Friday, February 26, 2021

Europe January 2021

PHEVs shine in disrupted market

The European passenger plug-in market registered 112,000 registrations in January (+50% YoY), with PHEVs (+85%) growing faster than BEVs (+18%), with PHEVs starting the year ahead of BEVs  (42% BEVs / 58% PHEVs). 

Last month positive result, added to a crashing overall market (-26% YoY), allowed the 2021 plugin share to start at 14% (5.6% for BEVs alone), already above the final 2020 PEV (11%) and doubling the result of January 2020 (6.6%).

With the plugin share already starting firmly above 10%, disruption is here to stay and the 20% mark for 2021, that i expected a month ago, now not only looks reasonable, but one can even imagine it ending above that score!. 

In January, PHEVs were the stars of the show, not only winning the Best Seller trophy for the first time in years, thanks to the surprising Volvo XC40 PHEV, but also by placing 2 models in the Top 5, for the first time since last August, as the BMW 330e(!) reached the 4th place last month.

And the surprises do not ended there, as the Kia Niro EV won the last place of the podium, although the 3,123 units weren't enough to beat the #2 Renault Zoe, that lost the leadership race by a mere 23 units, while the VW ID.3, said to be the favorite candidate to win the 2021 title, was only 5th.    

In a month where the overall market saw the perennial leader VW Golf drop to 4th(!), behind the #1 Toyota Yaris(!!), #2 Peugeot 208 (!) and #3 Dacia Sandero (!!!), and the usual runner-up Renault Clio starting only in #7, added to the fact that plugins are becoming increasingly mainstream, the European automotive market is definetely into little known waters, although for now we shouldn't read too much into these early results, but i believe by March we should have a clearer view of what's going on, and the if disruption is indeed hurting the previous status quo.   

Also important to know, will be if the possible weakness of the VW Golf and Renault Clio is due to buyers directly flocking to their EV counterparts (ID.3 and Zoe), or are they moving into other options on the market.

Bring on the popcorn, because the next few months will surely be fun to watch!

Looking at the Monthly Models Ranking:
#Volvo XC40 PHEV – With electrification high on Volvo's priorities list, the Swedish brand is, along with Porsche, the two most electrified legacy makers in Europe, the PHEV version of the compact SUV hit 3,543 units last month, winning for Volvo its first monthly trophy, highlighting the good growth prospects in 2021 for the brand, especially considering that its BEV sibling (1,027 units last month) is only just starting, with a number of markets still without units delivered. While the XC40 PHEV major market was Germany (573 units), there were several others also helping in significant volumes, like the Netherlands (367), France (357), the UK (350), Belgium (434) and Italy (399).

#2 Renault Zoe– The 3,520 deliveries of January haven't allowed it to start in the lead, but with only 23 units separating if from the leadership, it really doesn't mean anything for future prospects. Back to January, Germany (1,166 units) and France (1,013) pulled the usual heavy lifting, with Italy a distant 3rd, with only 255 registrations.

#3 Kia Niro EV – The Korean crossover scored 3,123 units last month, a 137% surge regarding the same month last year, although this might not mean that the Niro EV will have an outstanding 2021, as it might be just the result of Kia's allocation policy. To be continued... Looking back at January results, the two main markets were the UK (950 units), followed by France (748 units, a new record), with Germany being a distant third (350 registrations).
#4 BMW 330e– Now this was a surprise. The German midsizer joined the Top 5 and became the leader in its category, with 3,058 units. With BMW's plugin hybrid profiting from a fortuity of circumstances, like the fact that the Tesla Model 3 was in an off month, and the Mercedes C-Class arch-rival being close to a generational change (the new PHEV version has 100 kms (62 mi) electric range! and CCS!), the BMW plugin hybrid managed to pull off this good result, although one wonders for how long with BMW's model manage to keep this status. Looking at individual countries, the UK (1,100 units) and Germany (763), were its largest markets, with the following being Belgium (263) and Sweden (244).

#5 Volkswagen ID.3– The German model hit a meh 2,978 units last month, which is somewhat disappointing, but with production still ramping up, we should see a very strong March, with the following months being the real test to the VW EV demand and/or production priorities, as the German maker might prioritize the more profitable ID.4 over the ID.3... Regarding January performances, the Volkswagen hatchback registrations were heavily concentrated in Germany (1,799), being followed from a far by Austria (199), and France (142). Interesting that they focussed January deliveries in markets close to the factory, isn't it?

