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100% Electric Vehicles Now Equal 16% Of New Car Sales In France

1 in 4 new passenger vehicles in France had a plug in February.

The China-made Dacia Spring was last month’s best selling EV and the 8th best selling car overall in France.

Plugins continue to rise in France, with last month’s plugin vehicle registrations ending at 30,119 units, divided between 19,683 BEVs (or 16% share of the overall auto market) and 10,436 PHEVs (8% share of the auto market). The former jumped 46% year over year (YoY), while the latter were up by just 7%.

The 20 Best Selling Electric Vehicles in France — February 2023

With the overall market slowly recovering, up 9% YoY, but down a significant 25% compared to February 2020 (the last normal month in the market), plugins are growing faster than the overall market and reached 23% share of the market (14% BEV) year to date (YTD).

In February, pure electrics once again outsold PHEVs — 65% share of the plugin market vs. 35% — allowing BEVs to continue gaining a bit more ground in the YTD race (62% BEV vs. 38% PHEV). This is a good departure over what was happening a year ago (57% BEVs vs. 43% PHEVs). Expect BEVs to keep gaining ground throughout the year, as they keep growing faster than plugin hybrids.

Last month’s best seller was the Dacia Spring, with an impressive 2,872 registrations, its best result in 15 months, allowing it to be 8th overall. The Tesla Model Y followed suit, with 2,485 deliveries, allowing the crossover to be 11th overall and the best selling midsize model in the mainstream market.

After stealing the thunder in that category from the local brands year ago, the German Three Marys (BMW, Mercedes, Audi) are now losing the midsize category crown in France to Tesla, with the Model Y being by far the best selling midsizer this year. This is actually replicating what is happening across the Rhine….

The remaining podium position went to the Peugeot 208 EV, with the French hatchback outselling a strong #4 Fiat 500e. The Italian scored 1,919 registrations, its best result in 9 months. An underperforming Renault Megane EV ended the month in 5th, with 1,069 registrations, its worst score in the last 7 months. Reasons for such a slow month for the Megane? Well, part of the explanation lies just below the French EV, with the MG 4 showing up in 6th with a record 1,004 sales.

Tesla isn’t really a major threat to French carmakers, as they were already niche players in the midsize market — they do not have much to lose in that segment. But, compact and small models are their bread and butter, and if Chinese EVs start to become successful there, then the future could look pretty dim.

And that’s what seems to be happening between these two. Although the Renault looks to be slightly more refined than the MG product, there is a €10,000 price difference between the two (€43,000 vs. €33,000). That’s despite comparable specs. So … is the Megane more appealing than the MG? Probably, but is it €10,000 more appealing than the China-made EV? Well … probably not.

Elsewhere, a mention goes out to the “meh” results of the #8 Renault Zoe and #9 Renault Twingo EV. On the flipside, the #10 Citroen C5 Aircross PHEV was the leader in the PHEV category, with 653 sales. In fact, it was a #1 plus #2 win for Stellantis in this category, thanks to the 11th spot of the DS 7 PHEV, which got 598 sales, its best result in over a year. As their eCMP-platform BEVs are transitioning into the new powertrain, Stellantis is stepping up its PHEV production to fill in the gap.

In the second half of the table, one highlight was the VW ID.3, in #17 with 445 sales. It was the best selling model from Volkswagen Group in France. Just below it, we have the #18 Volvo XC40, which ended the month just three units behind the German hatchback with 442 sales, 252 of them belonging to the BEV version.

Just below the top 20, and highlighting a good month for their respective brands, the Volvo XC60 PHEV ended the month with 311 registrations — its best result in 11 months — and the VW Tiguan PHEV had its best result since June 2021, with 298 registrations.

These positive results from PHEV models happen despite PHEVs having lost the purchase incentive at the end of 2022. So, this demand is not incentive-derived. However, there’s still the French Malus system, where the most emission-polluting vehicles are heavily taxed, so people are still incentivized to purchase a PHEV — while they don’t get any kind of purchase incentive, they still benefit from the fact that they pay less taxes than they would for a pure-ICE vehicle. And no one likes to pay taxes….

The 20 Best Selling Electric Vehicles in France — January–February 2023

Looking at the 2023 ranking, 1st place is still in the hands of the Dacia Spring, but depending on the Tesla Model Y’s high-tide March, the crossover could jump from 4th into the leadership position. We’ll see.

More evidence of how positive the month was for Tesla, the Model 3 jumped into the first half of the table, ending in 10th. Expect Tesla’s sedan to climb a few more positions in March, possibly to 7th.

In the second half of the table, we have three new entries, with Mercedes placing two models in the table, the GLA crossover in 15th and the new generation GLC in 17th. The GLC is set to disrupt the current Stellantis domination of the PHEV category, where the conglomerate owns all top 4 positions!

Finally, in #16, we have the veteran Hyundai Kona EV making one last lap around the circuit before the new generation replaces the current one and it finally rests in EV Heaven.

Auto Brands Selling the Most Electric Vehicles in France

Looking at the brand ranking, despite losing market share, the top two brands remained stable, with both Peugeot (12.6%) and Renault (10.6%) keeping their gold and silver medals. However, comparing their share of the EV market to what they had a year ago, Peugeot fares worse than Renault, with the former losing 4.6% share while the latter was only down by just 0.9%.

In the last place on the podium, Dacia (8.7%, up 1 percentage point) is a stable bronze medalist, but it could see its spot in danger depending on Tesla’s high tide. The US automaker is currently 4th, with 7.5%, which is down from the 8.8% it had a year ago. Is Tesla starving other markets to the profit of the German one?

Off the podium, Fiat (6.4%) is comfortable in 5th, far from #4 Tesla (7.5%) but also safe from #6 MG (5.6%).

Auto Groups Selling the Most Electric Vehicles in France

As for OEMs, Stellantis is the major force in this market, with a commanding 30.6% market share. The Renault–Nissan–Mitsubishi Alliance is far behind in #2, with 20.1% share, while Volkswagen Group is #3, with 8.8%, having earned a full 1% share year over year.

Off the podium, we now have Hyundai–Kia in 4th (7.8%) and Tesla in 5th (just 0.3% market share behind). The US maker could climb to 4th by the end of March.

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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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