Leaf Amazes in Records Storm
The European passenger plug-in market hit unprecedented levels last month, beating a two year old record (34,000 units in December ’15), by registering over 40,000 registrations, growing 41% regarding the same period last year, and pulling the Year-to-date counting to 87,000 deliveries (+37%), allowing the 2018 market share to reach 2% (2,2% in March), and the good news do not end here, as BEVs (+44% YoY and 52% of PEV market) grew faster than PHEVs (+38%), thus reducing the disadvantage it has over plug-in hybrids in the 2018 count (51% PHEV vs 49% BEV). Will we see all-electrics surpass plug-in hybrids in April?
This historic result was the result of a perfect sales storm, not only Renault decided to put all hands-on deck and pull a record result for the Zoe, trying to end its waiting list, but most importantly, this was the first full deliveries month of the new Nissan Leaf and the result was…Earth-shattering. The 6,000-plus result is not only a new monthly record for a BEV in Europe, but the second-best result ever in for a plug-in car in the Old Continent, only behind the 6,485 units made by the Outlander PHEV in December 2015, when an incentive change in the Netherlands inflated all PHEV sales.
And remember, this was the Leaf first full deliveries month…Talk about landing with a bang!
But we must mention a few more important pieces for the Record Puzzle: Both Teslas delivered what they hadn’t managed to do in previous months, with the Model S performing its best result in 27(!) months, with other honorable mentions going to the BMW i3, that with 2,300 deliveries, had its best result in 18 months, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV recorded 2,514 units, its best result in 2 years, while the VW Passat GTE had its best result (1,482) since December ‘16, and the recent Kia Niro PHEV broke for the first time the 1,000 units barrier, boding well for its upcoming BEV version.
Interestingly, looking at March Best Sellers, 6 out of the Top 7 are BEVs, which is telling on the direction the plug-in market is taking in Europe…
Looking at the Monthly Models Ranking:
#1 Nissan Leaf – Simply Amazing. The 2.0 version of the most popular plug-in in the world had its first full deliveries month in Europe last March and by registering 6,053 units, the Nissan hatchback recorded the second best result ever in Europe for a plug-in, and with the orders list at over 15,000 units, expect the Leaf to remain at around 5,000 units in the coming months, limited only by the Sunderland production capacity. But back to March, the main markets were Norway (2,172 deliveries, new all-time record for a single model), UK (1,500), France (719), Germany (346) and the Netherlands (299).
#2 Renault Zoe – The 4,248 deliveries in March meant a new record for the French hatchback, as Renault is running to end the Zoe waiting list, now that LG has more batteries to provide the French automaker. As for individual market performances, the domestic market did the heavy work, by registering a record 2,245 units, with other positive numbers coming from Germany (523 units), Norway (347), Portugal (161 units, new all-time record for a single model), Austria (152) and Spain (150).
#3 Tesla Model S – Due to the automaker focus on the production of the Model 3 earlier on, Tesla starved the Model S deliveries in Europe, but then March came, and boatloads of S’s landed on this side of The Pond, with deliveries up 26% YoY, to 2.791 units, the nameplate best result since 2015. It appears the Model 3 reveal not only didn’t hurt sales, but actually helped it, as many buyers preferred not to wait and buy now the older model, instead of waiting for ages for the Model 3 to cross the Atlantic. Looking at individual countries, besides Norway’s usual contribution (676 units), the Netherlands (588 deliveries, a new record) and Germany (304) were also heavy contributors, in a generally positive month throughout the Continent for the Sports Sedan. Looking ahead, logic would say that deliveries should start falling as the year advances and the Model 3 arrival gets closer, but the Model S has surprised us before, so...
#4 BMW i3 – The German Hot Hatch sales remained positive (+16%) in March, with 2,300 units being delivered, and with the Leipzig factory going on full steam, do not expect the Bavarian carmaker to be worried with its angry-puppy-faced EV sales performance. Looking at individual countries, Norway is once again leading sales (528 units), with Germany (459) following suit, and France also presenting a strong result. Looking into the remaining months of 2018, expect deliveries to remain stable, as demand does not seem to wane.
#5 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV – Solid as a rock, the Japanese SUV managed to secure another Top 5 presence in March, thanks to 2,541 registrations, with sales even growing 7% YoY. The Mitsubishi model continues to profit from its unique mix of space, AWD, range and affordability (40.000€), to make it popular in markets like the UK (1,300 units), Norway (438) or Germany (153). Looking forward, the Japanese SUV is expected to receive an update soon, so it can keep wearing its crown as Europe’s Best Selling PHEV in the foreseeable future.
|Record result for the Panamera PHEV in March|
Looking at the 2018 ranking, the headline goes to the new Nissan Leaf, jumping four positions to Second, and already endangering the Renault Zoe leadership, while both Teslas profited from their usual end-of-quarter peak to climb in the ranking, but this time the tide was higher than expected, with the Model S jumping 14(!) positions to #6, while the Model X joined the Top 20, in #14.
The other significant changes in the Top 20 were the BMW 530e climbing two positions to #12, while two models had significant drops, with the Mini Countryman PHEV stumbling 6 positions to #18, and the Porsche Panamera PHEV sliding down four positions to #19. And this despite the fact the German Sports Sedan registered 766 deliveries, a new monthly record for any Porsche plug-in…
Outside the Top 20, records were also abundant, like it was the case of the Hyundai Ioniq PHEV (494 units), Smart Forfour ED (592), or the Volvo S/V90 PHEV (615), with the Swedish twins discreetly approaching the Top 20 status.
Looking at the manufacturers ranking, last year winner BMW (16%, down 1%) is still in the lead, with the runner-up Volkswagen (13%, down 3%), losing ground to the rising Renault (10%, up 1%), and (most importantly) Nissan, that doubled its share, to 10%.
Considering the April first indications also predict another smashing month from the Japanese automaker, it won’t be surprising to see Nissan jump from Fourth to Second in the next edition.