Tesla Model 3 wins in February
Despite a depressing overall market (-20% YoY in February), the European passenger plugin market continues on the rise, having registered over 115,000 units in February (+66% YoY), placing last month plugin share at 14% share (5.9% BEV), keeping the 2021 PEV share at 14% (5.7% for BEVs alone).
This solid sales growth was mostly due to PHEVs, that have seen their sales jump by 117% YoY, to 65,581 units, while BEVs (50,246 units) have grown a more moderate 27% last month, confirming plugin hybrids as the major growth source for plugins in these first stages of 2021.
With the first 2021 fresh units coming from Fremont (and Shanghai), the Model 3 won last month Best Seller title, its first since last September, with Tesla's expected high tide in March, and the competition still recovering from the December peak, the sports sedan should win another trophy next month.
Last month we had the Peugeot 208 EV joining the Best Sellers list, being one of the most interesting small BEVs around, the French hatchback crossed 2020 living in the shadow of its arch rival Renault Zoe success, but this year, both models are closer, so 2021 could be the little Pug breakout year.
Looking at February Top 5 Models:
#1 Tesla Model 3 – The sports sedan returned to form, by having 5,506 deliveries last month, allowing it to have its first monthly win since last September, which is a promising sign for the upcoming March high tide, where over 15,000 deliveries seem like a realistic target. Regarding February, the Model 3 main markets were Germany (1,910 units) and France (1,166), with Austria (369) and Norway (334) folowing at some distance.
#2 Volkswagen ID.3 – The pull forward stunt of last December had its downside in January, when the German hatchback was just 5th, but fast forward to February and recovery is now on its way, with the VW model scoring 3,808 deliveries. We believe that by March we should finally start to see the real demand level of the electric hatchback. Back to February, Germany was by far the best market for the Volkswagen nameplate, with 1,892 deliveries, followed by France (361 units) and Austria (260).
#3 Renault Zoe – The low 3,620 deliveries number show that the French hatchback is yet to recover from the last year end peak effort, but we should wait for March final results before jumping into conclusions, as Renault is known for unexpected end-of-quarter peaks. Last month, the main markets were the usual, with Germany (1,424 units) leading, followed by France (1,074), while Italy (285), was a distant 3rd.
#4 Volvo XC40 PHEV - The smallest of Volvo's PHEV lineup is now the PHEV du jour in Europe, as the carmaker sees their plugin hybrid versions as just another trimline in Europe, facilitating sales across its lineup, especially of the XC40, that sits at the heart of the hot compact SUV category. In February the Belgian-built Volvo scored 3,602 registrations, earning its 2nd Best Selling PHEV title in a row. The markets where the Volvo plugin was in high rotation were Germany (529 units), Italy (518), Sweden (447) and France (371). Without production constraints and currently experiencing strong demand, the compact Volvo is a strong candidate for the 2021 PHEV Best Seller title.
#5 Peugeot 208 EV – Thanks to a competitive package (50 kWh battery, 100 kW charging rate) and distinctive design, much was expected from the small Peugeot last year, but ending 2020 in a low 8th spot, with a third of its arch rival Renault Zoe registrations, one couldn't say that the Peugeot model had set the market on fire...Several reasons might explain this, but the truth is that this year things should be looking better, with February signaling the 208 EV first Top 5 presence in 12 months. Last month, the French EV registered 3,062 units, with the biggest market being its homeland France, with 1,484 registrations, followed by Germany, with 596 units, and Italy (184 units).
Looking at the remaining February table, the highlights show up on the lower half, with the VW Golf PHEV showing in in #15, immediately followed by the #16 Fiat 500e, with the Italian EV now aiming to displace the VW e-Up from the City car leadership, although the Smart Fortwo EV, 18th last month, might still have a word to say in this race, set to be one of the most thrilling categories of the year.
Outside the Top 20, a mention to the Toyota RAV4 PHEV, as the Japanese maker continues to (slowly) ramp up the deliveries of its RAV4 PHEV model, reaching 1,444 units last month, a new record for the Japanese SUV. Will we see it on the table soon?
