16% Of New Cars Were BEVs In France In January

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The French plugin passenger car market is continuing to grow. Recently, this is all thanks to pure electrics (BEVs) jumping 37% to 20,017 registrations, or 16% share, in January. Plugin hybrids (PHEVs) were also up — in this case, a moderate rate of 2% year over year (YoY) to 10,509 units, or 8.6% share.

Pure electrics had 65% of plugin sales, an important improvement over the 59% rate they had 12 months ago. While the trend isn’t as significant as elsewhere, it seems the French market is going in the right direction, once again preferring BEVs over plugin hybrids.

So, 2024 plugin vehicle (PEV) market share started at 25% (16% BEV), which is a small jump from the 22% share of 13 months ago. This all points to the idea that we will see the French market go north of the 30% mark this year, rising up from the 26% of 2023. We’ll see!

Looking at January’s best sellers, the Peugeot e-208 started the race in number one, thanks to the production ramp-up of the refreshed version. Considering that it started 2023 in only 4th, it seems the French hatchback is looking to recover its best seller crown in 2024, which it previously won in 2022.

Now, will it get there? Considering its class will see the arrival of the cheaper Citroen e-C3 and the hotly anticipated Renault 5, it won’t be easy, but for now it leads the pack….

The Dacia Spring was the runner-up, with 1,937 registrations, while the Tesla Model 3 also started the year on a strong note, with 1,623 registrations.

With a delay between the announcement of the end of subsidies for EVs made outside of Europe, and actual enforcement with new orders, together with significant discounts on some models, it seems that for now the subsidy-related disruption is not visible on the table. Two made-in-China models were on the podium.

One of the surprises this month was the Peugeot 308 jumping to 6th, with over 1,000 registrations, ending ahead of its arch rival, the Renault Megane EV, which was 7th with 1,063 registrations (it was 3rd in January 2023). The MG4 was 8th, after having been 5th twelve months ago.

Highlighting a good month from Stellantis, the Fiat 600e and Jeep Avenger EV both got their debut presences in the table thanks to record performances. The Fiat crossover scored 445 registrations, allowing it to end the month in 14th, while its US cousin, which is also made in Tychy, Poland, had 345 registrations, joining the table in 20th.

Another recent model making an impact is the BMW iX1, rising to 12th with 467 registrations. This result, added to the #15 spot of the veteran Mini Cooper EV, allowed the German OEM to have a good start of the year, which might place it on track to be a candidate for a podium presence in the OEM ranking … but more on that later.

Outside the top 20, the BYD Atto 3 crossover was close to joining the table, ending the month with 328 registrations in what was its first volume month in France. Another made-in-China compact crossover, the Volvo EX30, also made itself noticed, by reaching 307 registrations in its first month on the market.

Elsewhere, and highlighting the market’s current thirst for crossover-ish small to compact EVs, the e-C4 crossover-hatchback scored a decent 308 registrations. In a BEV-based future, the innovative and off-beat spirit of Citroen will hopefully prevail and be a welcome addition to the group.

Finally, and highlighting the “sunset phase” of the Renault Zoe, the 8-time winner of the best seller title in France registered just 274 units in January, a far cry from the 646 units of a year ago.

Renault is now in a sort of no man’s land, with the hotly anticipated Renault 5 draining demand from the Zoe and, partially, the Twingo EV, while the upcoming Renault Scenic, a new compact crossover with competitive pricing is surely making a significant dent into the slightly smaller Renault Megane EV’s sales. The Scenic starts at €41,000, with the long-range version (92 kWh battery) starting at just €47,000!

So, expect a slow first quarter for Renault, with deliveries picking up afterwards.

With the transition process finally in motion, in its BEV lineup, Peugeot (14.9%) was the brand leader in January. Expect the French make to try to stay on top for as long as possible.

Tesla (10.5%) started in 2nd, while in 3rd place, and far from the top two, we have Renault, with 7% share.

Dacia ended January in 4th, with 6.3%. It was followed by Fiat (6.1%) in a surprising 5th spot, a great improvement from the 8th place of a year ago.

Just outside the top 5, we have a strong BMW (6%), which is looking to reach 4th place in the future.

Expect two different races in the table. The top three brands will be competing for the title, while below them, Dacia, Fiat, BMW (and maybe Citroen?) will be looking to win 4th place.

In the OEM race, thanks to a strong start, the multinational conglomerate Stellantis has begun the year with a commanding 25.2% market share. It is followed at a deep distance by the Renault–Nissan Alliance (13.8%), with Renault and Dacia pulling the weight of Nissan and Mitsubishi on their backs. This is one of the problems of the Alliance — while the brands can go head to head with top Stellantis models, the ones on the bench are … meh. Proof of that is the fact that while the Alliance has three representatives on the table, Stellantis has … seven.

In the last place on the podium, we have Tesla (10.5%). Then, for 4th place, we have a close race between #5 BMW Group (8.1%) and #4 Volkswagen Group (8% share). Both are comfortably ahead of #6 Hyundai–Kia (6.4%).

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Looking ahead, Stellantis is certain to keep its comfortable lead, while the Renault–Nissan Alliance should gain some distance over #3 Tesla once the new Scenic crossover and 5 hatchback land.

Below the podium, BMW Group is looking to be the favorite right now, as the namesake brand will continue to slowly gain share in the French market. Mini will probably lose sales from the Cooper EV once the new made-in-China generation lands, but on the other hand, the new Mini Countryman EV should compensate the loss of sales of its smaller sibling.

Volkswagen Group does not have fresh metal to help its sales, while Hyundai–Kia sales will be hurt by the loss of subsidies for their EVs (except for the Czech-made Hyundai Kona EV).

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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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