Thursday, January 14, 2021

France December 2020


A future star lands in a record market (19% share!)

If the overall automotive market had a horrible 2020 (-26% YoY), with the 1.7 million units of this year being the lowest result since 1975, plugin sales continue steaming hot, with sales jumping four fold regarding the same month of 2019, with PHEVs (up 5-fold, to 15,168 units) growing faster than BEVs (20,734 units), allowing them to have a 42% share among plugins in December, another impressive result in this traditionally BEV-friendly market, and above the 40% share they ended in the whole year. 

These disruptive numbers are also reflecting on the plugin share, as last month it reached a record 19% (11% BEV), pulling the final 2020 share to 11% (6,7% BEV), a far cry from the 3% of 2019.

Interestingly, the current market disruption is also benefiting HEVs, as they doubled their share this year from 5% to 10% share, so 2020 ended with 21% of the total sales coming from electrified models, up from 8% in the previous year, an amazing progression, while petrol lost 11% share in the last 12 months, from the 58% of 2019, to the current 47%, while diesel lost just 3% share, to the current 31%.

With the 2020 plugin share firm in the two-digit region, expect this market to be disrupted further next year. Let's say...20% by the end of 2021?

Looking at last month Best Sellers, if the winner was the usual Renault Zoe, below it, there was a surprise, with the Peugeot models taking the month off, as the French brand had already complied with the EU's 2020 CO2 rules, the 208 EV runner-up spot was up for grabs, and the taker of it was the VW ID.3, that scored a surprising 2,550 registrations, now, how much of them were self registrations in order to comply with the CO2 rules is anyone's guess, but looking through that angle, the same can be said about a lot of last month record performances...

But the most surprising performance in December belonged to the small Dacia Spring EV, that landed with 1,721 units, a new record, this result gains even more dimension when we realize these first deliveries months are destined to demonstration units and fleets, with regular deliveries to private buyers only expect to happen in Q3 2021...

With the small Dacia said to have an unbeatable price, the Chinese-built EV could be come a big success story in Europe (and Latin America? India? Africa?), as it breaks new ground price-wise, as it is expected to be more than 5,000€ cheaper than the current cheapest EV sold in Europe...  

Speaking of City EVs, it seems this category is the new hot stuff in France, with 3 representatives in the December Top 6, as not only the Dacia Spring EV won the Bronze medal, but the fresh Fiat 500e was 4th, with 1,545 units in only its 2nd month on the market, and the also recent Renault Twingo was 6th, with 1,353 units, a new record for the tiny French EV. And let's not forget the veteran VW e-Up, that scored a record performance in December, with 525 deliveries.

On the PHEV side, the market is less concentrated, so on this category there's only one model with a 4-digit score, with the Renault Captur PHEV registering 1,437 units, but nevertheless, there was plenty to talk about:

- Mercedes continued to push its PHEV models, in particular the SUVs, with all 3 of them hitting record scores (GLA - 596 units; GLC - 712; GLE - 490), as it ran until the last day of the year to comply with the 2020 CO2 rules;

- Same story with the Three-pointed-Star arch-rival, BMW, with the Bavarian maker reaching record results with their SUVs (X1 PHEV - 405 units; X3 PHEV - 660; X5 - 482), while its British affiliate Mini did the same with its Countryman PHEV crossover, that registered a record 414 deliveries. Now, how much of this is actual demand, and how much is CO2 compliance? Mmmm...discuss.

At the bottom of this Top 20, a reference to the record 511 deliveries of the SEAT Leon PHEV, with the spicy Spaniard beating its more corporate minded cousin, the VW Golf PHEV, that ended in #21, with 501 units, that nevertheless is a new record for the German model.

Outside this Top 20, a reference to the 318 registrations of the hatchback desguised as crossover Kia Xceed PHEV, so it seems this crossover between a Crossover and a Hatchback (a CCUV - Crossover Crossover Utility Vehicle?!?) has struck a chord among French PHEV buyers.

