Saturday, July 27, 2013

EV Business Case Q2 - 2013

Now that Ford saw the price drop thing work for others, it now wants to see if it works on her (On the Focus EV?!?!) 

"Prices down, Sales up" Edition

That's pretty much what can be said about this Second Quarter of 2013, with most of the sales results in, it's time to measure the winners and losers of this Quarter:

The winner camp have one thing in common: Be it price drops (Nissan), generous discounts (GM) or a brand new model with an attractive price (Renault), all focused in the price factor and all profited from it.

Nissan - With sales of the Leaf at 70.000 units, they now can afford to drop prices without losing much money on it, because most of the ROI (Return-On-Investment) is done, add that to local production and the ever-lowering cost of batteries, and is surely to expect in the beginning of 2014 another nice price drop announcement from Nissan while it prepares the 2nd Gen Leaf. That's what's nice in being pioneer, while others are figuring out how to enter a new market, you're already thinking on the next level.

GM - Another pioneer of plug-ins, the Volt family is now nearing the 50.000 landmark and with it the ROI already allows some price drops in the form of discounts (Now) and lower MSRP (Later in the year). GM acted just when it was suffering competition from others (Read: Nissan Leaf) and Volt sales were dropping (1.483 sales in April). With the needed incentives in the US market, sales recovered and went back to late 2012 levels (3.056 units in June), although the European Operation is still lagging behind (Incentives, anyone?). When one doesn't want to change the establishment, the establishment forces you to change.

Renault - Profiting from its best EV sales month since May 2012 and climbing three positions in the brands ranking to #3 since the last Quarter, the french carmaker can thank greatly to its new addition, the Zoe, a dedicated B-Segment electric car that sold 1.387 units in June, already close from the 1.500 units/month that Renault's hopes to sell. While not enough to be profitable per se in the short term, it should help the french manufacturer global ROI in electric cars and batteries, as well as ensuring that EV's get a foothold in Europe. Renault hopes to secure with the Zoe the best-selling electric car title in the Old World and reach the break-even point.

The loser side has just one manufacturer, but an important one.

Mitsubishi - In the end of March, the japanese carmaker was running on all cylinders and was the second best selling brand, just 1% (19%) behind the leader Nissan (20%). Now, it's in fifth place in the manufacturers ranking, lost 8% share (It's now at 11%) and worst of all, none of its models entered the June Top 10...The now famous battery problems were the cause for this sales plunge and Mitsu hopes that consumer confidence on their products haven't got shaken from it when it resumes production of its new sales-champion: The Outlander PHEV, having sold in no time all production it made before the battery problems and with an extensive waiting list across the world, the japanese manufacturer hopes to sell some 4.000 units/month and profit with it from a favorable ROI on their batteries (Remember the car itself has ICE versions, so the cost there is much diluted). On the pure electric side, Mitsu sold 30.000 units of its MIEV battery pack on the "i" and Minicab models, so it would be a waste for them not to invest in a new generation of pure electric cars. CA-Miev, anyone? Mitsubishi career in Plug-ins is like a roller coaster, in 2009 and 2010 it was the sales leader, 2011 and 2012 it was relegated to a secondary role, in the beginning of 2013, when it was preparing itself to recover the #1 spot, all hell broke loose and it went down again. Will it rise again and fight for Number One? It sure has the potential for it... 

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