Peugeot 508 PHEV

Looking at the remaining ranking, BMW and Peugeot impressed, with the German maker placing 4 models in the Top 20, while Peugeot had 3, with one of them, the 3008 PHEV, even scoring a record result (2,680 units), and while BMW Top 20 line-up was all PHEV and SUV-heavy (3 SUVs), Peugeot had had two BEVs, while looking at the broader Stellantis line up, the new conglomerate also placed 4 models to the table, because on top of the 3 Peugeot's, the Opel Corsa EV also managed to find a spot in the table, in #20.

Regarding fresh faces, a mention to the 12th spot of the Mercedes GLE350e/de barge SUV, after a looong production ramp up, it seems to be a tradition now in Mercedes, the long range SUV is finally living up to its specs (31 kWh battery and CCS charging) and being delivered in large numbers. Coincidentally, its BMW arch rival, the X5 PHEV, is also back at the Top 20, which underlines a recent trend, big SUVs are being electrified faster than the rest of the market. 

Outside the Top 20, two recent models deserve a mention, the Toyota RAV4 PHEV continues its deliveries ramp up, clocking an already relevant 1,253 units last month, while the Citroen C4 EV is also ramping up, having registered 536 units in January.

In the manufacturers ranking, BMW profited from strong results from its (long) lineup and started the year in the lead, with 10% share, followed by a pack of competitors, leaded by Volkswagen, Peugeot and Mercedes, all with 7% share each, with Renault and Volvo following immediately, both with 6%.

BEV D-Segment / Midsize category

Tesla's midsize sedan sales started in the low end, with 1,499 deliveries, only 11 less than a year ago, but expect the sports sedan deliveries to jump significantly in March, thus distancing itself from the #2 Mercedes EQC (1,354 units) and Polestar 2 (1,297).

Tesla's midsizer won't have significant competition in the near future, at least until its Model Y sibling lands, as the Polestar 2 is still too expensive to reach higher volumes and the EQC...Well, that one is just happy to keep Silver while it can.

The upcoming Ford Mustang Mach-E production levels are still a question mark, and as for the BMW iX3, i believe the Bavarian maker will already be happy if it comes close to the the Mercedes EQC...

BEV E-Segment / Full size category

The e-Tron domination continues to grow, with the Big Audi scoring 2,621 units last month, with its sales growing 16% YoY, considering the already significant sales volumes of the Belgian-made Audi, one wonders for how long will the growth rates will be sustained, and when will the peak e-Tron moment arrive...Maybe when the Q4 e-Tron is presented?

With the #2 Porsche Taycan (1,094 units last month) accelerating its sales, the main interest is now the 3rd spot, where the luxury van with windows Mercedes EQV (168 units) has managed to beat both flagship Teslas.

2021 will se a lot of action in this category, not only with several models landing (Audi e-Tron GT, Mercedes EQS, BMW iNext...), but with also the flagship Teslas redesign and the Porsche Taycan lineup expansion (RWD, Cross Turismo...), the Audi e-Tron will have a harder time keeping the full size crown.


  1. BMW and Ford returned from battery issue.
    Even March results will be distorted by ID.3 and ID.4 software induced tsunami.
    I feel sorry for Tesla.

    1. None of these affect Tesla...

  2. Why the second and third tables are showing 2020?

  3. Nice to see 50% YoY increase despite 26% decrease in overall sales. Europe is evolving into plugin hybrid base, but we have to wait to see what happens after all subsidies are removed.

    With the total continent about to be vaccinated, we can expect recovery soon. Ideally all the chips, parts, steel, battery production should be diversified instead of depending on just 1 country. Otherwise, we could be in trouble again soon.

  4. Redesigned Benz C Series for 2022 is eliminating V6 & V8 engines. All trims will have mild hybrid as standard. In addition there will also be a plugin hybrid with a high range with 4 cylinder engine.
    Diesel will also be there.

    Slowly electrification is coming in in 1 form or other.

  5. Seems most of the self-registered ID.3 are in dealer lots to be cleared before new sales kicks in. It should sell irrespective of ID.4 sales since Europeans buy more than 1 million vehicles / month.

    May be temporary problem because of lockdown that pushed Golf to #4, otherwise it should recover back to #1. ID.3 is a whole new machine and should grab some sales from luxury vehicles.

