Published on June 18th, 2020 | by Jose Pontes
June 18th, 2020 by Jose Pontes
With the German auto market slowly recovering from the pandemic-related lockdown, dropping just 50% year over year (YoY) in May, the local plugin market stepped up the growth pace last month, having registered 12,333 units, up 56% YoY. The growth was mostly thanks to PHEVs, which jumped an amazing 107%(!). Last month’s plugin share reached 7.3% (3.3% full electric vehicles/BEVs), keeping the yearly tally at 7.6% (3.7% BEV).
With the recent incentive changes, it is expected that the German plugin market will return to warp speed soon. Although, much is expected to be due to increased sales of plugin hybrids that are already the majority of plugin vehicle (PEV) sales this year (48% BEV vs 52% PHEV). They should increase their lead throughout the summer, at least until a certain Volkswagen ID.3 lands in September … but more on that later.
PHEVs or not, the truth is that thanks to the incentives boost, we could reach the 10% milestone already this year, something that would make 2021 a very interesting year to follow. … (wink, wink, disruption, wink, wink)
Regarding last month’s best sellers, in May the Volkswagen e-Golf got the top spot again, with the German brand milking its hatchback to the last drop, thanks to generous discounts. It seems the veteran model is set to end its career on a high note.
Another veteran, the Audi A3 PHEV, is also benefitting from a second spring, managing to win its first podium position in years thanks to a surprising record of 732 registrations, an amazing feat for a model that is supposed to be in its last months. Talk about leaving with a bang!
In fact, Audi can celebrate its May performance overall, as it placed 3 models in the top 6 spots! The A3 PHEV was in 3rd, the e-tron BEV in 4th, and the Q5 PHEV in 5th, tied with the Mercedes E300e/de. Not bad, Audi, not bad at all.
Regarding the 2020 table, the podium positions remained the same, with each model consolidating its position, and they should stay the same until September, when a certain VW ID.3 delivers some 8,000 units (wild guess) at once, landing immediately on (or close to) the podium. It should kick its predecessor off the throne during the following months. Also in September, the Tesla Model 3 should benefit from its usual end-of-quarter peak to try to displace the Renault Zoe from the podium, stealing at the same time the Best Selling Foreigner title from the French hatchback.
The PHEV race will also be interesting. We’ll see if last year’s leader, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, is the winner again. The Japanese SUV has been losing gas charge and now has the #5 VW Passat GTE just 14 units behind, but the Volkswagen midsizer might not enjoy the plugin hybrid throne for long, as the rising Audi A3 PHEV that was up 3 spots last month, to #7, is currently outpacing the competition. Although, one wonders for how long, as the Audi hatchback is on the last legs of its 6-year career.
With all of this, even the #8 Mercedes E300e/de family might have a shot at winning the PHEV category, especially now that, thanks to the new incentives, the PHEV versions will become even more price-competitive compared to their fossil fuel siblings. Mercedes better find an extra supply of batteries for the E300, because they will surely be in demand.
Speaking of the big Mercedes, in the luxury category, the Audi e-tron surpassed it, reaching the 6th position and becoming the new top dog in this high-end race. And the good news for Audi doesn’t stop there, as its Q5 PHEV SUV was up also, in this case one position, to #12.
But it wasn’t only Audi models that shined, because the 371 registrations of the #14 Hyundai Kona EV, a new year best, also deserve a mention, while the Smart Fortwo EV and the Volvo S/V60 PHEV twins each climbed a spot in the table, with the tiny two-seater now at #15 while the Swedes are at #16.
We have two new entries at the bottom of the table, both from BMW, which added its X3 PHEV (385 units in May, a new record) at #19 and the bigger X5 PHEV (280 units) at #20, putting four BMWs in the top 20.
Outside the top 20, a reference is due to the Ford Kuga PHEV, which had a record 422 registrations last month, a new record. That should help it reach a top 20 position soon, which would be a first for the Dearborn automaker, and a good omen for the future Mustang Mach-E.
In the brand ranking, Volkswagen (16%) leads the way, while Audi (11%, up 2 points) profited from its good performance in May to return to the runner-up spot, displacing BMW (10%), now in the last place of the podium.
Off the podium, the #4 Mercedes (8%) and #5 Renault (7%, down 1 point) are running behind.
Here are the same charts as above but with “Others” added:
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