|VW e-Golf: October's unlikely hero|
Models: China drags PEV market down
The plugin market crisis has deepened, with the registrations this time dropping 28% YoY in October, to some 150.000 units, with the subsidy-related sales drop in China dragging the market down.
In fact, if we remove China from the equation, plugins actually grew 3% YoY last month, with the most interesting fact being that the market was not pulled up by BEVs (-6% YoY), but by PHEVs (+18%), that in October had their first positive month this year, and the +18% YoY represented the highest growth rate for the technology since August 2018.
As a result of these drops, the PEV share in October was just 1,9% last month, dropping the 2019 PEV share to 2,2%, maybe the next two months will help the plugin market to recover and reach the 2,4% of June?
The climber of the month was the VW e-Golf, jumping 2 spots, to #15, with the veteran German hatchback beating its own record, with 3.817 units, an amazing feat in a model with a 5 year career, especially considering all the doom and gloom around it.
With a number of Chinese models having seen its sales dry up, one would think there would be more position changes, but only the e-Golf managed to climb positions, nevertheless, there are some interesting races to watch throughout the ranking:
- The #5 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (-13% YoY) has the #6 Baojun E-Series and the #7 BMW 530e/Le twins less than 1.000 units behind, so the Japanese SUV will need to step up its game, if it wants to keep its position;
- Both the BYD Tang PHEV and Chery eQ are tied in #11, with the #13 Toyota Prius PHEV only 48 units behind;
- The #15 VW e-Golf recovered 1.888 units from the #14 Tesla Model X, being now only 1.158 units behind. The Tesla SUV will need to keep a close eye on the VW model;
- Finally, the #20 Tesla Model S will have to defend its position in the ranking from the #21 Chevrolet Bolt, that is less than 1.000 units behind. With the Tesla flagship scoring its lowest score since January 2014 (1.277 units), the Model S will need to step up its game, not only because of the Chevy Bolt, but also because the rising star GAC Aion S (18.128 units) is looking to get a Top 20 soon.
Manufacturers: Volvo and GAC shine
This month the crisis in the Chinese OEMs has gotten worse, with several brands (BYD, Geely, Chery, etc) dropping to levels of 18 months ago, but the registration drops have spreaded beyond China, starting by Tesla, that saw its deliveries drop 26% YoY.
Interestingly, of the three Tesla models, the only that has managed to grow was the Model X ugly duckling (+7% YoY), something that could be a telling tale for the Cybertruck, where after the initial shock, the design becomes more digestible, with sales growing over time.
Nissan also had a horrible month, registering just 5.225 units, its worst performance in 21 months...With no models to be launched in the short term, the Japanese carmaker needs to make some aggressive discounts/pricing, like Volkswagen is doing with the e-Golf, if it wants to be back in black.
But not all is bad, with the new 330e and the new X5 PHEV helping the 530e/Le and i3 best sellers, the German maker saw its sales grow 6% last month, allowing it to be the runner-up in October, so BMW still has a shot at repeating the last year 4th spot.
But the real stars in October were Volvo, that registered its second record performance in a row, with 4.678 units, that jumped two positions, to #16, and it now has the #15 Great Wall in sight, should the Swedish carmaker continue to step up the pace, it should climb another position in November.
Even in China there are bright spots, with the #19 GAC profiting from the hot Aion S to beat its sales record, now set at 4,616 units. Expect it to surpass Changan and JAC soon, and it might even have a shot at bothering the #15 Great Wall, in December.
Another Chinese brand with ambitions for this year is the #21 Dongfeng, that shortened the distance to the #20 Chevrolet in 471 units, with both brands now separated by just 790 units, the last place in the ranking is still pretty much open for discussion, just like the 7th spot of Geely, that will have a hard time to defend it from Volkswagen and Hyundai, and with the German carmaker expecting to have a strong end of the year, even the #6 Nissan will have to watch its back, if it wants to be safe from surprises.