Thursday, May 28, 2020

Global Top 20 April 2020

VW electrifies lineup with e-Golf launch -

Models: -30% YoY in April, -12% YTD

It was bad, but considering the circumstances, it could have been worse.

Registrations were down 30% YoY, to some 110.000 units, while the YTD numbers are now down 12% regarding the same period last year, with 571.000 registrations

If in isolation these numbers look didn't looked good, after all, it was the biggest fall ever, placing things into context, things weren't all that bad, because of the pandemic, the overall global market is even in worse shape than plugins, with sales down 45% in April and 29% this year, because of this, April's PEV share stood at a meritable 2,8%, pulling the 2020 plugin share to 2,7%,which is already above the 2,5% of last year.

Add this to the fact that the plugin market was already looking shaky, in the second half of 2019 it had drops in the order of 27% in October and 25% in November, due to the subsidy changes in China, and turns out that dropping just 30% in the middle of a pandemic isn't so bad, is it?

The future will depend much on the development of the pandemic, but if the worse is over (a big IF), then we should be optimistic that plugins will weather the upcoming economic crisis with greater ease than the overall market, with the plugin share growing significantly in the remainder of the year.

BEVs dropped at the same pace as plugin hybrids (-30%), allowing the BEV/PHEV breakdown to remain stable at 67% BEV, 33% PHEV. 

With the Chinese EV market recovering in April, the Climbers of the Month were Chinese, with the BYD Qin Pro EV jumping four positions to #6, thanks to 5.096 units, allowing it to be April's 2nd Best Selling plugin, only behind the galactic Tesla Model 3 (11.761 units), while the GAC Aion S shooted 5 spots, to #10, thanks to a year best performance of 3,586 units.

But there was more action on the top half of the table, with the stainless-steel VW e-Golf, climbind yet another position, to #4, thanks to a strong result in China, something that the BMW 530e/Le also benefitted, allowing it to jump to #5, with the big Bimmer surpassing both the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV and Audi e-Tron, thus winning the lead of the Best Selling PHEV and Best Selling Full Size Plugin categories in just one month.

Other models on the rise are the VW Passat PHEV (It includes the German-made Passat GTE and the China-made Passat PHEV), up to #11, while the Kia Niro EV joined the table, in #17, kicking out of the Top 20 the Volvo XC60 PHEV, now making 15 BEVs in the Top 20. 

But things should look even better for BEVs soon, with the highly expected Tesla Model Y said to join the table soon (May?), while the #21 NIO ES6 will surely join the Top 20 next month, as it is only 187 units beind the #20 BMW 330e, and in April it scored a record 2.907 units...

In the PHEV side, the only model with hopes to join the table is the Li Xiang One (2.622 units in April, new record), some 1.100 units below the #21 Nio ES6.

Coincidentally, both models come from Chinese EV startups...Disruption, anyone?

Manufacturers: Volkswagen and BYD shine

April saw Tesla win another Best Seller title, but this time the lead wasn't as significant as in peak months, mostly merit of its competitors, with Volkswagen pulling a Year Best performance (In the middle of a pandemic?!? Yes, all thanks to the Chinese operations…) of over 11.000 units, while BYD did even better, by registering almost 12.000 units (#2 in April), its best score in 6 months...Is the Chinese maker returning to form? 

One thing is certain, the Silver medal of the #2 BMW is looking pretty shaky, with Volkswagen already breating down its neck (725 units separate both makers), while BYD could also kick out BMW from the podium in a couple of months...

This would mean VW in #2 and BYD in #3 by the end of Q2, with the German maker confirming its target in VAG's Year Zero of the Plan to Rule the EV World (Become the biggest OEM outside Tesla), allowing it to concentrate in going after the Californian brand in next few years. As for BYD, with sales down 64% YoY, a lot still needs to be done to return to the growth path, but with two five-digit performances in the past two months, it seems the Chinese maker has found its way again, so a podium spot should be in the cards for them this year.

