143 registrations), the GLE PHEV (1,078 registrations), and the all-electric EQA (1,155 registrations) and EQB (777 registrations). Even the compact MPV B-Series PHEV scored a record 869 registrations! (Unfortunately, compact MPVs are a dying breed in Europe, so any representative of this category reaching a record result is good news.)

Heck, even the veteran Smart Fortwo EV gave signs of life, by scoring 1,434 registrations, a new year best and a reminder that the tiny two-seater is still around.

Stellantis also kicked production up a notch. Besides the aforementioned record result of the Opel Mokka EV, Opel also celebrated the 943 registrations of the small Corsa EV, while the compact Astra PHEV (833 registrations) and crossover Grandland PHEVs (910 registrations) also had record performances. Along with the German brand’s good results, Stellantis was helped by the year-best score of the French Peugeot e-208 EV (1,154 units) and record result of Jeep’s Compass PHEV (1,286 units).

Finally, Mazda saw its CX-60 PHEV model rise to 1,154 units, a new record for the Japanese SUV. (Imagine that, Mazda outselling Toyota in the plugin hybrid race!…)

20 Top Selling Plugin Vehicles in Germany — January–November 2022

Regarding the 2022 table, there was plenty to talk about. While the Model Y remains untouchable in #1, Tesla’s rabbit out the hat in November was the Model 3 jumping from 4th to 2nd, thanks to the sedan’s brilliant performance last month — which could give the US automaker a #1 and #2 win this year. In Germany. Now, let that sink in….

Elsewhere, Volkswagen Group continued to recover from a slow first half of the year. The VW ID.3 jumped two spots, to 5th, while the full size Audi e-tron is now 11th. 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.

Further below, the veteran VW e-Up jumped three spots, to #12, while the stylish Audi Q4 e-tron climbed to #17. Speaking of the MEB-platform models, if we add all four MEB models present in this top 20 (VW ID.3, VW ID.4, Skoda Enyaq & Audi Q4 e-tron), the MEB-family of models manages to surpass the volume of the top two Tesla Model 3 & Model Y. And the Cupra Born, VW ID.5, and VW ID.BUZZ remained on the substitutes bench….

The Hyundai Ioniq 5 profited from a record month to rise two positions, to #10, thus making it two Hyundais in the top 10. The only other brands placing two models in the top half of the table were Tesla and Volkswagen.

In the second half of the table, the big climber was the Dacia Spring, jumping from #20 to #16, with the Romanian model possibly climbing a few more positions in the last stage of the race.

The BMW 3 Series PHEV was also up, to #15, thanks to the current PHEV sales surge, while a slowing Renault Zoe (646 registrations last month) was kicked out of the top 20 by the Opel Mokka EV — meaning Stellantis now has three representatives in the top 20.

With the #19 BMW i3 on its way to EV Heaven, we should see (at least) another new player showing up on the table next month.

Top Brands for EV Sales — January–November 2022

In the brand ranking, Volkswagen (11%, up 0.3%) consolidated its leadership position, while Mercedes (10.2%, up from 10%) secured the runner-up position, winning a significant advantage over arch-rival BMW (8.6%, down from 9.1%). With Volkswagen 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 (8%, up from 7.4%) consolidated its 4th place position, and might even have a shot at displacing BMW from the last place on the podium in December.

#5 Audi (7.4%) remained stable, while below it, #6 Hyundai (5.9%) is too far behind to pose a threat.

Top OEMs for EV Sales — January–November 2022

Looking at the rankings by OEM, the standings remained the same. Volkswagen Group (27.2%, up 0.3%) has its domestic market well in hand. It is followed at a distance by Stellantis (13%, up from 12.7%), while #3 Mercedes (11.7%, up 0.1%) gained a significant distance over #4 BMW Group (10.5%, down from 11%) and should win the 2022 bronze medal.

Despite a slight drop, the #5 Hyundai–Kia collab (9.8%, down from 10%) is safe from both Tesla and the Renault–Nissan–Mitsubishi Alliance, each with 8% share.


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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