Tuesday, October 22, 2019

China September 2019

Resultado de imagem para bmw 530le 2019
This land yacht is the best selling foreigner in China

Tesla Model 3, GAC Aion S and BMW 530Le shine in depressed market  

There seem to be no end to the end-of-incentives hangover, with the Chinese plugin market dropping a steep 27% YoY, and PHEVs crashing 45% YoY last month, while BEVs got finally dragged into the red ink, dropping a harsh 20% in September, while the overall market behavior was somewhat not so catastrophic, sliding down just 6% YoY.

In the midst of this adverse environment, September’s PEV share was just 4%, dropping the 2019 PEV market share to 5.7% (4.4% for BEVs alone), which is still above the 2018 result (4.2%), but should the market continue in the red until the end of the year, the 2019 growth rate should be minimal, compared to the exponential rates of previous years.

The reason for this string of drops lies on the subsidy changes that happened on June 26, when NEV subsidies were cut off completely for vehicles with less than 250 kms electric range, while those with higher range saw their subsidies halved.

From then on, we are witnessing a less subsidy dependent market, with smaller, cheaper models unable to compensate the subsidy loss, while the most expensive end of the market continues to thrive, helping foreign OEMs to increase market share, now at 13%.

Currently China is the fastest evolving plugin market in the planet, with several new models outselling the YTD best sellers, like the just landed BYD e2 (2,078 units), the badge engineered JAC crossover E20X (2,236 units) from SOL, the new EV-only brand from Volkswagen, or the NIO ES6 (2,190).

In September, the nameplates that made an impression were the #3 Tesla Model 3, the #4 GAC Aion S and the #5 BMW 530Le, three different proposals that should start to become regular faces in future Top 5’s.

Here’s last month Top 5 Best Selling models individual performance:

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#1 – BAIC EU-Series: The electric sedan scored 8,710 units last month, with the Beijing Auto sedan recovering the monthly Best Seller title, while improving 15% month-on-month. The design and specs (215 hp, 416 kms / 260 mi NEDC, US $32,500) allows it to remain a popular choice, but with the competition increasing every passing month, BAIC has a tough job ahead of it, if it wants to keep leading the pack.

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#2 – Baojun E-Series: With the end of subsidies for most of the small city EVs, unable to reach the minimum 250 kms range, the few that still have access to subventions have seen their sales rise, and none did it more spectacularly than the Baojun E-Series, Shanghai Auto and General Motors offspring. The last months of the tiny two-seater have been their best yet, having registered 5,353 units last month. The updated range, thanks to a new 24 kWh battery, is a crucial tool to reach the subsidy minimum range requirement, which added to its competitive price (CNY 93,900 / USD 14,700) before subsidies, makes it an appealing model, especially considering its modern design and features. 

Resultado de imagem para Tesla Model 3 China

#3 – Tesla Model 3: The poster-child for electric mobility hasn’t yet taken over this market by storm, like it did elsewhere. Still, the Tesla sedan is making its own disruptive path, with the estimated 4,200 units of September allowing it to reach a podium seat. At this point, the Tesla nameplate is far from the domination held in North America or Europe, but with local production set to be a few weeks away, the sporty silhouette of the Model 3 should become a common sighting in this Top 5 soon.

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#4 – GAC Aion S: A few months ago I was mentioning the big potential of this model, saying it could reach a 10,000 units/month pace. And things are going well for the Aion S, because the sleek sedan is now at 4,006 units on its 5th month in the market, reaching the 4th place in September, its 3rd Top 5 spot in a row. Another sedan inspired by the Tesla Model 3 formula, GAC has high hopes for its new dedicated EV lineup, the Aion. Right now we have the sedan Aion S, but a midsize SUV, the LX, will soon follow. Back at the Aion S, beyond the stylish (and aerodynamic - 0.245cd) looks, this new model bears some impressive specs: a 59 kWh CATL NCM 811 battery, 510 km / 318 mi NEDC range and Level 2 driving aids, but the real killer is the price: Around 180,000 CNY / $26,000. Before subsidies. Like Kanye West would say: “Now, I ain’t sayin’ it’s a Tesla-killer / But the Aion is messin’ with the Best Sellers…”

Resultado de imagem para bmw 530le 2019

#5 – BMW 530Le: The rise and rise of BMW’s luxury sedan in China demonstrates two intersecting trends, first the never-ending increase in demand for environmentally-friendly vehicles in China, and second the need to fulfill the plugin quotas. Add the two together, and you have 3,486 units, a new record result, even without access to subsidies (then again, let’s face it, subsidies for cars at this price level don’t really make that much of a difference, the owners just use the money for some nicer alloys or optional creature comforts…), so the leader in the Luxury category should continue selling at over 3,000 units per month, which is well above its direct competitors, that are happy to reach 1,000 units in one month.

