20% of New Cars in Europe Have a Plug!

Despite declining growth rates, the European passenger vehicle plugin vehicle market is still in the fast lane. Some 160,000 plugin vehicles were registered in February — which is +38% year over year (YoY). This performance is especially impressive when we consider that the overall auto market continued to fall — down 7% last month, with the 804,000 units registered last month making it the lowest February in over 20 years!

With plugin registrations rising fast and the overall market shrinking significantly, plugin vehicle market share had to rise significantly, and it did. Last month’s plugin vehicle share of the overall European auto market was 20% (11% full electrics/BEVs). That result pulled the 2022 plugin vehicle (PEV) share to 19% (11% for BEVs alone).

Growth came from both plugin fields, but while BEVs (+79% YoY) keep gaining momentum, PHEVs (+6%) are slowing down significantly, allowing pure electrics to represent the majority of registrations last month (57% vs. 43%) . That allowed BEVs to gain 2 percentage points of market share in the YTD count (55% vs 45%).

Also worthy of notice is the fact that besides the EV disruption, the overall market is being heavily changed by other factors as well, like the chip shortage, which is tanking registrations from most OEMs. Of the major players, only Hyundai–Kia (+25% YoY!!!) avoided a significant drop.

Current Korean OEM fortunes are benefiting from the fact that they didn’t cancel their microchip orders at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, which — added to a strong bet on electrification — is making Hyundai–Kia one of the OEMs in the overall automotive market, and maybe the legacy OEM best prepared to deal with the current electrification process.

Not coincidentally, Hyundai (47%) and Kia (39%) have one of the highest electrification (BEV+PHEV) rates among legacy automakers in the European market. They are only beaten by Porsche and Volvo, which already have around 50% electrification rates.

In another sign of disruption, in the context of the falling automotive market, two brands stand out among the overall top 30 brands in November, with #29 SAIC’s MG (+204%) and #18 Tesla (+186%), which uncidentally are two EV-only makers.

Anyways, though, let’s look closer at February’s plugin top 5:

#1 Tesla Model 3 — It was another great month for the Tesla sedan, which had 9,098 registrations. With March being another peak month, expect it to show up among the overall best sellers. Regarding February’s performance, Model 3 deliveries were concentrated on the continent’s larger markets, like Germany (3,690 units), France (2,717) and the UK (1,275), with sedan-loving Spain (337) following them from a far.

#2 Tesla Model Y — Like the Model 3, it was a good month for Tesla’s crossover. In February, the China-made crossover had 6,879 Registrations, a number that will easily be surpassed when Giga Berlin ramps up and the midsize crossover jumps to the front of the pack. Regarding last month’s performance, the Model Y’s main markets were Germany (2,254 units), the UK (1,306), France (866), and station wagon crossover-loving Sweden (583).

#3 Fiat 500e — The little Italian is having a strong start of the year, with 4,038 deliveries in February. With wrinkles showing up on the competition (VW e-Up, Smart Fortwo EV, Renault Twingo EV…) and the Dacia Spring appealing to a more cost-sensitive customer base, the Fiat EV won’t have serious competition for the near future. Last month, the main markets were Germany (1,392 units), France (1,028 units), its native Italy (509 units), and the Netherlands (283).

#4 Peugeot 3008 PHEV — The French crossover had another top 5 presence in February, with 3,608 registrations, winning its second Best Selling PHEV title in a row. Will the Peugeot crossover dethrone the Ford Kuga PHEV from the yearly trophy position? It’s still early to tell, but with two wins in a row, it sure seems promising. The had its best scores in France (1,377 units), but it is also its finding corner of the market in the 30 important German market (562 units) followed by Spain (347 units) and Italy (286), confirming the crossover’s (and Stellantis’) popularity in Southern Europe.

