Models: Tesla and the Chinese take the spotlight
Registrations were up for an impressive 136% last month, to some 270.000 units, with BEVs in particular jumping 139%, to some 173.000 units, and with February being usually the lowest volume month, expect from then on numbers to jump over 300.000 units per month in the remainder of the year, so we might be seeing the plugin market hit some 4,5 million (5 million?) this year.
On the other hand, with the current sales drops pushing down the overall automotive market, the 2021 PEV share is now at 4.6% (3% BEV), which is already above the 4% of last year, and expect it to continue growing throughout the year, to a large single digit number, as Disruption (eg, two digit market shares) on a global level is looking set to happen in 2022...
The future will depend much on the development of the pandemic and the seriousness of the economic crisis, but whatever happens, expect plugins to weather the storm better than the overall market, increasing its PEV share on the way.
After a brief interruption in January, the Tesla Model 3 returned to the monthly leadeship in February, but the rising star is its Model Y sibling, with the sports crossover in 3rd, thus making two Teslas in the podium.
Interestingly, the other three models on the February Best Sellers list are all Chinese, with the highlight being the full-size #5 BYD Han EV, with 4.100 units (the PHEV Han had 928 units), with the big BYD now ruling the full-size category.
But the most significant result was the 6th spot of the Ford Mustang Mach-E, that delivered 4.023 units in its first real month on the market, losing a Top 5 presence by just 77 units, and becoming immediately the Best Selling model from a Legacy OEM. A sign of things to come?
On the YTD table, the Tesla Model 3 is still in 2nd place, but has reduced the distance to ther #1 Wuling Mini EV by 8k units and should leap ahead of the tiny Chinese EV in March, thanks to the usual end of quarter Tesla high tide.
The Tesla Model Y has secured its Bronze Medal position, distancing itself from the #4 BYD Han EV, while the first position change happened in #7, with the Volvo XC60 PHEV jumping ahead of the Li Xiang One and BMW 530e/Le, with the Swedish SUV becoming the new leader of the PHEV category, and highlighting Volvo's good moment, the XC40 PHEV was also up, from #15, to #11, thus making two models of the maker in the Top 4 PHEV positions.
The BEV side also had several changes, with several Best Sellers recovering from a poor January performance, like the Nissan Leaf, that jumped 4 spots, to #10, or the Audi e-Tron, that was up 3 places, to #13.
Others re-joined the table, like it was the case of the Volkswagen ID.3, that jumped to #15, or the Hyundai Kona EV, now in #17.
Still, many of them are still frankly below their 2020 positions, like the Renault Zoe, currently in #12, but 3rd last year, the VW ID.3, #6 last year but now only #15, or the Hyundai Kona EV, 5th then, and only #17 now. While the VW ID.3 should recover during the year to reach (or beat) last year standing, both the Korean and French model will have a hard time to recover their former glory.
Another highlight in February was the Changan Benni EV, that scored a record 3.304 units, allowing it to join the table in #18, being the 7th Chinese model on the table.
Outside the Top 20, two models are set to join the table soon, with the #21 Peugeot 208 EV some 300 units behind the #20 BMW 330e, while the Ford Mustang Mach-e (4.321 units in 2021) could also jump to a Top 20 position next month.
Looking at each category BEV leaders, the Wuling Mini EV reigns supreme in the City EV category (A segment), the Renault Zoe is some 500 units ahead of the Hyundai Kona EV, in the B segment, while on the compact category, we have a surprise, with the veteran Nissan Leaf ahead of the VW ID.3, by some 800 units (to be recovered in March?), the midsize category (D segment) has both Teslas comfortably on top, and in the full size category (E/F segments), the BYD Han EV is a clear leader, almost doubling the sales of the #2 Audi e-Tron, while selling 3x as much as the category 3rd placed, the Porsche Taycan (4.265 units).
Manufacturers: Tesla returns to #1
Tesla's February score (42.679 units) allowed it to recover the leadership position from the SGMW joint-venture, with both brands counted together having almost a quarter of the market (23%).
BMW profited from a slower month from BYD to cement its Bronze Medal position, while both Volkswagen and Volvo jumped two spots last month, with the first going up to #5, while the second climbed to #6. Highlighting the VW Group current recovery mode, after a January in hangover mode, Audi was also up in February, in this case, to 9th.
On the second half of the table, Renault was up two spots, to #13, which is still down 6 spots on its 7th position of 2020, while Hyundai climbed to #18, 7 places down on its 2020 standing. It seems it wasn't only Volkswagen experiencing serious hangover effects in January...
A rather surprising rise in the table was Toyota going up 3 places, to #15, with its RAV4 PHEV adding precious volumes to the Japanese maker Chinese operations.
Ford joined the table, in #17, thanks to 6.680 units, its second best score ever (July 2020 is the current peak, with 7.289 units), and with the Mustang Mach-e production ramp up now in full motion, expect the Dearborn maker to beat its current record soon, while jumping a few more positions during the next couple of months.
Outside the Top 20, a reference to a recovering #21 Nissan, now only 500 units away from a Top 20 spot, while the rising #23 Changan could reach the table in the coming months.
In a brief view of the OEM standings, SAIC (14%) is still ahead, but has Tesla (13%) knocking on its door and should surpass it next month, while the VW Group (11%) is also in recovery mode, and while it shouldn't be enough to surpass the Chinese maker, it should recover some ground. One thing is certain, as things look now, these three OEMs should have an entertaining race to follow throughout the year. (Bring on the popcorn!)