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GAC Aion S

2019 ranking

The market is now adapting to the new reality, now that certain models lost access to subsidies.

We’ll start with the most important position changes, with the #4 BYD Tang PHEV and the #5 Chery eQ climbing one position, at the expense of the BYD e5, that has seen its sales dry up (221 units).

The BYD workhorse sedan is now between a rock (subsidy cut) and a hard place (internal competition, with the new BYD e2), so the carmaker needs to do something, if it wants to revive its bread and butter model.

Elsewhere, both the BMW 530Le and the Tesla Model 3 benefitted from strong deliveries last month to jump several spots on the ranking, with the German sedan reaching #10, while the Californian was up to #11.

Oh, and with both nameplates separated by just 265 units, we should see a pretty interesting race for this year title of best foreign model. Stay tuned…

Another model profiting from the sales drought of many nameplates was the BAIC EX-Series, that climbed to #13, while its small sibling, the EC-Series, hanged on in #18.

One big event was the GAC Aion S reaching the Top 20, in #19, thanks to 4,006 units, its 4th consecutive personal best in only 5 months on the market, and with 3 months still to go, it wouldn’t be surprising if it still got time for a Top 10 spot in 2019. As for next year, it will be a strong contender for a Top 5 position…

Elsewhere, the SOL E20X seems to have started its regular deliveries, with 2,236 units, while the NIO ES6 reached 2,190 units in September, allowing the brand to stay as the Best-Selling Startup, while SAIC’s MG eZS crossover registered 1,800 units, a positive month for a model with high ambitions in export markets.


A mention also for the estimated 1,400 units of the Tesla Model X, the best- selling Luxury SUV last month, but with the Californian nameplate still 1,500 units behind the NIO ES8 (8,500 units) in the 2019 count, it seems a difficult task for the Tesla nameplate to remove the NIO from this year category leadership.

Looking at the manufacturers ranking, BYD (19%, down 4%) is losing momentum, while below it, BAIC (13%, up 1%) and SAIC (10%, up 1%) are benefitting from the new environment to gain share.

Outside the podium, Geely (6%) hangs on, watching the medal positions from a far, while at the same time gains space over smaller players (Chery, Great Wall, JAC…), behind it.

Will this Natural Selection help the market become more competitive? For now, the best foreign carmakers (Tesla, BMW and VW all have 3% each), are already surpassing several local OEMs, with these front runners winning crucial breathing space, in this highly competitive market.

On the other hand, it seems in the future only some 5 or 6 Chinese EV makers will be able to run with the best of the foreign brands…

Any bets on who they will be?

Monday, October 21, 2019

Japan September 2019

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Nissan Leaf leads in regressing market

In September, some 5.400 units were registered in the Japanese PEV market, down 2% YoY, which is still better than the YTD result (-15%), with the Japanese PEV continuing to be highly dependent from the two front runners, with both having 68% of the market.

The 2019 PEV share is now at 0.9% share (1% in September), down 0.1% regarding the 2018 result, and one wonders what can pull sales North of the 1% mark again.

Tesla Model 3? A Top 5 position seems likely, and it maybe has a shot at reaching #3, but market disruption won't come from it, for that we should need a local hero.

But...Who? The current leader Nissan Leaf continues with sliding sales (-20% YoY in September), same story for the #3 Outlander PHEV, while the #2 Prius PHEV last month had its best score since 2017, with 1.499 registrations, but in 2019, its sales are still down 20%, so unless some surprise happens next year, the Toyota hatchback won't be the agent of change. 

Maybe that role will be the upcoming Toyota RAV4 PHEV?  

On the Honda field, the Clarity PHEV continues being delivered in symbolic numbers (as in 10 to 20 units/month), with all hopes going to the much anticipated 2020 Honda e EV, but then again, if the model indeed becomes a success, will Honda have enough batteries for it?

