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Electric Cars

Volkswagen Outsells Tesla In Germany, ID.3 Sales Surge In China

Volkswagen sales of electric cars rebounded strongly in July thanks to a price cut for the ID.3 in China and the arrival of the ID. Buzz.

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Through the first seven months of 2023, Volkswagen sold more electric cars in Germany than Tesla. Although, the final tallies are very similar. According to Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority, Tesla outsold all rivals in 2022 and during the first six months of 2023, but strong sales in July — helped in part by deliveries of the long awaited ID. Buzz — put Volkswagen into the lead at the end of July.

DW reports sales for Volkswagen electric models totaled 41,475 for the period, compared to 40,289 for Tesla. (Note that we are only looking at fully electric models here.) Mercedes was in third place with 20,613 registrations, Audi recorded 16,786 sales, and BMW registered 15,987 sales. Hyundai was close behind with 15,411. In total, there were 268,926 first registrations for electric vehicles in Germany between the start of January and the end of July, which represents about 14% of the new car market for that period in that country. Sales of combustion engine powered cars — both gasoline and diesel — totaled 1.64 million for the same period. You can see a broader and more detailed investigation into Germany plugin vehicle sales in July and the first 7 months of the year here: EVs Take 26% Share In Germany — First BMW i5 Deliveries.

The German auto industry has taken a beating since the end of the Covid pandemic, fueled by supply chain issues and disruptions caused by Russia’s continuing criminal assault on Ukraine. After a slow start to the year, sales of electric cars were up nearly 70% year over year, boosting overall sales figures for the year. German carmakers Volkswagen and BMW produced 300,300 vehicles in July, 20% more than in the same period last year according to Germany’s VDA industry association. New car sales in Germany are still well below 2019, the year before the pandemic struck.

EV Incentives Ending

Germany is planning to cut back on electric car incentives in September, which industry analysts worry could damage electric car sales in the short term. Customers may be loading up on EVs now while those incentives are still in effect. In addition, the German economy is experiencing weakness due to stagnating growth, high inflation, and rising interest rates. Higher energy cost due to the war on Ukraine are also a factor.

Volkswagen ID.3 Price Cuts Drive Sales In China

The Volkswagen ID.3 electric car sold a paltry 1,819 units in June when it was priced at the equivalent of $19,800. The ID.3, which is manufactured by the SAIC–Volkswagen joint venture, has never sold more than 5000 cars in any month since it was introduced in the Chinese market in 2021.

That changed in July of this year when Volkswagen cut the base price of the ID.3 to $16,600. An upgraded version of the car with more standard equipment now retails for $20,800. Once the new prices were announced, sales of the ID.3 surged in China to a new monthly record of 7,378.

The dimensions of the Chinese version of the car are virtually identical to the European version, which is manufactured primarily in Zwickau. It comes with a single rear-mounted motor rated at 125 kW (170 hp) and a peak torque of 310 Newton-meters. The battery is a 57.3 kWh unit that gives the car 450 kilometers of range in the Chinese New Energy Vehicle Test Procedure test (CLTC).

The ID.3 has to contend with with competition from two BYD models —  the Dolphin, which is priced at $16,200, and the Yuan Plus, also known as the ATTO 3, which lists for $18,600.

Volkswagen ID.6

Credit: Volkswagen

In addition to the ID.3, Volkswagen also sells the ID.4 SUV and ID.6 station wagon-ish SUV in China. Chinese customers have a penchant for buying cars with more rear legroom than cars sold elsewhere. Last month, 4,031 ID.4 cars found new homes while 1,413 of the ID.6 were sold. In all, Volkswagen sold a total of 12,922 cars in July — a new monthly sales record for SAIC–Volkswagen.

Car News China says the success of the price reduction strategy for the ID.3 has increased its electric vehicle sales in the competitive Chinese market. It thinks similar price cuts would invigorate ID.4 and ID.6 sales as well. No doubt that is true. Although, Volkswagen may be struggling to be profitable in the Chinese market.

The Takeaway

Around the CleanTechnica fire pit, which is fueled by green hydrogen produced from pure spring water, we were speculating today about how many ID.3 cars Volkswagen could sell in America at $20,800. Those who remember the strong demand for the Yugo and the Hyundai Excel know what happens when inexpensive cars are introduced in the US.

The ID.3 Pro starts in Germany at €39,995 ($44,000), which gives you are very clear idea of how much cheaper it is to manufacture cars in China instead of Germany. The Chinese car sells for half what the German-made car costs. America could sure use some low-priced electric cars, but it seems that is not going to happen any time soon.

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Written By

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new."


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