Europe March 2019

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Tesla Model 3 Tsunami (Europe Edition)


The European passenger plug-in market registered a record 60,000 registrations in March, growing 38% regarding the same period last year, a good performance considering the stagnating mainstream market (-4% YoY), and the fact that March ’18 had too been a record month, with 43,378 units.

In March, all-electrics jumped 67% YoY, to a record 40,920 deliveries, having been responsible for 69% of all plugin sales last month, with the EV share growing to a record 2.4%, while adding PHEVs to the tally, the share jumps to 3.5%, pulling the 2019 PEV share to a record 3.1%, already above the 2.5% result of 2018.

The big news in March top positions was of course the Tesla Model 3 tsunami/avalanche, with  a record 15,771 units, but unlike what is happening in the USA, the blackhole effect of the Tesla Model 3 is not absorbing sales from other BEVs, but from directly competing PHEVs and ICE models.

Proof of this is the fact that with the exception of the Nissan Leaf, all the remaining Top 5 Best Sellers in March ended the month with positive numbers, which is good news, as it is better to have a Tesla tide lifting all boats, than only their own…

Looking at the Monthly Models Ranking:


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#1 Tesla Model 3 – After years of impatient waiting, the poster-child for electromobility has finally crossed the Atlantic in large volumes, and we experienced a sort of Model 3 fever, with the Tesla sedan flooding the streets of Europe. The 15,771deliveries of March meant that a new monthly record by a single model was set, but I wouldn’t say it is historic, because I guess once the SR/SR+ versions land, we will see another deliveries record. But back at March, where several markets were flooded with Model 3’s, with the Tesla midsize sedan being delivered by the thousands in Norway (5,315), Germany (2,224 units), Netherlands (2,195), France (1,153), Switzerland (1,094) and Sweden (1,005). 
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#2 Renault Zoe – The 4,361 deliveries in March signaled a symbolic growth for the French hatchback, with deliveries up only 1% YoY, as the much improved “new” Zoe (50-60 kWh battery, driving aids, lower price…), and the upcoming Peugeot 208 EV, are starting to dampen sales of the current generation. As for market individual performances, the Zoe continues as popular as ever in its domestic market (1,536 units), and there also were positive numbers in Germany (1,136 units, new record),and Norway (344), and the UK (400). 

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#3 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV – Indifferent to the current doom and gloom of plugin hybrids, and being the only PHEV able to follow the pace of the Best Selling BEVs, the Japanese SUV had 4,314 registrations in March (up 63%), the SUV best performance since December ’17, with the Mitsubishi model continuing to be popular in Scandinavia (642 units in Sweden, 810 in Norway), but also in Germany (693 units, new record), while in the UK, numbers got close to 1,000 deliveries. This case study of a PHEV succeeding in a BEV-friendly environment, has to do with its unique mix of utility, space, decent electric range (including Chademo fast-charging) and affordability. On the long run, one wonders how long the Outlander PHEV will resist to the BEV model counter strike, although, with no direct BEV competitor in the short term, the Mitsubishi model could still rack up sales this year, without major worries.
   
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#4 Nissan Leaf – Europe’s 2018 Best Seller was 4th in March, with 3,917units, down 28% YoY, but fear not, as the new 62 kWh version should start deliveries soon, allowing the Japanese hatchback to resume the growth path. In March, the main markets were Norway (618 deliveries), France (455), and the UK, where the Nissan EV surpassed the 1,000 units.
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#5 BMW i3 – The German hot hatch sales were up 58% in March, to a record 3,632 units, with the BMW pocket rocket benefitting from the age-old formula “bigger battery = bigger sales”, and apparently not feeling the sting of the Model 3 arrival. Looking at individual countries, Germany, Norway and the UK were the main markets in March each with some 700 registrations, while The Netherlands (258 units), France (207) and Poland (219!), also helped greatly the BMW nameplate. Looking into 2019, apparently this Star Wars-inspired EV still has some growth potential in it, so it should continue to be a regular face in this Top 5.

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Looking at the 2019 ranking, the main news was the Tesla Model 3 jumping six spots into the leadership, and considering the advance it already has, Tesla should start to prepare the Best Seller party, at the end of the year…

Elsewhere, there wasn’t much to talk about in the first half of the table, except maybe the fact that the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, by far the best-selling plugin hybrid in the ranking, is getting closer to the Bronze medal of the Nissan Leaf. The 62 kWh version is needed sooner than later, if Nissan wants to keep its podium place.     

On the second half of the table things are more interesting, the Kia Niro EV was up two positions, to #11, thanks to a record 1,636 deliveries, while two other recent additions also shined, with the Jaguar i-Pace jumping 3 spots to #12, while the Audi e-Tron did even better, jumping 4 positions, to #16, thanks to a personal best of 1,791 deliveries.

Underlining the good moment of Hyundai-Kia and Jaguar-Land Rover in the PEV arena, the first had the Kia Niro PHEV hitting a four-digit result (1,084 units, best score in 12 months), while the second had the Range Rover Sport PHEV reaching a record score of 1,004 units. Considering the dismal results that Jaguar-Land Rover are having in the mainstream market, I guess the path for survival is clear for the British Group: Go electric, or go broke.

In #20, we see the Tesla Model S returning to the ranking, a welcome addition, that makes 12 BEVs in the Top 20. And the Tesla Model X is in #22…

Outside the Top 20, we should notice the good start of the new generation Volvo V60 PHEV, that with 887 registrations last month, it was the nameplate best score in over 2 years. A Top 20 spot is getting closer every day, for the Swedish station wagon.

Looking at the manufacturers ranking, we have a new leader, with Tesla (18%, up 10%) now sitting at the iron throne, while last year winner BMW (12%, down 1%) is now 2nd, followed by Nissan and Renault, both with 9% share and running for the 3rd spot, while Hyundai and Mitsubishi are not far behind, with 8%.


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