What's left? Mazda is giving its first baby steps into electrification (the MX-30 model is still to be officially revealed), Subaru and Daihatsu are dependent from Toyota's stubburness, while Suzuki is focusing it's electrification efforts in India...so there still doubts that 2020 will provide the necessary jump from +/-1% share, to something like 2% share by the end of next year.

But despite all the hesitations and delays from local manufacturers, the best selling foreign OEM, BMW, is still Fourth, with 10% share, below Mitsubishi (13%).

Of course, the imminent landing of a certain Tesla Model 3 might change things...But it shouldn't be enough to change significantly the 2019 status quo.

But in 2020...

A few words on the Fuel Cell market, which is basically speaking of the Toyota Mirai, as the Honda Clarity FCEV is distributed monthy in (low) single digits.

As such, 552 Fuel Cells were registed in Japan this year, correponding to 0,01% of the market, if this sounds a puny result after 4 years on the market, the worst news is that sales are actually down 6% YoY...

Maybe the 2nd Generation Mirai, to be released in 2020, will change things? At least the new generation looks nice, something that can't be said about the first Mirai...#Terminatormobile

Friday, October 18, 2019

Israel September 2019

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Audi e-Tron shines in Israel

After a long absence, Israel is back at EVS, since then many things have happened, as this once PHEV-heavy market, the Top 5 Best Sellers of 2018 were all plugin hybrids, has become a bit more BEV-friendly, with BEV share growing from just 7% last year, to 17% (32% in September), mostly thanks to the resounding success of the Audi e-Tron, that jumped to the 3rd spot, and could climb higher in the ranking until the end of the year.   

The current PEV share is at 1.4%, which is already a surprisingly good result, but the September share reached an amazing 2.7%, thanks to 471 units, the second best result ever, with the Audi SUV proving to be decisive for this great result, thanks to 129 registrations, the first time a single model reaches three-digits in a single month. A prelude of things to come?

Anyway, the current leader is still the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, followed by another Midsize SUV, the Volvo XC60 PHEV, while outside the podium, the Mercedes E300e plugin hybrid also makes an appearance.

Just below this Top 5, we find the BMW 530e, just 7 units below its arch-rival from Mercedes.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Germany September 2019

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Tesla Model 3 #1 in record month

The German PEV passenger car market continues on the fast track in September, having scored a new record, with 9,452 registrations, doubling last year result, with BEVs (+150% YoY) pushing the market up, and this time PHEVs were also helping (+51%), allowing the PEV Share to reach a record 3.9% share last month, with BEVs alone hitting a best ever 2.4%, pulling the 2019 plugin share to 2.7% (1.7% BEV).

After the last win in June, September brought back the Tesla Model 3 to the monthly leadership, with 1,516 deliveries, its best result since March, while the BMW i3 picked up the runner-up spot and the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV got the 3rd place, allowing it to be last month Best Selling PHEV.

This time the Renault Zoe was dropped from the podium, having to settle with a 4th position, with 634 units, but considering the current skin generation change, it is not too bad. Expect it to rebound soon, possibly with a couple of four-digit performances by year end. (It will surely need them, if it wants to keep the 2019 Best Seller status, but more on that below…)

Tesla Model 3
BMW i3
Mit. Outlander PHEV 
Renault Zoe
 BMW 225xe A. Tourer

In the YTD table, things pretty balanced in the front group, with the leader Renault Zoe busy doing a reskin, the Tesla Model 3 profited from the usual end of quarter high tide to come closer to the French hatchback (only 194 units separates them), and surpass the BMW i3 at the same time, dropping the German hatchback to #3.

With 3 games (months) to play, the race is on between the Zoe and the Model 3, both with a 45% chance to win the prize, with both nameplates having to deal with unkown variables: it is still unknown how fast the new Zoe will be delivered in large volumes, while the Model 3 production/allocation for Germany in Q4 could be severely affected by the predictable inflated deliveries in the Netherlands, and on a smaller degree, by the UK demand, still in waiting-list deployment.

The remaining 10% chance to reach #1 goes to the BMW i3, that has no visible production issues, but the 527 units that separates it from the leadership, added to the fact that its demand doesn't allow it to score four-digit performances, makes it a sort of a dark horse, waiting/cheering for slip ups (slow ramp up for the Zoe, allocation problems for the Model 3) from the top two, to reach the Best Seller prize.

