Saturday, February 28, 2015

Markets Roundup January 2015

VW Golf plug-in Twins

The Golf Twins success (Or how Plug-ins are going mainstream)

After ending 2014 with numbers a bit below of what was expected from a manufacturer like Volkswagen (It was #1 only in Norway), the german brand had a great beginning this year, leading several rankings throughout Europe, with #1's in the Netherlands (GTE), Norway (e-Golf) and Germany (GTE), and the GTE leading the Best Selling PHEV ranking in France and Switzerland.

If in Norway this sudden burst in sales is explained by the addition of the Heat Pump and the fact that electric cars are already mainstream (They had 18% share last month), the Golf GTE recent success in Europe is something else, as plug-ins expansion progresses, they are starting to go beyond the early adopters niche and going into mainstream buyers, where expectations regarding cars are a bit more conservative, as they prefer established brands and models (What could be more established than the Best Selling car in Europe?) and without range issues, that's why the e-Golf failed to succeed, early adopters preferred other electric cars to a high priced everyday Golf, while at the same time it didn't appealed to mainstream consumers, as the cheaper ICE Golf had the ability to go everywhere without a sweat.

Here enters the VW Golf GTE, an established car without range issues that can still go 50 kms fully electric, on top of that, it benefits from the special aura that sporty Golf's enjoy (Let's call it the  GTI-Factor), and all for a decent price (+/- 37k €, VW wasn't greedy this time), making it an attractive proposition for anyone buying a car, plug-in or otherwise.

Add that to the end of the Opel Ampera (Those 15.000 buyers will eventually need to replace their aging plug-ins...), disappearing what it could be it's #1 PHEV rival, and several incentives to plug-in car buyers and you have a perfect storm for the success of the GTE, it might even overcome the Outlander PHEV as the Best Seller in Europe.

Another interesting proposition is the Audi A3 e-Tron, basically the same package, but with a more premium flavor, the regular A3 was #10 in the 2014 European Best Selling Cars ranking, so anything below that position in the EV ranking would be a failure for the german car, especially considering that only cars on the regular Top 10 Euro ranking have a plug-included mass-produced version (Golf, A3 and Clio-based Zoe).


Trends in the G8 

In the Top Markets volumes, there were a few surprises, some good (UK, Norway, Netherlands and China continue beat the best expectations), others not so good (The US and Japan demand is softening).

In the models rankings the BMW i3 won its first podium seat in the US, the aforementioned the Golf GTE surprised in several markets, just like the e-Golf in Norway, a market where the Outlander PHEV scored a Third Spot, a first for a plug-in hybrid, in Germany the Kia Soul EV got a surprising #4 (And best-selling foreign car, step by step the korean car is making its way to the top).

In China the cat-with-nine-lives Chery QQ EV started the year in Second, only behind the untouchable BYD Qin.

Chery eQ, basically the QQ EV with a decent battery (200 kms range)

Other Markets 
Looking at other markets, there are some record numbers to report, Ireland scored 138 in the first month of the year (The record 256 units sold in the whole year of 2014 should be blown to pieces this year), while Belgium registered 311 plug-ins, almost three times more than it did twelve months ago...

Regarding EV Share, some markets gave great indications for the rest of the year, with Switzerland joining the 1% Club (1,49% vs 0,75% last year), Ireland jumping from 0,27% to 0,46%, and Hong Kong tripling the EV Share to 1,22%, making it the eighth market to reach 1% barrier, will we see this club reach 10 members by the end of the year? 

Probably, the UK (0,97%) and Belgium (0,78%) will probably be the next in line, but there are other candidates too (Japan, USA, France, Austria, Denmark...).

Sales by Continental Areas 

Looking at sales by Continents, if Europe is well documented here, with the Outlander PHEV and the Golf Twins ahead, the other two continental areas with significant EV Volumes have been largely undocumented as whole markets, so here's an insight on them:


1Nissan Leaf1.202
2Tesla Model S1.100
3BMW i3704
4Chevrolet Volt648
5Ford Fusion Energi436

Basically it's the US ranking with Canada added, the top 5 positions remain the same, with Tesla benefiting from a great month in the Northern Neighbor to reach closer to the Leaf, while the Volt also sees a small uptick in sales, thanks to the Canadian appetite for the GM car.

Asia - Pacific

Jan. '15
Nissan Leaf
3Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV915
4Chery QQ EV552
5BYD e6423

Zotye E20
Toyota Prius Plug-In
Chery eQ
Roewe 550 PHEV
Tesla Model S


Here things become more intriguing, with the Top Two markets (China and Japan) taking the shots and with only two models present in both (Tesla Model S and Nissan Leaf / Venucia Morning Wind), this is a mix between both markets, the big news is that unlike what many might think, the Best Selling Plug-in here is not the Nissan Leaf, but a chinese car: The BYD Qin numbers in China are so high, that they are enough to outsell the whole APAC sales of the Leaf!

Also of notice is the fact that the best-selling non-asian car here is Tesla's Model S, only #10 in the ranking.


  1. Leaf: Americas Jan. > World Jan.?
    Best C. (delete this Comment)