Looking at the 2020 ranking, the Renault Zoe continued its winning streak in 2020 (it is the Best Seller in France since 2013...), this time followed by the Peugeot 208 EV, that was somewhat disappointing in 2020, as i expected it to end closer to the Renault rival, but then again, who could tell the Zoe would almost double its 2019 score (18,817 units)?

And looking at the bright side, it was the first time since 2012 that a Peugeot model ended in the podium (the tiny iOn was 2nd then), so you got to start somewhere, right? 

The last position of the podium changed hands in December, with the Peugeot 3008 PHEV losing the Bronze medal to the Tesla Model 3, thus makig a fully BEV podium, while below them, the rising Renault Captur PHEV jumped to 5th, with the small Renault crossover now being the strongest candidate for the 2021 Best Selling PHEV trophy, which would grant Renault both BEV and PHEV trophies next year...Not bad, eh? 

The Climber of the Month was the VW ID.3, that came from below the Top 20 into #9, in the last stage of the 2020 race, which is a good start for the 2021 race, where the German hatchback will try to beat the Tesla Model 3 and become the Best Selling Foreign model in France. 

On the second half of the table, we have the Citroen C5 PHEV climbing two spots, to #13, while the #22 VW e-Up was the Best Selling City EV in 2020, a title that the veteran model should have for the last time in its possession, considering the slew of new models (Dacia Spring EV, Fiat 500e, Renault Twingo EV...), all with Top 20 ambitions in 2021.

Looking at the 2020 Best Selling Full size model, the honour went to the Porsche Cayenne PHEV, that with 2,157 deliveries, it beat the BMW X5 PHEV (1,867 units), while the category Best Selling BEV was the Audi e-Tron, with 804 registrations. 

Looking at the brands ranking, the leader was, as always, Renault, with 24% (down 1%), with the runner-up Peugeot (17%, down 2%) at a safe distance, while the last place in the podium was disputed by a long list of brands, with Mercedes (5%) taking the Bronze medal in the end.


  1. The European Empire strikes back!
    Mainly with smaller EVs and with PHEVs.

    Good for CO2 reduction and for people's wallets.

    1. You mean the EU regulations strike back... All these compliance models were pushed hard this year; and will be pushed further next year as regulations tighten -- but after that, there will be no incentive to increase their sales over the coming years. At that point, organic demand for well-equipped BEVs should take over as the main growth driver again.

    2. Once the BEV market goes mainstream, organic demand in Europe will be for reasonably priced small models, like VW Golf-like models or Renault Clio-like models.

      The only way Tesla can return to become leader in Europe is with a "Model C" compact model.

    3. Long-term, no doubt. But entry-level EVs will take longer to reach cost parity with entry-level combustion cars -- so without further regulatory pressure, growth will most likely temporarily fall behind growth in premium segments again.

    4. @antrik
      Renault just mentioned they make plenty of profit on EVs.
      I assume they could easily price it 2000 or 3000 Euro above gasoline.
      VW maybe too as ID3 was rumored at 25,000 Euro 2 years ago.
      Right now they all enjoy the profits.

    5. The ID.3 price rumours were post-subsidy. It was never meant to have such a low base price.

      "Plenty of profit" doesn't mean anything without actual numbers. What is you assumption based on? (Sounds like you are just making arbitrary guesses...)

      There is absolutely no doubt that entry-level EVs will take longer to reach cost parity. That's just simple maths.

    6. Regarding the MEB models, at this point i don't know if they are profitable, but i do know for sure that the Zoe is profitable, in fact, it is a great milking cow for Renault, sales are going through the roof without the need to lower prices and the development costs are more than paid by now.

      In fact, looking at the German numbers, the Zoe is a great asset for Renault when it comes to break difficult markets for the French brand.

    7. The newest Zoe probably hasn't paid of development costs just yet... But counting expected amortisation over the coming years, I'm very willing to believe it's profitable at the current price.