One thing is certain, this is probably the most exciting race among the top markets, so don't forget to bring the popcorns...

Outside the podium, we have the Smart Fortwo EV climbing to #6, while the #10 BMW 530e and #11 Mercedes E300e/de continue on their private race for Best Selling Luxury Car, and the #12 Nissan Leaf had a year best performance, with 308 registrations, so it seems the 62 kWh version is (finally!) doing some good to the Japanese hatchback.

The Kia Soul EV (both generations counted), was up one spot, to #16, and is now looking to reach the back of the #15 Hyundai Ioniq Electric.

But the real story in the lower positions of the ranking, is the PHEV resurgence, with the #14 Mini Countryman PHEV scoring 223 units, its best result since January, while we now have the Volvo XC60 PHEV, that thanks to a personal best performance of 141 registrations, managed to reach #20, thus kicking out the Jaguar i-Pace from the table.

"PHEV's back, alright!!!"

If we see some good performances coming from plugin hybrids on the Top 20, it is outside the ranking, that we take full notice that, like the Backstreet Boys, PHEVs were back in September, to the joy and/or dismay of many.

So, here are some of the most important performances: the new BMW 330e scored 168 units, already a new best for the nameplate in Germany, the new X5 PHEV registered 43 units, the Audi Q5 PHEV did 100 registrations, the Mercedes C300e/de had 61 deliveries, the PHEV version of the C-Class best result in over a year, while both the revised VW Passat GTE (112 units) and the Porsche Cayenne PHEV (63) had their best results since the new WLTP rules were enforced, a little over a year ago. 

In the middle of all these PHEV landings, a certain Porsche Taycan also started to ramp up registrations, with 78 units showing up last month...

The performances of these plugin models will surely be interesting to see in the last quarter of the year...

In the brands ranking, BMW (20%) is the clear leader, with the Tesla (12%, up 1%) earning precious advantage over the #3 Renault (11%).

Outside the podium, we have Mitsubishi (8%), followed by Volkswagen and Hyundai, both with 7% share, and trying to catch the Japanese brand.

Premium Midsize Car Best Sellers

Mercedes C-Class
BMW 3-Series
Audi A4
Tesla Model 3
BMW 4-Series

The Tesla Model 3 is closing in on the German Big 3, with the Audi A4 being the weakest link of them, so it wouldn't be surprising to see it fall behind the Californian in one of the upcoming high tides. 

Outside Tesla, the only model with a certain degree of electrification is the BMW 3-Series, with 5% of sales coming from the PHEV 330e. Now imagine if 20% came from that version...It would be 600 units! Enough for a Top 5! Will BMW have enough batteries for that?

Midsize SUV Best Sellers

Mercedes GLC
Volvo XC60
Audi Q5
Mitsubishi Outlander

Ig the Top 2 models are (still) very much ICE models, the following ones are already electrified, in various degrees, from the 8% PHEV share of the Audi Q5, or the 9% of the Volvo XC60, to the 69% of the Mitsubishi Outlander.

This last performance begs the question: When will Mitsubishi make the Outlander na entirely plugin model?

Anyway, 3 electrified models out of 5 is already something...

Full size Car Best Sellers

Mercedes E-Class
BMW 5-Series
Audi A6
Volvo S/V90
BMW 7-Series

Funny enough, with the exception of the #3 Audi A6, all other models have PHEV versions, and although their shares in the overall sales aren't brilliant (from 8% on the E-Class, to 14% on the 7-Series), they show plenty of space for improvement, something that the new Porsche Taycan will no doubt help to do.

Full size SUV Best Sellers

VW Touareg
Mercedes GLE
Porsche Cayenne
Audi Q8

The full size SUV category seems to have a low rate of electrification, compared to the respective car class, with only the BMW X5 (4% of sales coming from the PHEV version) and the Porsche Cayenne (11%) having a certain degree of electrification, while the Audi e-Tron EV is only #7 in the category, but things in a few months could look quite different, as the new long range PHEV version of the Mercedes GLE is set to land, making it an attractive proposition, while both the Bimmer and Porsche should see their PHEV share increase in the next few months, leaving the Touareg and the Q8 as the only unplugged models.

For how long, Volkswagen?