Others makers growing this year are the #6 Renault (+52% YoY), when in 2019 it ended just in #13 (well, someone has to pull the Renault-Nissan Alliance, the other two are just sliding...), the #8 Audi has seen its sales triple(!) YoY, while #9 Volvo is seeing its sales grow 34%, now standing well above the #16 of 2019. On the other hand, BAIC, Bronze medalist in 2019, now is just #17...

In other news, the Chinese SAIC was up one spot, to #5, while on the second half of the table, Mercedes production ramp up is making itself felt, with the German maker climbing to to #13, while both GAC (4.106 units, new Year Best) and Toyota (4.159, new YB) climbed one position, to #15 and #16, respectively, with the Japanese maker having much to thank to its Chinese operations for this. 

Outside the Top 20, a reference to the #21 NIO, just 174 units behind the #20 Skoda, and with the Chinese startup scoring 3.155 units last month, it will be a matter of time until it features in the table.

Europe April 2020

11% Share! 

The European passenger plug-in market registered 31,500 registrations in April (-16% YoY), which is nevertheless a great performance considering the effect that the several lockdowns across the continent made the overall market crashing (-78%), inflating last month plugin share to an amazing 11% share (5.8% BEV), and pulling the 2020 PEV share to a record 7.8% (4.4% for BEVs alone), more than doubling the 3.6% result of 2019.

Will we see Europe's plugin market share end 2020 in two digits? Now THAT would be something to write about... 

Although April's results should be seen with a grain of salt, as supply chains were disrupted by the lockdowns, we should nevertheless mention the Tesla Model 3 win, followed by its Batman and Robin usual companion, the Renault Zoe, while the Volkswagen Group took over the remaining seats in this Top 5, leaded by the eternal VW e-Golf, in 3rd.

Looking at April Top 5 Models:

#1 Tesla Model 3 – Profiting from a higher than usual beggining of quarter inventory (one could almost say that it was done on purpose…), the electromobility posterchild won another Best Seller award, with 2,461 deliveries, with the sports sedan winning its second monthly title in a row. The rabbit out of Tesla's hat last month was once again the UK, with the Californian registering 658 units and being the Best Seller in the overall market(!), but that wasn't the only strong performance, with 519 deliveries being recorded in Germany, with Austria (227 units) being its #3 market last month.  

#2 Renault Zoe – The 2,070 deliveries in April were half of what it had in the same month of 2019, but with its domestic market in the doldrums (only 322 Zoe units last month), it could hardly have been better, with Germany (627 units) and...Italy (366 units!) pulling ahead of France. Once the market returns to normal (June?), expect the French hatchback to return to the growth path and return to its usual 4,000-something cruise speed. 

#3 VW e-Golf – The evergreen e-Golf returned to the podium, scoring 1,638 units last month, apparently the veteran model demand continues immune to the long shadow of the ID.3, with Volkswagen milking everything it can from it, at least until its successor effectively lands (August?). Regarding April, the e-Golf main markets were Germany (738 units), Norway (458) and the Netherlands (200).

#4 Audi e-Tron – The big Audi continues to impress, with April registering 1,368 units and scoring its highest presence (4th) this year. While most of them (832 units) went to Norway, the fact is that the e-Tron has great prospects for 2020, thanks to the success of the new (and cheaper) 71 kWh battery version and the launch of the interesting Sportback version, that adds a bit of flair to the exterior design of the regular e-Tron. But it wasn’t just Norway pulling the e-Tron’s (very) heavy weight, as the Audi EV was also popular in Germany (246 units) and Sweden (146).

#5 VW Passat GTE - VW's Comeback Kid, after a 20 month absence from this Top 5, the German midsizer returned to the Best Sellers, winning even the Best Selling PHEV monthly award, for the first time since 2016! Now the question is, was this a one time thing, driven supply chain issues from the competition, or is Volkswagen plugin hybrid back for good? Well, any competition for the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV would be welcome...Looking at last month most popular markets for the Passat GTE, Sweden had 410 registrations, Germany had 329 and Norway 135.