      I very much doubt though that it would still be, if they lowered prices by 10,000 Euro or so in order to be closer to combustion variants... That will be on the future "Renault 5" (or whatever they call the production version), presumably based on the new Renault-Nissan dedicated BEV platform.

  2. Peugeot sent more cars to other markets and didn't try to reduce sales
    after meeting the standard CO2.

    1. That makes no sense. If they had no qualms selling beyond what's needed to meet regulations, they could just as well keep delivering them in the home market...

    2. They have production restrictions,should you not know

    3. I haven't actually heard of Peugeot being production-constrained... But either way, my point stands.

    4. Germany:P208-774,P2008-447,in the Nederlands also records.

  3. If the condition of incentives don't change,then PHEV most likely benefit both in France and in Europe,unfortunately

  4. "Regarding the Californian, the 501 deliveries of November are its 2nd best score ever in an off-peak month, so we might see it score a record result in December...Say...1,500 units?"

    Guessing this shouldn't have been included, looks like it got left in from the November results. 878 is dissapointing then, given your prediction.

    1. Yeah, that's a weirdly weak end-of-quarter peak, also compared to previous quarters in this market... I wonder whether there was some sort of deliveries hiccup; or an allocation issue?...

      (Though looking at the rest of the table, sedans do not seem very popular in this market in general...)

  5. "Regarding the Californian, the 501 deliveries of November are its 2nd best score ever in an off-peak month, so we might see it score a record result in December...Say...1,500 units?"

    You seem to have copy-pasted the paragraph about Tesla straight up from the last month's post by accident.

  6. Viva La France for ending the year on a sound note with 35.902 units, 19% share. 2020 hitting 11% is amazing.
    Highlight is that fewer BEV models could grab 58% share with top-4 and 7 in top-10 which means they are selling very well. PHEV sales are increasing with more models being launched. After all, converting a petrol vehicle to PHEV should be an easier task. Nice to see HEVs also doubling their share. Sooner we get rid of petrol/diesel, its good for environment. Any idea on the average range of PHEVs. Are they above 50 km or below. More the range, more motive for the driver to charge it and use it for long distances.

    2020 is the warmest year on record edging out 2016 by a small #.

  7. @Jose Pontes: Seems you are joking with the term "Crossover Crossover Utility Vehicle?!?".

    Crossover is a combo of car chassis with SUV body style. Any 5 door vehicle above 1.500 mm in height is a crossover. Thats the simplest term.

    With crossovers getting 50% share in USA, 46% in China, 40% in Europe, soon the automakers will raise the height of the estate by 80 mm and call it crossover. In fact, the ID.3, Leaf, Bolt are crossovers. Soon this will be joined by Bolt EUV, Ioniq5, Ariya ...

    On another front, sales of MPVs and Minivans are declining in all 3 markets. If the regular door can be opened using motors like the hatch doors, then there is no case for van with sliding door.

    In USA, a 5 door vehicle with ground clearance of 8.4 inch/213 mm is classified as crossover. But what is 8.4 inch, no 1 has any idea, just an arbitrary baseless # set by some fool. Many models like CHR, Kicks, Kona are called crossover even though they have lower ground clearance. Any they never mentioned the height qualification.

    In 5 years time, crossover will be called cars while the car will be called with a specific term like saloon (4 door) /coupe (2 door).

    1. It was a joke. :-)

      It seems OEMs now call everything a "crossover", when in reality they are slightly raised hatchbacks and estates...

    2. @Jose Pontes: Thats exactly my point.
      Automakers have IMPLICITLY set 1.500 mm as the height and any 5 door vehicle above that is classified as crossover.
      We will EXPLICITLY set 1.500 mm as the height.
      All they have to do is raise the height by just 20 mm and this increases the vehicles interior volume as well.

      Instead if we want to call in another term, there are many.
      Until 2000 we had wagon/estate, hatchback, in the next 20 years, we got new terms like liftback, sportback, fastback, we know what else will come.

