In France, 16% of new cars are now entirely electric!

The number of plugin vehicles registered in France is continuing to climb, with last month’s registrations totaling 34,360 units. This indicates that plugin vehicles (PEVs) saw another month of two-digit increase in France.

After a protracted period of negative performance, the entire market displayed its second positive month. It rose 6% from the previous year (YoY). However, it is still down a sizeable 19% from September 2018 (the market’s last “normal” year), indicating that the demand trough that many predicted when projecting EV disruption has already arrived.

The market’s best performer in September was full electric vehicles (BEVs), which grew 34% year over year (YoY) and captured 16% of the market. They for the first time ever outperformed diesel sales (14% share). In fact, September saw a 4 percentage point YoY decline in diesel sales as they continued to plummet. The market share of diesel decreased from 18% to 14% over the past year. Diesel sales will come to an end around 2025 at this rate.

Additionally declining by 2% to 11,607 units (8.2% share), PHEVs saw a decrease as well. The fact that September was their seventh straight month of losses explains why the BEV/PHEV sales breakdown is now substantially skewed in favor of BEVs (66% in September vs. 61% YTD).

Over 229,000 units have been registered so far this year (YTD), with plug-in cars holding a 21% (13% BEV) market share. By the end of the year, the market should close at a rate closer to 25%.

The Renault Megane EV was again the top seller in November thanks to a record 2,897 registrations that allowed it to enter the top 10 (at #9). One wonders how high the small EV will go given that it recently won its third straight best seller title and is still ramping up. 3,000? 4,000? More? The Megane is Renault’s primary wager to regain market dominance in its home market now that the Zoe is past its prime and the future Renault 5 EV is still a few years away.

Bravo to Renault for being daring enough to design the Megane EV only as an electric vehicle from the outset, without an ICE competitor. The hatchback-that-thinks-it-s-a-crossover will be Renault’s lone model in the compact category when the current generation fades away in one or two years. Renault should therefore aim to sell at least 30,000 units of its tiny EV in 2023 and 40,000 in 2024 if it wants to challenge Peugeot 308 for the top spot in the category. In relation to the Peugeot 308, Stellantis played things safe at first by choosing the PHEV approach. With only 597 registrations for the month, the new Peugeot 308 PHEV came in at position 14.

It is not a coincidence that Peugeot just unveiled the BEV version of the 308 given the market’s outsized response, even though the first deliveries won’t begin until the end of the first half of 2019.

The Tesla Model 3 came in second place behind the chic new Renault with 2,202 registrations, and the Dacia Spring finished third with 2,170 registrations. This has once more removed the Peugeot e-208 from first place. The Fiat 500e, its Italian counterpart, too had a poor month and finished September in sixth place, trailing both the #3 Dacia Spring and the #5 Renault Twingo EV. Has France’s waiting list for the tiny Fiat been exhausted?

With 1,261 registrations, the Tesla Model Y crossover came in seventh, handily outselling all other foreign cars. The VW ID.3 reached #12 at the month’s end.

It’s interesting to note that the best-selling PHEV was only ranked ninth. Because the Mercedes GLC PHEV is transitioning to a new generation, the category leader, the Peugeot 3008 PHEV, was able to claim a second category title.

The year-best performance of the aforementioned Volkswagen ID.3 hatchback stands out in the table’s second half. The fact that there have been 632 registrations suggests that the German brand may be on the mend. Does this imply that the German conglomerate has weathered the worst of the component crisis?

Due to the first volume deliveries of its new generation, the #19 Kia Niro EV scored 461 registrations last month, and the #15 Mercedes GLA PHEV made an unexpected entry in the table. Two other models also shone (576 registrations). Even the Mercedes baguette bread and butter product, the GLC PHEV, was outperformed in France by the little crossover. Intriguingly, Mercedes’ two best-selling vehicles in France are PHEVs at a time when the market is shifting toward BEVs. … Will this spell trouble for the German brand in this market going forward?

One should draw attention to the strong performance of the Opel Mokka EV (284 registrations) and SAIC’s MG ZS EV outside of the top 20. (416 registrations). Just 16 units separated the Sino-British crossover from a top-20 finish. Additionally, we should draw attention to the arrival of the crucial MG 4 hatchback, with the first 71 units – undoubtedly still display cars — being registered. Expect this model to surpass other MG models in sales in Europe and maybe cause a stir in the market for small hatchbacks (VW ID.3, Renault Megane EV, take note!).

Other than that, Volvo celebrated two record results from its (only) two BEV models. The more upright XC40 EV registered 221 units, marking its second consecutive record month, while the sporty C40 EV scored 357 deliveries. This demonstrates how quickly the Swedish manufacturer is adjusting to a market that is becoming more BEV-based.

The Peugeot e-208 maintained its top spot in the rankings for 2022, but the title of best selling is still up in the air. If the French hatchback is to keep the Romanian model at bay, the new runner-up Dacia Spring, which has overcome the Fiat 500e and is about 1,000 units behind the e-208, cannot afford to have a poor month.

At the cost of its Zoe brother, the Renault Twingo EV rose one position to position #4. This speaks more to the Zoe’s slowdown—most likely brought by by declining demand—than it does to the Twingo’s advantages. Perhaps it’s time for a price reduction?

The Renault Megane EV has climbed to position #7, two spots below it, and we anticipate that this new star player for Renault will keep moving up the rankings, perhaps even into a podium spot. That would serve as a fantastic starting point for Megane’s assault for the 2023 Best Seller title.

Speaking of small hatchbacks, the Peugeot 308 PHEV, which is the Megane EV’s main competition, has also risen, this time to position 11. But compared to the Megane EV, the little Pug has almost half as many registrations. Does that not say something?

The Kia Niro EV benefited from its update by moving up another spot in the rankings. Currently ranked #16 is the Korean crossover.

Finally, with the MG ZS EV currently ranked at number 21, only 200 units behind the BMW X3 PHEV at number 20, anticipate the MG model to challenge for a top 20 spot shortly and eliminate another PHEV model off the list.

There were no changes in the podium’s position when the brands were ranked. The growth of Renault, up 0.4% to 14.9%, was the standout. Peugeot also had a lackluster month (14.9%, down from 15%), which further widened the gap between the two bitter competitors. Expect a tight contest for the brand crown in Q4.

With its anticipated end-of-quarter peak, #3 Tesla was able to increase its market share to 7.1%. The position of #5 has changed, with Dacia (5.7%, up 0.1%), who replaced Fiat, returning to the top 5. In fact, Fiat fell two spots to rank #7, which helped #6 Kia (5.5%) as well.

Stellantis is the dominant player in this market for OEMs, however it has seen a decline in market share. In contrast to the 30.8% share it held the month before, it now holds a 30.4% share. The largest OEM to profit is the #2 Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, with a 21.9% increase from 21.4%.

Third-place Hyundai-Kia is at 10.8%, followed by fourth-place Volkswagen Group at 8.4%.
Tesla (7.1%) is dangerously close behind BMW Group (5.1%) in fifth place, therefore there may be a change in rankings in December.

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