VW Passat GTE Variant: a melhor versão que pode comprar? - Ensaio ...

Looking at the 2020 ranking, the Top 3 consolidated their positions, but below the podium, we could see some changes soon, as the rising #5 Audi e-Tron shortened distances to the #4 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, now separated by 585 units, so we could see the big Audi beat the Japanese SUV before the end of the Second Quarter, which in itself would be a major event, as the Mitsubishi SUV has become Europe's staple plugin SUV choice, ever since it landed, some 6 1/2 years ago.

This highlights April's strong month from the Volkswagen Group (VAG), of the 6 table changes last month, 4 benefitted models from VAG, with the aforementioned Audi e-Tron jumping from #7 to #5, the VW Passat GTE climbing to #10, the small VW e-Up...up one spot to #15, and finally, the Skoda Superb PHEV joining the ranking, in #20. VAG is rising...

But it wasn't all VAG, in the second half of the ranking, we should also mention the #12 Volvo S/V60 PHEV twins switching positions with their higher grounded sibling, the XC60 PHEV, thus becoming the brand new Best Sellers, all while the Kia Niro PHEV was up to #18.

Comparing the current Top 20 positioning with what was happening a year ago, there are some striking differences, the most important being the #7 Peugeot 208 EV, when last year it hadn't yet landed, being the current Rookie Of The Year, the #9 BMW 330e is also an addition to the Top 20, thanks to the landing of the 2nd Generation of the sports sedan.

On the other hand, BMW's only BEV, the i3, is now #11, when a year ago it was 5th...And coincidence or not, the Mini Countryman PHEV has also dropped significantly, from #9 in April of last year, to the current #19...It looks like the Mini Cooper EV is eating sales not only from its ICE siblings, but also from its plugin stablemates!

Speaking of the Mini Cooper EV, outside the Top 20, the British hot hatch continues on its way into a Top 20 position, having registered 570 units in April, while on the PHEV side, the current sensation is the Ford Kuga PHEV (euro-spec Ford Escape), that scored 746 units last month, so we should see a Ford model in the Top 20 for the first since...well, ever!

In the brands ranking, we have the most balanced market in the history of this ranking, with Tesla (10%, down 1%) hanging on to the throne, while BMW, Volkswagen and Renault all have 9% each, so we currently have four manufacturers running for #1...Now, that's what i call an entertaining race!

BEV D-Segment / Midsize category

Tesla's midsizer sales are in another galaxy, and won't have significant competition for at least another year, as the Polestar 2 will remain a niche player and once the BMW iX3 lands, the German maker would already be happy if it got a third of sales of the current Model 3.

The real competition will only be when the Tesla Model Y lands, not only it will drain the Model 3 sales, but will also outsell it, so...Enjoy the throne while you can, Model 3.

As for the remaining podium, the Jaguar i-Pace is still #2, but has seen its sales drop 36% YoY, which was still enough to beat the #3 Mercedes EQC in April (492 units vs 411), so Mercedes needs to ramp up production even further, if it wants to beat the Jaguar and reach Silver.

BEV E-Segment / Full size category

The e-Tron recent domination of the segment is proof that Teslas aren't unbeatable, you just need competitive products to get there. 

Granted, the e-Tron is just half competitive, as it lacks decent range, but if even half good is enough to beat (both) Teslas by a mile, imagine what an efficient e-Tron could have done...

Your turn, Tesla. And while cutting prices will surely help, what we all want to see is a decent revamp to both Model S & X, keeping the 100 kWh battery with a low price, and adding a new 120 kWh version...Call it Plaid, Battlestar Galactica (my favorite), or whatever you wish to call it...But make it. 

If nothing is done, even the niche Porsche Taycan will be able to beat the big Teslas, as it is happening right now, with the German Sports sedan already beating the Model X in the 2020 count, while beating the Model S (381 units vs 298) in April...

And while we shouldn't read too much into the current numbers, the truth is that the Model S sales in 2020 are down 16%, while for the same period, the e-Tron sales jumped 168%, which says a lot...