  8. Dont worry about Tesla. They sold whatever they produced leaving only 10.000 units in transit. If they sold in 3 digits in France, then that is all they have to sell. Sorry French, the pandemic shut down their factory for 7 weeks. 2021 will be better with both Fremont & Shanghai running at full steam and hopefully Berlin opens up. More Model 3/Y will be allocated to Europe. Even Model S/X may get some interior refreshes and some price cuts in Europe. Competition is intensifying.

    1. I've seen claims that Tesla actually raised prices for new orders of S/X in Europe, presumably in anticipation of a new generation... Though I'm not sure whether that's actually true. (Tesla often adjusts European prices just for currency exchange rate changes...)

    2. One thing is certain, Tesla needs to do something about those two...They are starting to become irrelevant, not only next to the European competition, but also the Chinese!

    3. Well, we already know that Tesla is significantly beefing up the top-trim specs later this year... Whether this will significantly revive sales doesn't really matter: as long as it's enough for the new revision to pay for itself, while it cements the brand's standing, that's all they really need from the flagship models...

    4. I think we will continue to agree in disagreeing on the Model S/X need for update... LOL

    5. Well, we do agree that a major update would be needed to significantly increase sales. The disagreement is about whether Tesla actually needs to increase sales of these models...

  9. Much in 2021 depends on these 3 factors.
    1. 5 digit sales of PEVs with high 4 digit subsidies will force nations to cut subsidies.
    2. Chinese currency has appreciated from 7 RMB / US $ to 6,5 RMB / US $ and price of their vehicles could increase.
    3. How the pandemic is controlled. Ideally all tobacco products should be taxed heavily since it weakens lungs which are prone to coronavirus. Also people should avoid bars, clubs and other places of vices.

  10. It will be interesting to know how many of those 3955 (year 2020) Mercedes GLC300 e/de sales are diesel plugin. Did MB get the ROI on the diesel part. What is their motive to take that route. Diesel is actually an oil and needs different type of combustion to burn.
    Its ideal for heavy vehicles with 6 or more wheels and is too much for 4 wheeled vehicles.
    Diesel hybrid is more heavier and Diesel plugin is even more heavier. Will this segment withstand the competition from BEVs with higher range and also the petrol plugins. But in a diesel loving France, it may find some buyers.

    I like 2021 to be a year where all diesel models replaced by electrified models.

    1. Since many buyers -- including most fleets -- buy PHEVs only for subsidies, with no intention of actually charging them, diesel PHEVs make perfect sense to their buyers: to save on taxes on the *actual* fuel they will be using...

  11. PEV titbits:
    * Chevy Bolt EUV & Hyundai Ioniq5 to be revealed next month.
    * Tesla earnings call on Jan-27 evening. Hoping for some news about Model S/X and also solar tile installs.
    * LFP battery technology and production are increasing by leaps and bounds, something for us to watch.
    * Toyota fined $180 million for emission violations in USA. Blame should be on Akio Toyoda who restricted hybrid sales and pushes gas guzzlers. Hope they redesign Prius as crossover and offer plugin hybrid option with higher range and affordable prices.

    1. Toyoda restricted hybrid sales? I think you are making this up...

    2. @antrik

      50% of toyota sales in europe are hybrids, while its just 10% in america.
      Prius V & C are scrapped without replacement.
      Gen-4 Prius is designed to be so awkward that its sales went down drastically.

      All this is the hand of Akio Toyoda. In addition he constantly talks against BEVs.
      Seeing the competition from Tesla, they accelerated the hybrid sales last year and it captured 23% share in 2020-12. Its real and not any story.