#5 Kia Niro EV — The Korean tall wagon crossover continues to be a sure value in the EV arena. It doesn’t really stand out on any item in particular, but it also doesn’t have weak points, which contributes to its continued success. In February it had 3,507 registrations, making it Hyundai–Kia’s best selling model last month. On last month’s performance, the Niro EV’s main market was (tall) wagon-loving Sweden (711 units), with the UK (700 units), Germany (554), and France (402 units) being the crossover’s next best markets.

Looking at the rest of the February table, one thing stands out, the best selling German model (BMW 3-Series PHEV) was only 8th, being surpassed by two Teslas (Model3 and Y), two Stellantis models (Fiat 500e and Peugeot 3008). PHEV), and three Hyundai–Kia vehicles (Kia Niro EV, Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Hyundai Kona EV), while the best selling Volkswagen was the ID.4… in 12th.

Now, February is one of the slowest selling months of the year, and it might not mean anything, as these results might still be influenced by the year-end rush, but … just to give an example, in the same month last year, the VW ID.3 had been 2nd placed, with 3,808 registrations.

Moving on, the Audi Q4 e-tron was 9th last month, making it the Volkswagen Group’s best selling model. This seems to prove that the German conglomerate is prioritising its higher margin models.

In the second half of the table, the highlights are the #17 Volvo XC60 PHEV (once again: higher range = higher sales), the #19 Mini Cooper EV (it looks the hot hatch has ramped up production lately), and the # 20 Kia EV6, with the sporty Korean set to become a familiar face in the table.

Below the top 20, the stylish Polestar 2 got 2,085 registrations, thanks to the cheaper versions, and the future classic BMW i3 is going to retire with a bang, having scored 2,170 registrations last month. We might see the little Bimmer show up on the table soon! (Fingers crossed.)

Looking at the 2022 ranking, the Tesla Model 3 is back in the leadership position thanks to a strong month, followed by the Kia Niro EV and Fiat 500e, but the probable winner of this year’s race is now in 5th. The Tesla Model Y is some 2,500 units behind its Model 3 sibling, but expect the crossover to surpass its older sibling sometime this year. (June?)

The PHEV title is for now in the hands of the #4 Peugeot 3008 PHEV, which is easily passing up the 2021 winner, the Ford Kuga PHEV. The Kuga PHEV is just #14 in the table this year and 4th in the PHEV category. That says a lot about the volatility of the PHEV category.

Elsewhere, the main news was the rise and rise of two models, with the #7 Hyundai Ioniq 5 and the #15 Kia EV6 proving to be two worthy contenders in the midsize segment. An interesting fact: the three best selling midsize BEVs in Europe all come from Asia.

In the second half of the table, note the slow starts of VW’s ID.4 (4th in 2021, 12th now) and ID.3 (3rd in 2021, 18th now), as well as that of the arch-rival Renault Zoe ( 2nd then, 9th now) and Peugeot e-208 EV (10th then, 20th now).

In the automaker ranking, things are pretty balanced. While last year’s winner, Volkswagen (5.9%) is only 8ththe race between BMW and Mercedes (both have 9.6% share) is super hot, with only 120 units separating the Bavarian from its rival Mercedes.

In 3rd we have a surprise, with Volvo (6.4%) jumping to the last place on the podium, surpassing Peugeot (also 6.4%) and Kia (6.3%). Kia is holding onto the 5th position by just 10 units, ahead of #6 Audi for the time being. 7th is Hyundai, with 6% share, followed by the aforementioned Volkswagen, while Tesla is 9th, with 5.4% share.

Arranging things by automotive group, Volkswagen Group is ahead with 18.7% share, above Stellantis (15.9%). The runner-up multinational conglomerate managed to keep a solid distance between itself and the current bronze medalist, Hyundai–Kia (12.3%). Meanwhile, #4 BMW Group (11.9%) is not far away. Will we see a position change here in March?

Or … could it be the case that #5 Mercedes-Benz Group (10.8%) starts to go after its Bavarian arch rival?

With Geely–Volvo and the Renault–Nissan Alliance more than 2% behind, for now it seems these top 5 OEMs will be safe from the competition.


 

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