Nissan Leaf leads in depressed market
In May, some 2,900 units were registered in the Japanese PEV market, down 16% YoY, which is still better than the YTD result (-20%), this bad result, with Japan being the worst performing major market, is due to the top two sellers, with new 62kWh version failing to pull forward the Nissan Leaf sales, whose registrations are actually down 30% YoY, while the Toyota Prius PHEV is faring even worse, down 49% YoY, without any other reasonable explanation beyond the fact that demand is slowing down.
The 2019 PEV share is down to 0.8% share, down 0.2% 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 possible, and maybe even a place as the Best Selling foreigner, but for a global change, we need a local hero.
The third significant plug-in model in Japan, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, has roughly the same registrations of last year (2.182 units in 2019 vs 2.190 in 2018), so the growth perspectives won't come from here.
Honda has the Clarity PHEV being delivered in symbolic numbers (as in 10 to 20 units/month), while the much anticipated Honda e EV will only start to be delivered next year.
What's left? Mazda is still in EV denial, Subaru and Daihatsu are too dependent from Toyota's mistakes, while Suzuki is focusing it's electrification efforts in India...So do not expect much changes throughout 2019, which means another lost year for Japan. Maybe in 2020 things will change?
With all these hesitations and complications from local manufacturers, foreign brands, once a niche, are winning share every passing month, and BMW is profiting the most, now with 13% share, being ahead of Mitsubishi (12%).
If we add Mini to the tally, the BMW Group reaches 15% share, just 1% below Toyota, so it won't be long until BMW becomes the second best plugin brand in Japan.
And to think in 2016, foreign OEMs has just 2% share…(1% BMW + 1% Tesla)