    3. You are not making sense. The anti-BEV rants are meant to *promote* hybrid sales, not restrict them...

  12. Noticed dive for Tesla in France!

    2020 Tesla sales: 7216 vehicles, of which 401 Model S, 338 Model X and 6477 Model 3
    2019 Tesla sales: 7442 vehicles, of which 531 Model S, 456 Model X and 6455 Model 3
    2018 Tesla sales: 1252 vehicles, of which 747 Model S and 505 Model X
    2017 Tesla sales: 1383 vehicles, of which 862 Model S and 521 Model X
    2016 Tesla sales: 944 vehicles, of which 793 Model S and 151 Model X
    2015 Tesla sales: 708 Model S

    1. Thanks for the #. The 226 decrease in sales is because of the 7 week shutdown (pandemic). Still this is far better than the knockout punch suffered by ICE and the automakers.

      In USA sales, Tesla has moved from #20 (2019) to #18 (2020).
      From #19 (2019-Q4) to #17 (2020-Q4). Hopefully with Giga-Berlin production start, more units are sold in Europe.

    2. Meanwhile, in Germany Model 3 sales went up from 9000 to 15,000: showing what happens when demand for existing EVs actually increases (due to increased subsidies) -- rather than just additional models addressing a wider audience, and/or makers scrambling to meet emission targets suddenly aggressively pushing sales with discounts etc.

    3. Tesla is in need of a huge dosis of fresh and enticing product, as it just clocked its worst Last-Month-Of-The-Year performance in France since 2018, when only the S and X were available.

      "What you actually mean is that their logistics scored the best performance in delivering all available cars before the end of the quarter..."

      ROFLMAO, this cheerleader is comic!!!

      writen by Looney Tunes

    4. Deliveries for the year are stable. Q4 deliveries year over year are stable. But keep telling yourself that the November vs. December distribution shift actually means something...

  13. The Dacia Spring result might actually be more than the original K-ZE ever achieved in its home market in one month?...

    1. Oh yes! Interestingly, local distribution of the small Renault also started to increase in December.

      Have they finally got the production up and running?

    2. I read that distribution in China was completely dead for a while, because changes relating to another joint venture left them without a Chinese distribution channel for that model. I guess they finally set up a new channel now?...

  14. The Fiat 500 result is really impressive. I wonder whether the French are already treating it as a local maker, in view of the upcoming merger?... ;-)

  15. Plugin hybrids should be designed to log the distance travelled on electricity. If they fall below the specified limit, then the owner should be asked to return the subsidies or face a fine. Lets say a vehicle has 50 km range. Driving 300 days / year means 300 * 50 = 15.000 km. At least they should have driven 10.000 km on electricity.

    Otherwise, why should they buy a plugin hybrid in the 1st place. This will easily catch the abusers who buy just to grab the state subsidies.

    1. My solution is:
      Reduce maximum speed to 80km/h if not charged every 600 or 1000km.
      That will teach owners quickly.
      And the lower speed is good for the environment.

    2. The only thing such a chicanery would teach owners, would be to get rid of that shit and go back to a combustion car...

  16. My solution is:
    Reduce the maximum speed to 80km/h if the car is not charged every 600 or 1000km.
    That will teach owners quickly and it will be good for the environment too!

  17. #synopsis
    Of the 1.650.197 vehicles registered (market down 25.5%), 185909 (10.7%) were PEV.
    The leading powertrain, that incidentally is in freefall, was gasoline vehicles (46.9%) with 773363 units, followed by diesel (30.5%) with 504191 units, hybrids (10.3%) with 169064 units, electric (6.7%) with 111322 units, plug-in hybrids (4.5%) with 74.587 units and the remaining 1.1% alternative fuels (17670 units).

    124315 vehicles from the total registered 185909 PEVs capture the PEV Top20 positions, were the leading carmakers are the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance (26.3%) with 48932 units, followed by Gruppe PSA (21.1%) with 39220 units and Kia-Hyundai (5.5%) with 10257 units.

  18. Hello,
    eu-evs database gives id.3 sales for all 9 countries covered for Jan 1-21 as 76.
    What is going on? Anyone has an idea?
    Best wishes