October saw plugin EVs take 60.6% share in Sweden, up fractionally from 59.4% year on year. EV volumes were up by some 14%, barely ahead of overall market growth. Overall auto volume was 25,016 units, up by 12% year on year. The Volkswagen ID.4 was the bestselling EV in October.
With October seeing combined EVs take 60.6% share, full battery electrics (BEVs) contributed 37.6%, with plugin hybrids (PHEVs) bringing 23.0%. These figures compare with 59.4%, with 35.5% BEV, and 23.9% PHEV, year on year.
While the plateauing of PHEV share is normal, the BEVs slower growth in share YoY may reflect the late-2022 incentive cuts on new orders. The delivery pipeline for those vehicle orders placed just before the cuts has likely now worked itself through, and the current lukewarm growth in registrations now may reflect the “hangover” of orders placed after that incentive cut.
Yet, in volume terms, BEVs were still up YoY in October — by 18%. This is lower than the Q1-Q3 YoY growth of 40%, but is not a disaster, and still ahead of the overall market (12% YoY growth in October).
As with other incentive change hangovers, we might hope that the lull will be fairly short-lived, with registrations recovering a few months from now. Industry body Mobility Sweden, however, cautions that “in the order statistics, electric cars are the product category that falls the most right now, which will be seen in the registration statistics shortly” (machine translation).
We will have to wait see how this pans out in the short term. In the medium term, helped by diversifying model choices, including at more affordable price points, Swedish car buyers will still increasingly turn to BEVs over all other powertrains.
Even PHEVs were up slightly in volume (7% YoY), though trailing the growth of the broader auto market, which was mainly led by BEV, and petrol powertrains. Diesel and HEV both lost volume year on year.
With 2023’s overall leader, the Tesla Model Y, on a logistics hiatus at the start of the quarter, the Volkswagen ID.4 had a chance to shine, taking top spot with 994 units.
The other regularly popular models, the Volvo XC40, and Skoda Enyaq, took third and fourth spots, not far behind the ID.4.
The Kia Niro saw 661 units, its best volume since June 2022. Another notable performance came from the Ora Funky Cat, which entered the top 20 for the first time (with 141 units), since launching in Sweden last December.
Just outside the top 20, the new BMW i5 (launched in Sweden just last month) has already climbed to 94 units, and 22nd place. As we noted last month, its sibling BMW i4 has often been close to the top 5 in Sweden (and is 8th YTD), so the i5 should have room to grow here.
Another newcomer is the Kia EV9, which has just seen its first deliveries in Sweden (16 initial units). This is a large SUV (5010 mm) with 7 seats, available in rear wheel drive, and all wheel drive variants. The WLTP range is up to 541 km, and — built on the 800 volt e-GMP platform — DC charging is fast (10% to 80% in 23 minutes). It is currently priced from 869,900 krone (€73,500), though more affordable variants should arrive in the future.
Perhaps the most important newcomer is the BYD Dolphin, a compact hatchback (4,290 mm) priced from 359,900 krone (€30,429), with WLTP range up to 427 km, and charging 10% to 80% in around 40 minutes. Given the success of the similarly positioned MG4 in Sweden (14th rank YTD), the BYD Dolphin should do well in this market.
Let’s look at the trailing 3 month picture:
Despite low ebb logistics in October, the Tesla Model Y still has a strong lead over the VW ID.4, and Volvo XC40. The top 4 ranks are unchanged from 3 months prior. Further back, the Audi Q4 e-tron, and MG4, have both climbed 4 spots over the period.
The Tesla Model 3 has recently fallen out of the top 20, from its previous 12th spot, though this is likely temporary, resulting from the “Highland” refresh. Once the new version starts making its way through to the Swedish market, we should expect to see it back in the top 20.
Despite October’s 12% YoY growth in overall auto sales, the broader Swedish economy is still contracting. Latest quarterly figures show a negative 1.2% YoY growth in Q3, from negative 1.0% in Q2. Inflation has further cooled, now at 6.5%, though interest rates are still high at 4%. Manufacturing PMI improved to 45.7 points in October, from 43.3 points in September.
Mobility Sweden, the auto industry association, tells us that EV purchases are even more weighted to company buyers than last month — 7 out of 10. They report that the private market for BEVs that are logged in the industry’s internal order statistics is still relatively weak compared to the business market. As we noted above, we will have to wait to see how this plays out.
What are your thoughts on Sweden’s transition to electric transport? Please join in the debate in the comments section.
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