Looking at the 2021 ranking, the main news was the Tesla Model 3 shooting to #3, with the sports sedan on its way to the leadership in March, while the VW ID.3 also improved its standing, climbing one position, to 4th.
Same thing for the Peugeot 208 EV, that was up one spot, from #6 to #5, while the Volvo XC60 PHEV jumped 4 positions, joining the Top 10, in 9th, highlighting Volvo's good moment.
On the second half of the table, the small VW e-Up joined the table in #15, stealing the City car Best Seller status from the #18 Smart Fortwo EV, while the new Fiat 500e joined the table for the first time, in #20, with the category title promising to be hardly fought between these 3 models (Last year's title went for the VW e-Up, beating the Smart Fortwo EV by 2,000 units - 22k vs 20k).
Outside the Top 20, there are two PHEVs set to join the table soon, with the #21 VW Golf PHEV only 97 units below the #20 Fiat 500e, while the #22 BMW X5 PHEV is only 172 units behind.
In the brands ranking, balance is the word, with 6 brands separated by just 3%, in the lead we have BMW (10%), immediately followed by Volkswagen and Mercedes, both with 9% share, then we have the #4 Volvo, with 8% (up 2%), while in tied in 5th, we have Peugeot and Renault, both with 7% share.
Oh, and don't forget that Tesla (3%) should join the pack in March...Now this is what i call an entertaining race!
BEV D-Segment / Midsize category
Tesla's midsize sedan is now firm in the leadership, having won a sizeable distance to the competition in February, with over 4,500 units now separating it from the runner-up spot, and has seen its sales increase 54% YoY last month, highlighting the fact that it won't have significant competition in the next few months, as the Tesla Model Y will only land in the second half of the year.
The Polestar 2 (1,171 units last month) is the new 2nd placed, having surpassed the Mercedes EQC in February, with the Sino-Swede now having a 393 units advantage over the Mercedes SUV, that has delivered 698 units last month, a mere 3% increase YoY, so it seems that the German EV has already found its (low) cruise speed.
With the only other significant midsize BEV, the Jaguar i-Pace, selling at a slower pace than these two (393 units last month), the Polestar model can only fear the Ford Mustang Mach-E in the race for the Best Selling Non-Tesla title, as the existing competition doesn't seem to pose a threat to it and the upcoming BMW i4 will be delivered too late in the year to make up for the lost time.
BEV E/F-Segment / Full size category
The e-Tron domination is unquestionable but its seemingly never ending growth seems to have finally stopped, with the Big Audi scoring 2,351 units last month, representing a 6% sales drop YoY, but despite this, the Audi SUV seems destined to win another category title this year, with Tesla basically giving up on the Model S & X for the first half of the year, what they will recover in the second half of the year, shouldn't be enough to compensate for the drought in the first half, while the #2 model, the Porsche Taycan (724 units last month) is too niche to go head to head with the e-Tron in the sales charts.
Regarding the remaining competition, the Mercedes EQV Luxury Van is still in 3rd place, with 308 units, but shouldn't be here for long, as the Audi e-Tron GT just landed in February, with its first registrations (212 of them) in Germany, no doubt demonstration units, so expect the Taycan sibling to jump into the Bronze medal spot soon, thus making a 1-2-3 lead for the VW Group.
Finally, a note regarding the upcoming Mercedes EQS, while its design looks promising, i think Mercedes is making a mistake by marketing it as a
don't call it a hatchback fastback sedan. Considering the general proportions of the car, i think the right way to market it would be as a Sports Wagon. A bit like Porsche does with the Panamera Sport Turismo (and upcoming Taycan Sport/Cross Turismo), the EQS reminds more of a sports wagon than a big fastback a la Tesla Model S (or Porsche Panamera, if you prefer). Anyway, the EQS should remain a niche model, the real test for Mercedes will be the 2022 EQE, that model will have to fill some really big shoes, as the regular Mercedes E-Series has been the category Best Selling model for decades...So anything less than the Number One position for the EQE will be seen as failure by Mercedes management. No pressure, EQE, no pressure...