25% Plugin Vehicle Share In France!

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While the overall French auto market had its worst year since 1975 in 2022, with only 1.5 million units registered, plugin sales continued to grow. December sales were up 1% year over year (YoY), and were a record month. Full electric vehicles (BEVs) were up 7%, to 24,733 registrations, while PHEVs continued in the doldrums (-7%, 14,486 registrations) — they have been dropping YoY every single month since last February. That allowed BEVs to have a 63% share among plugin vehicles in December, signaling the return of this market to its BEV-friendly roots. Year to date (YTD), pure electrics ended with 62% share, a positive increase over the 53% share of 2021, besting also the 60% share of 2020. With PHEVs no longer having access to subsidies, expect this trend to continue throughout 2023, with BEVs possibly ending at over 70% of all plugin sales.

So, December saw a 25% plugin share (16% for BEVs alone), and the full 2022 plugin share ended at 21.5% (13.3% for BEVs). That was a 3.2% increase over the 2021 result of 18.3% (9.8% BEV). That may seem low, especially compared to jumps that happened in 2021 (to 18.3%, from 11%) and 2020 (to 11%, up from 3% in 2019), but it is growth nonetheless. This is indeed slower growth than some people would have hoped, but it is a step in the right direction — they will get there. Hopefully, before 2035. … Hey, just three years ago, we were celebrating 3% plugin share. … How things have changed!

Interestingly, the current market disruption is also benefiting plug-less hybrids (HEVs), as they jumped this year from 18% to 22% share. All in all, 2022 ended with 44% of all auto sales coming from electrified models, up from 35% in 2021. That’s an important progression, and electrified models should become the majority of the overall market in 2023. Meanwhile, 100% petrol-powered vehicles lost 3% share in the last 12 months, to 37% at the end of 2022. Completely diesel-powered vehicles fared even worse, losing 5% share and dropping to their current 16% share of the market.

Top Selling Electric Vehicles in France — December 2022

Looking at last month’s best sellers, there was an interesting race between the Dacia Spring and the Tesla Model 3, with the small crossover winning the upper hand. The Dacia Spring had 2,800 registrations, its best result in over a year, leaving Tesla’s midsizer 129 units behind.

The stylish and classy Renault Megane EV took bronze, leaving the Tesla Model Y and Peugeot e-208 off the podium.

Below the top 5, we have two compact hatchbacks shining, with the #6 Volkswagen ID.3 scoring 971 registrations, a new year best, while in #8 we have the MG 4, with the striking model scoring 829 registrations in only its 4th month on the market. Expect MG’s hatchback to become a serious contender in 2023, in no small part thanks to its unbeatable value for the money.

On the PHEV side, the star of the month was the Peugeot 3008 PHEV, #10 in December with 758 registrations. It beat the #12 Mercedes GLA PHEV despite the Mercedes model hitting a personal best score, 645 registrations. The #14 Mini Countryman PHEV scored 625 registrations, also a new record.

Two more plugin hybrids took profit from the year-end rush, achieving rare presences in the top 20. The Porsche Cayenne PHEV reached #16, with 603 (pre-)registrations, while BMW’s MPV 2-Series Active Tourer PHEV was at #20, with 559 registrations.

Highlighting Volkswagen’s newfound form, the German automaker managed to place three models in the French top 20 last month. Besides the already mentioned #6 ID.3, Volkswagen also placed the ID.5 and ID.4 siblings in #18 and #19, respectively, with both models hitting record scores — 593 registrations and 563 registrations. This could mean a stronger Volkswagen in the French market in 2023. Will the German brand be able to tickle the local heroes?

Off the table, and highlighting the growth of the Volkswagen Group mothership, a mention is due for the record scores of the Audi Q4 e-tron (282 registrations) and Cupra Born (268 registrations). Meanwhile, another MG is making inroads in France, with the Marvel R midsized SUV scoring a record 303 deliveries.

Top Selling Electric Vehicles in France — January–December 2022

Looking at the 2022 ranking, following the Tesla Model 3 breaking the Renault Zoe’s long winning streak from 2013 through 2020, now it’s time for Peugeot to celebrate its first EV model title since … the 1990s. Yep, it has been almost 30 years since the small Peugeot 106 EV earned the Sochaux brand its last best seller title.

Congrats to the winner, and it should remain the main candidate for the 2023 title. Peugeot’s hatchback is receiving a refresh soon, with updated specs, so it should resist the Dacia Spring and Renault Megane EV’s attempts at #1. Meanwhile, unlike in neighboring Germany and other markets, the Model Y will have to share the spotlight with the Model 3 in France — since a) this is not (yet) as SUV-crazed a market as others and b) this is a more price-sensitive market, so the price difference between the Model 3 and Model Y might keep many buyers from flocking to the crossover, possibly preventing the crossover from becoming the strongest contender for the best seller title.

The bronze medal went to the Tesla Model 3, which went up a spot compared to November, profiting from a slow month from the Fiat 500e, something the Renault Megane EV also took advantage of to climb one spot, into 4th.

With the 3008 PHEV crossover ending in 9th and winning the best selling PHEV title, and two other models making it into the top 20 (e-2008 and 308 PHEV), Peugeot will surely celebrate another positive year. This also highlights the Stellantis strategy of relying on a strong, broad lineup (7 models in the top 20) instead of star players.

Regarding last-minute position changes, the Tesla Model Y switched positions with the Peugeot 3008 PHEV, ending the year in 8th.

There were 9 BEVs in top 10 positions, while the Mini Cooper EV reached the 14th position at the expense of the Mercedes GLC PHEV, with the German SUV currently going through a generational change.

The Climber of the Month was the VW ID.3, joining the table in #18. That is still a disappointing position, especially considering that last year it had ended in #12, and in 2020 it was #9. …

Looking by size categories, the city car category was the most exciting to follow. The Dacia Spring won the race again, but it had to sweat to beat the Fiat 500e. Also interesting to realize: we have three city EVs in the top 10. And what do you know — city EVs do sell in Europe!

Looking at the 2020 best selling full size model, the honor went to the BMW X5 PHEV. With 2,772 deliveries, it beat the Porsche Cayenne PHEV (2,361 units). The category’s best selling BEV was once again the Audi e-tron — but with a lower score than in 2020 (489 units vs. 804 units in 2020).

In the remaining categories, the Peugeot e-208 comfortably beat the Renault Zoe; the Renault Megane EV won in the compact category; and in the midsize category, it was a Tesla fest, with the US automaker taking 1st and 2nd place (the Model 3 won the upper hand).

Top Selling Brands for EV Sales in France — January–December 2022

Looking at the brand ranking, disruption has also drawn blood. Peugeot (14.1%, down from 14.8%) regained its title, leaving Renault (13.6%, down from 13.9%) the silver medal for the second year running.

Tesla (8.9%, up from 8.2%) was the 2022 bronze medalist, followed by Mercedes (5.9%) and Dacia (5.6%).

Top Selling Auto Groups & Alliances for EV Sales in France — January–December 2022

Looking at sales by OEM, Stellantis (28.4%, down from 29.7%) was the kingpin thanks to a strong lineup. It was followed by Renault–Nissan–Mitsubishi (20.4%) and then Volkswagen Group in 3rd (10%, up from 9.2%).

Off the podium, we have Hyundai–Kia (9.1%, down from 9.4%) and then Tesla (8.9%).


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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 472 posts and counting. See all posts by José Pontes