    1. ID.3 grabbing sales from luxury vehicles? Don't be silly. It has been criticised for having a cheap interior -- worse than the mainstream Golf.

      (Curiously, ID.4 is doing better on that front...)

    2. @famlin
      Many people bought a a golf diesel 1.6 for economical reasons.
      Now there is only a 2.0 diesel which is expensive also for tax and insurance.

      Therefore golf will not recover.

  6. Germans are known for their legendary efficiency, oh I dont mean the software of ID.3/ID.4

    "The single-unit Grohnde nuclear power plant in Germany has produced more than 400 terawatt hours of electricity since it started up in 1984 - the only reactor to have achieved this milestone. "

    400 TWh is 400 billion KWh. Tesla Model 3 can go 8 km/KWh.
    If the car runs 12.000 km /year, it may consume 1.500 KWh / year.

    267 million Tesla Model 3 can be powered with the electricity generated by this reactor in its 36 year lifetime.

    Foolish Germans are shutting down well functioning reactor. It would have cost few 100 million marks at that time to build and its generating power at such a low cost.

    1. A few 100 million marks? LOL... No silly, nuclear reactors cost billions -- they weren't that much cheaper back in the eighties.

      Funny note from the article: "in recent years Grohnde has increasingly served as a standby plant at the request of the network operator, thus helping to stabilise the country's power supply." Fancy that: it isn't actually reducing the need for coal generation -- just doing a job that batteries can do better...

      That's actually quite curious, considering that there is still significant coal generation most of the time -- and there is no way curtailing nuclear is more cost-effective than ramping down coal... Is it due to some policy in favour of coal? Or simply the fact that there isn't much coal left to ramp down in this part of the country?... (Niedersachsen has a *lot* of wind power...) Either way, it means that given the situation, it's not a big loss.

      More generally, I do believe it's a good thing to get rid of nuclear longer term. I just wish the political climate would have allowed for shutting down coal plants first...

    2. @famlin
      You are making valid points.
      It was all about getting votes after Fukushima.
      Shutting them down early makes electricity twice as expensive as EU average.
      That hurts people with small income.
      And it makes operating EVs more expensive.

    3. That's nonsense. Electricity consumer prices in Germany have been this high for many years -- since before Fukushima.

      The actual reason for the high prices is a strange policy that favoured massive renewables build-out when they were very expensive (still being paid off today), but put the brakes on when they started becoming cheap -- exacerbated by the fact that all the costs are being put on consumers, while industrial users get a free pass.

      Also, let's not forget that nuclear appears cheap on the electricity bill only because many of the costs are covered by the state instead, i.e. through general taxes.

  7. So for the first time, the Peugeot 208 + Corsa sold more than the Zoe... Though I guess that won't last long.

  8. How are Mach E production levels a question mark? Ford explicitly said, quite a while ago, that they intend to make 50,000 in the first year. (60% of which are earmarked for Europe.)

    1. True, but i also read 80.000 total, with 50.000 coming to Europe.

  9. I still can not understand why a Mercedes EQC and a Tesla Model 3 are in the same category. Nobody I know would see it like that.
    A Tesla Model 3 ist much closer to a VW ID.3 then to a Mercedes EQC.

    1. Its the other way round, you have to compare Benz EQC to VW ID.3.
      Take another look at Tesla Model-3.
      420 km range
      panoramic roof
      clean interior
      supercharging stations

      EQC range is 354 km, as you know, range is very important for BEV and EQC is no match for Model-3. No wonder, for 3 years Model-3 is the leader in global sales.

      But 1 thing we have to accept is, being a crossover, EQC is lot more spacious.

    2. They are all three in completely different categories -- saying any two are "closer" makes little sense.

  10. Come on people, be reasonable, when defining segments, range is not taken in consideration, or else the Audi e-Tron 71 kWh would be considered"compact"/C-segment.

    The major factors for segmentation is exterior size, price and positioning towards the competition.

    As such, Model 3 and EQC sit at the same table, D-segment/ midsize category.

  11. While a huge Tesla fan and resident of that continent between the Pacific and the Atlantic, I am just glad that EV sales in Europe are as high as they are and seem to be growing rapidly. I hope that more true BEV's appear on the top part of the lists, but I think that may be a function of mileage and it will grow pretty rapidly as battery technology and production improve. Go EV's, that's a win for all.

  12. Which place is Tesla in the overall brand ranking . How many % of overll EV market in February ??

  13. Like you see they were outside top 20 as per february.