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2017-08-24

Europe EV Sales — BMW i3 Surges To #1 In August




The European EV market had more than 13,000 registrations last month, up 19% over August 2015, with the market set to surpass the 200,000 units by year end. In a relatively stable market, one model stole the show.
Looking at the monthly ranking:

#1 BMW i3

– Thanks to the massive arrival of the 33 kWh units, the BMW i3 had an anticipated sales surge, jumping directly to #1 in August, with 1,317 registrations, its best score of the year. Also, for the first time in 2016, the BEV version outsold the REx brethren. In other words, with the extended electric range, buyers feel safer going all into the EV game with the BEV version, without needing the safety net of the range extender. The largest markets to absorb the extended-range Bimmers were Norway (293 units, all BEV) and Germany (280 deliveries, 147 of them BEV).

#2 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

– The Japanese SUV dropped to 2nd in August, with 1,028 units registered, but Mitsubishi actually had some good news, as Outlander PHEV deliveries went up 6% YoY, ending a five-month trend of slowing sales. Although dropping in the all-important UK market, Norway and Germany have done the heavy lifting this month, pulling the model into the black. And as you probably know, the Japanese brand really needs positive news, so it must be thankful for this.

#3 VW Passat GTE

– Besides the usual Sweden and Norway, big-time Passat GTE lovers, Volkswagen’s midsize offering also impressed in the Netherlands in August, with 119 units registered, its best result of the year there. That allowed it to reach the 3rd position, with 916 units registered. With the right mix of electric range, space, power, and a reasonable price, the Passat GTE was destined for success as a company car across Europe.

#4 Nissan Leaf

– Sales of the Japanese hatch were down 15% last month, to 869 units, with registrations dropping across the continent. In normal circumstances, Nissan would be worried and would try to pull some tricks to turn things around, but this time, the Japanese brand is just keeping production at minimal levels to avoid big unsold stocks, waiting for a big EV push expected relatively soon.

#5 RenaultZoe

– In what is usually a slow month for the French hatch, August turned out to be a not so bad sales month, with registrations up 47% YoY to 857 units, and for that it had the German market to thank. Germany’s 256 units compensated a bit for the seasonal slowdown of the French market. Actually, Renault, the owner of the current EV Yellow Jersey in Europe, is probably not that concerned with the current sales trend of its hatch, as it is preparing itself for a big boost following its massive range increase.

YTD Ranking

Looking at the YTD ranking, there weren’t significant changes at the top, with no real chances of the top 4 positions being contested in the short term.
But the race for #5 should be interesting. Now that the rejuvenated BMW i3 is delivering with 33kWh units, the VW Golf GTE better step up the game or else it will have to say Auf Wiedersehen to 5th place.
In the midst of the Summertime Chill season, besides the BMW i3, two other models excelled in August — the Mercedes B250e had 466 units registered, its best performance ever, while the newly arrived Tesla Model X had its first significant delivery month in Europe, with 307 units registered, already pulling it to #15 in the August ranking and #2 in the Luxury SUV class, only behind the Volvo XC90 PHEV, with 333 units registered.
Coincidentally (or not), several Model X direct competitors had lower-than-average scores, like the BMW X5 PHEV (223 units, worst result in a year), Mercedes GLE500e (77 units, worst result of 2016), and Porsche Cayenne Plug-In (154 units, lowest result since December 2014). Do I see a trend here? …
Considering that September is the last month of the quarter and Tesla usually delivers some Ludicrous performances at that time, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Model X sneaked into the next month’s Top 5.
“What about two Tesla in September’s Top 5?” – While possible, I don’t believe it will be probable, with Tesla firing on all cylinders electrons to have as many units delivered as possible, I think it will make North America a priority for the MS (it’s simpler and quicker to deliver there) and won’t have the manufacturing / logistic ability to deliver so many MS units on this side of the pond. Go on Tesla, prove me wrong!
Looking at the manufacturer ranking, the trophy bearer, Volkswagen (16%), has been successful in fending off its direct competitors, but now it has a new and ambitious runner-up to take into account, as BMW (15%, up 2%) is profiting from a strong (and extensive) lineup to climb in the ranking with, this time to 2nd place while dropping Renault to 3rd (with 14% share).
While BMW is still far from the leadership — 1,870 units behind, to be more precise — the booming sales (i3 33 kWh deliveries, 740e arrival …) of the Bavarian manufacturer means that it won’t be all that surprising to see BMW as Europe’s best-selling EV brand in 2016, by December 31st.