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.
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...