Green Technology

24% of New Cars In France Now Plugin Cars, Dacia Spring #1

Plugin vehicles continue to rise in France, with last month’s plugin vehicle registrations ending at 31,275 units, divided between 17,218 BEVs (or 13% share of the overall auto market) and 14,057 PHEVs (11% share of the auto market). The former jumped 46% year over year (YoY), while the latter were up by 30%.

The 20 Best Selling Electric Vehicles in France — July 2023

With the overall market in recovery mode, up 20% YoY, plugins are growing faster than the overall market and reached 24% share of the market (15% BEV) year to date (YTD).

In July, pure electrics once again outsold PHEVs — 55% share of the plugin market vs. 45% — keeping BEVs at 63% BEV vs. 37% PHEV. Expect BEVs to gain ground compared to PHEVs throughout the year.

Last month’s best seller this time was the Dacia Spring, with 2,127 registrations. The car profited from an off-peak month for the Tesla Model Y, which nevertheless got a great 1,631 deliveries. The Fiat 500e closed out the podium, with 1,251 registrations.

But the surprise of the month was the Peugeot 308. Despite not benefitting from volume numbers from the BEV version (38 registrations), which is still in trickle mode, it had a great month due to the PHEV version (1,090 deliveries, just 6 units below its record). Altogether, that allowed the 308 to jump into 5th position, just behind its e-208 EV smaller brother in 4th (1,185 registrations). More importantly, it was just ahead of the Dragon-Slayer MG4 (6th, 1,083 registrations) and the arch-rival Renault Megane EV (7th, with 998 registrations). Even adding the PHEV units to the Renault Megane nameplate (from the previous BFB generation), we would get 1,021 registrations — still less than what the Peugeot and MG hatchbacks had.

This win for the French hatchback in the compact (C-segment) category, especially in the context that the BEV version is still to be deployed in significant numbers, means a lot to Stellantis, because it means that it can not only beat Renault in that category, but more importantly, it can beat the Chinese competition. If only Peugeot could pull a competitive price for the 308 BEV…. Oh, and make them in large volumes. Soon….

The #9 VW Tiguan PHEV reached 767 registrations, confirming the recent popularity of the German SUV in France. Or is it a case that they finally got enough parts to clear the backlog? Hmm….

In the second half of the table, we can witness the spicy #11 Cupra Formentor PHEV crossover reaching 641 units. Still on the crossover/SUV theme, the #13 DS 7 PHEV had 576 deliveries, confirming the SUV as the bread & butter model of the French premium brand.

These positive results from PHEV models come despite plugin hybrids having lost the purchase incentive at the end of 2022. So, this demand is not incentive-derived. However, there’s still the French Malus system, where the most emission-polluting vehicles are heavily taxed, so people are still incentivized to purchase a PHEV (they still benefit from the fact that they pay less in taxes than they would for a pure-ICE vehicle — and no one likes to pay taxes…).

Just below the top 20, Peugeot had the attractive 408 PHEV fastback-crossover reach 323 registrations, while the Range Rover Sport PHEV pulled its (massive) weight to reach 324 units in July. With a big (like everything in this SUV…) 38 kWh battery, JLR’s land yacht might try for a top 20 position soon, which would be much needed good news for the Indian-owned British make.

At Volkswagen Group, both the ID.3 (300 units) and ID.4 (310 units) were close to the top 20, but on the other hand, both BEV best sellers from VW counted together sold less than the Tiguan PHEV, which in turn ended at a significant distance from the category best sellers. The German brand has a lot of work to do in France….

The 20 Best Selling Electric Vehicles in France — January–July 2023

Looking at the 2023 ranking, the leader, the Tesla Model Y, had enough advantage over the runner-up Dacia Spring to keep the leadership position. And with the crossover likely beating the Romanian EV in the next couple of months, the Model Y continues to be the probable 2023 Best Seller, which would be a first for the crossover but the second trophy for Tesla (having previously won the title in 2021 with the Model 3).

Still on the topic of the podium positions, the #3 Fiat 500e gained some more ground over the Peugeot e-208 EV, thus keeping its bronze position. Tellingly, if the podium ends the year as it is, it would be the first time that there would be no domestic EV on France’s podium….

The Peugeot 308 was up to 9th, at the expense of the sibling Peugeot 3008 PHEV. The Renault Zoe is experiencing an annus horribilis in 2023, having dropped again, this time to #12 — AND it didn’t make it into July’s top 20! Let’s not forget that the Zoe is an 8-time winner of the best seller trophy in France! Oh, how the mighty have fallen….

In the second half of the table, there were several position changes. The Mini Cooper EV climbed to #14, the VW Tiguan PHEV flew five positions to #15, and the Kia Niro jumped three spots to #16.

Auto Brands Selling the Most Electric Vehicles in France

Looking at the brand ranking, Tesla managed to stay at the top of the podium, with 12.2%, keeping Peugeot (also 12.2%) in second. As a reminder, this is an historical event — no other foreign brand has ever been ahead of the local heroes in France!

In the last place on the podium, Renault (8.3%, down 0.2%) is now distant from the title discussion, and it should keep an eye on its discount value-for-money brand, Dacia (7%), which now has the larger French brand in target range and could aim to displace it in the future!

As if we needed even more evidence of the disruptive times we live in, SAIC’s MG (5.7%) has gained some distance over #6 Fiat (5.5%, down from 5.7%) and kept the 5th position, and considering the current strength of MG’s lineup (based especially on the red hot MG4), we might see it challenge Dacia’s 4th spot in a few months. MG only needs to scale up production to meet the overwhelming demand for its sharp hatchback.

Auto Groups Selling the Most Electric Vehicles in France

As for OEMs, Stellantis is the major force in this market, but it lost some market share in July, dropping from 29% in June to its current 28.6% in July.

As for the Renault–Nissan–Mitsubishi Alliance (16%, down from 16.2%), the share loss continues, with bleeding sales in every brand except low-cost Dacia. With the Renault 5 still a year away and little else to save sales until then, hard times await the Alliance….

Tesla is 3rd, with 12.2%, and is waiting to see what happens to The Alliance to know if it can win the silver medal this year.

Off the podium, we have Volkswagen Group in 4th, with 10.5%, up from 10.4% in June. It is benefitting from the namesake brand’s resurgence — especially thanks to the recent registrations surge of the VW Tiguan PHEV. That has allowed Volkswagen Group to keep some distance over the #5 BMW Group stable (7.1%) and #6 Hyundai–Kia (6.8%).


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