26% Of New Cars In France Now Plugin Cars

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Plugin vehicles continue to rise in France, with last month’s plugin vehicle registrations ending at 29,184 units, divided between 19,657 BEVs (or 17% share of the overall auto market) and 9,527 PHEVs (8% share of the auto market). The former jumped 60% year over year (YoY), while the latter were up by 55%.

Looking at the remaining powertrains, while petrol is kind of hanging on (38% share this August vs. 39% a year ago), diesel is in freefall (9% now vs. 16% a year ago), so the black fuel’s new car sales could be dead a year from now in France! And to think France had 72% diesel share in 2012….

The overall market was in recovery mode in August, up 24% YoY, but plugins grew faster than the overall market and reached 24% share of the market (15% BEV) through the first 8 months of the year.

The 20 Best Selling Electric Vehicles in France — August 2023

In August, pure electrics once again outsold PHEVs — 67% share of the plugin market vs. 33% — keeping BEVs at 63% vs. 37% PHEV. Expect BEVs to gain ground compared to PHEVs throughout the rest of the year.

Last month’s best seller position went back to the Tesla Model Y. The added bonus for Tesla is that its Model 3, despite being in runout mode, managed to win 2nd place. That means another gold plus silver for Big T.

Speaking of models awaiting a refresh, the Peugeot e-208 EV took the last position on the podium, winning the race for bronze over its cousin the Fiat 500e (4th, with 1,672 units) and the dragon-slayer MG4 (5th, 1,598 units), with the Sino-British ending the month as the best selling compact model, ahead of a couple of local heroes, the Renault Megane EV (7th) and Peugeot 308 (9th).

And while the Peugeot 308 could soon try to defeat the MG model, thanks to expected volume sales from the BEV version (which delivered only 61 units in August), its French arch-rival has little else, other than a significant price cut, as a way to rebound sales.

A surprise this month was the robust performance from the Mercedes GLC PHEV, which ended the month in 8th, allowing it to be the best selling plugin hybrid in the table.

In the second half of the table, we can highlight the Kia Niro, which had 414 registrations, 341 of them being the BEV version. The Niro reminds me of those team players who, despite not setting the world alight, consistently deliver the goods to their teams without much fuss.

Despite August usually being a slow month in France, since most people are more focused on their summer holidays than getting a new car, the BMW iX1 managed to pull a record result, 341 registrations. So, it seems the Bavarian make again has a best selling model in its ranks in France. And there’s no sight of the Mercedes EQA or Audi Q4 e-tron….

Just below the top 20, BMW had more reasons to celebrate, as the iX3 model also hit a record month with 289 registrations. Is it an early sign of a strong end of the year?

But BMW wasn’t the only German OEM to show strong deliveries. At Volkswagen Group, both the VW ID.3 (285 units) and Skoda Enyaq (310 units) were close to the top 20, while Mercedes saw its Smart #1 crossover reach 239 units last month.

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

Looking at the 2023 ranking, the top two positions seem already taken, with the Tesla Model Y being the likely 2023 best seller. If that comes to be, that would be a first for the crossover but the second trophy for Tesla (having previously won the title in 2021 with the Model 3).

Still on the topic of the podium positions, the #3 Fiat 500e lost some ground to the #4 Peugeot e-208 EV, with the French EV now just 270 units away from the bronze position. And with its refresh coming soon, expect the little Lion to end the year in the last place on the podium. Unless

… the refreshed Tesla Model 3 surpasses it in December. With the old Model 3 managing to climb one position in August, to 5th, it will be interesting to see how smoothly the transition to the refreshed version goes. If there are no hiccups, expect a record month in December, which might pull the sedan to a podium position in the last month of the year!

A few positions below, the Peugeot 308 was up one spot, to 8th, but despite being just one position below the hot selling MG4, in 7th, the truth is that the pointy hatchback from MG has double the sales of the French model, with the 5,000-unit difference signaling a wide ditch between the Magnificent 7 top 7 models (all BEVs, by the way…) and the remaining competition.

In the second half of the table, there were a few position changes. The DS 7 PHEV was up to #12, while just below the French SUV, the Mini Cooper EV was also up one spot, to #13.

But the highlight was the new Mercedes GLC PHEV jumping into the table, at #16, and with the VW Tiguan PHEV less than 100 units below it, expect the Mercedes SUV to soon surpass it and become the best selling German model in France.

Auto Brands Selling the Most Electric Vehicles in France

Looking at the brand ranking, Tesla increased its lead at the top of the podium, with 12.9% share, up from 12.2% in July, while Peugeot (12%, down from 12.2%) stayed in second. As a reminder, this is an historical event — no other foreign brand has ever been ahead of the local heroes in France! And at this point, it looks like the US brand will win this race by the end of the year…

In the last place on the podium, Renault (7.9%, down 0.4%) continues in free-fall, due to slow results across its EV lineup. The company should keep an eye on its discount value-for-money brand, Dacia (6.8%), which now has the larger French brand in target range and could aim to displace it in the future!

As if we needed even more evidence of the disruptive times we live in, SAIC’s MG (5.8%, up from 5.7%) has gained some distance over #6 Fiat (5.5%) and has kept the 5th position. Considering the current strength of MG’s lineup (based especially on the red hot MG4), we might see it challenge Dacia’s 4th spot in a few months. MG only needs to scale up production to meet the overwhelming demand for its sharp hatchback.

Auto Groups Selling the Most Electric Vehicles in France

As for OEMs, Stellantis is the major force in this market, but it lost some market share in August, dropping from 28.6% in July to its current 28.2% in August.

But that is still better than what is happening at the Renault–Nissan–Mitsubishi Alliance (15.3%, down from 16.0%). Its share loss continues, with sales bleeding from every brand. With the Renault 5 still a year away, hard times await the Alliance….

At this pace, even 3rd placed Tesla (12.9%) can try to have a go at the 2nd position by year end!

Off the podium, we have a rising Volkswagen Group in 4th, with 11.1%, up from 10.5% in July. It is benefitting from the namesake brand’s resurgence — especially thanks to the recent registration jump of the VW Tiguan PHEV. That has allowed Volkswagen Group to gain some distance over another rising OEM, #5 BMW Group (7.4%, up from 7.1%).


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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 446 posts and counting. See all posts by José Pontes