The Battle For Germany’s EV Market, Part IX — Das Hangover Edition

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The overall German auto market was flat in September, due to a big drop in the BEV market (-29% year over year). The German automotive market is still climbing back toward the level of its last normal year, 2019 (-8% compared to September 2019).

31,714 BEVs were registered in September (14% of the auto market), down 29% YoY. This big drop is due to the end of BEV incentives for company cars. So, this “hangover” will surely be temporary, and only applicable to company-car-dependent models … like the VW ID.models. But more on that later.

Meanwhile, PHEVs had 15,383 registrations, 6.9% of the total market, which is approximately half of what they had a year ago. The pure electric hangover is visible in the BEV vs. PHEV sales breakdown, too, with pure electrics representing just 67% of all plugin sales in September, 9 percentage points below this year’s average.

The 20 Best Selling Electric Vehicles in Germany — September 2023

With September being a hangover month, a sort of unusual top 20 was expected due to PHEVs profiting from the drop in BEV sales. Turns out, though, it wasn’t as bad as expected. Only five plugin hybrid models made the September table.

The winner wasn’t really a surprise. The Tesla Model Y won another best seller trophy, thanks to 3,921 registrations. It was 7th on the overall auto market table. The following position brought a surprise, though, with the Opel Corsa EV benefitting from the first deliveries of the refreshed model to reach 2,175 units, pulling it into the 2nd position.

The last position on the podium went to the Fiat 500e. With 1,765 registrations, it managed to overcome the #4 Ford Kuga PHEV (1,411 registrations, making it the best selling PHEV) and #5 Opel Mokka EV. Overall, Stellantis placed three models in the top 5! Not bad, eh?

On the other hand, the best selling model from Volkswagen Group was the #6 Audi Q4 e-tron, with 1,187 registrations, immediately followed by the #7 Skoda Enyaq.

Considering these last two positions, and that the Cupra Born was 10th, it is kind of embarrassing that both the VW ID.4 & ID.3 were only #14 and #19 in September. That says a lot about how much these two models depend on the company car market.

The remaining surprises were in the lower half of the table. Stellantis placed two other models in the table, thanks to the 11th position of the Peugeot e-208 and the 17th spot of the Opel Grandland PHEV, with the compact crossover being Opel’s 3rd model in the table. That was a first for the German make in its domestic market.

Another big surprise was the Mercedes EQE(!) reaching the 13th position, with the sedan securing its first best seller award in the full size category, and if we were to add the SUV version to the tally, it would even reach a 4-digit score and put it in a top 10 position! That would be a new record for the nameplate — and in a BEV hangover month!!

Is the Audi Q8 e-tron reign coming to an end in the full size category?…

Still talking about the three-pointed-star stable, while it wasn’t really a surprise to see the GLC and C-Class return to the table — in #9 and #18, respectively — the EQA’s #8 spot, from 1,104 registrations, is actually a stronger position than expected. Clearly, Mercedes ended up as one of the winners of the month, placing four models in the top 20, the most that any individual brand had this September.

Outside the top 20, the only real news was the first registrations of the VW ID.7 (31 units), a somewhat slow career start for a highly anticipated model that is expected to end 2024 in a top 10 position.

The 20 Best Selling Electric Vehicles in Germany — January–September 2023

Regarding the 2023 table, the Tesla Model Y sits well above everything else, with a 18,000-unit advantage over the runner-up VW ID.4. This is a disruptive performance for a foreign model in German lands — not only in the EV category, but also in the mainstream market.

The remaining top positions stayed more or less the same. The #4 Fiat 500e recovered some ground over the #3 VW ID.3, but with 1,800 units still separating the two, and VW’s usual end-of-year peak, do not expect the little Italian to displace the German EV from the last place on the podium.

In fact, with Volkswagen Group currently placing five models in the top seven positions, only the #8 Tesla Model 3 could ruffle some feathers in the current German OEM domination of the top spots.

The second half of the table is far more interesting, with four position changes, starting by the Climber of the Month, the Opel Corsa EV. Thanks to a strong result in September, it surged seven positions, into 12th, and it is now in the race for the title in the B-segment/subcompact category, together with the #11 Mini Cooper EV and the #10 Hyundai Kona EV.

A couple of positions below, the BMW iX1 continues to rise, having jumped two positions in September to #14. Just below it, the Mercedes C-Class PHEV was also up two spots, in this case to #15.

Still on the topic of the YTD table, we have the Opel Mokka EV returning to a top 20 position, in #20. Thanks to the surprisingly good September, Opel placed two models in the top 20 table, something that hadn’t happened for a while.

On a different note, despite the BEV hangover, plugin hybrids haven’t managed to add more models to the table, with the category currently only having the #15 Mercedes C-Class PHEV as representative in the top 20. Will the 2023 top 20 end this way?

Auto Brands Selling the Most Electric Vehicles in Germany

In the brand ranking, Volkswagen (11.9%, down from 12.3%) kept the leadership spot, but it has lost almost 1% share in just two months (it had 12.8% in July). A small bump in the road, or something to think about?

As for #2 Mercedes (11.2%, up from 11%), the Stuttgart company won on all fronts. Not only did it gain market share, but it also saw its most direct competitors — #1 Volkswagen and #3 Tesla — lose share. The US company dropped from 10.1% in August to its current 10%.

Another winner was BMW (7.5%, up from 7.3%). Like Mercedes, it profited from its PHEV lineup to increase its market share and secure its #4 position. It was helped by the fact that #5 Audi (6.6%, down from 6.9%) was also hit by the end of BEV subsidies.

Audi’s drop could give #6 Hyundai (5.1%) and maybe even rising #7 Opel (4.7% share) some hope of racing into the 5th spot by year end. Fingers crossed.

Auto Groups Selling the Most Electric Vehicles in Germany

Looking at the OEM ranking, Volkswagen Group has its domestic market well in hand with 27.4% share. But it lost 0.6% share in September, which added to the 0.8% drop in August could mean that some dark clouds could obscure the German OEM’s performance in 2024.

Volkswagen Group is followed at a distance by #2 Mercedes-Benz (13.8%, up from 13.6%). The OEM profited from a strong performance from its namesake brand.

Stellantis also benefited from a strong month — although, in this case, the gains were more modest than with Mercedes. The multinational conglomerate raised its share to 12.5%.

In 5th, we have BMW Group at 9.5%, up 0.1% share month over month. Below BMW Group, #6 Hyundai–Kia (8.3%, down from 8.5%) has seen its dream of reaching the 5th spot become more distant, as Kia dragged the Korean OEM down into the red.

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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.

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