In the context of a recovering overall market (+7% YoY), BEVs surged +62% YoY in January, to 5,010 registrations. That means BEVs started the year with 15% market share — their best January ever. Meanwhile, PHEVs were down by 4%, to 3,890 registrations or 12% market share.
January is usually one of the best months for PHEVs, so it is a worrying sign that sales were down, but on the other hand, BEVs are gaining share within plugin sales compared to the same period in previous years. They had 56% of plugin registrations last month, against 43% of plugin sales 12 months ago, and against 29% in January 2021. So, expect pure electrics to distance themselves from PHEVs throughout the year and expect them to end the year with some 80% of plugin sales.
The overall plugin share started the year at 27% (15% BEV), a moderate increase over January 2022 (23%), and at some distance from the final 2022 share — 35% in the whole year.
Still, I am optimistic about the prospects for this year, with production constraints easing and waiting lists probably drying up in the second half of the year. Add in the introduction of some competitively priced Chinese EVs, like the BYD Dolphin, and the major players will be forced to play ball and drop prices, pulling production and demand into a higher gear. So, expect a strong end of the year, which will surely pull EV market share upwards.
Will we see the Dutch plugin market cross the 40% or 50% threshold by the end of the year? Regardless of what it reaches, the important thing is that the market continues to be electrified.
In one of the strongest PHEV months of the year, the top 20 had a few representatives from that technology. Although, even here, one can see an evolution towards BEVs. While last month there were 13 pure EVs in the top 10, in the same month of 2022, there were 10, and in January 2021, BEVs only had 5 representatives. So … in January 2024, will we see only one or two PHEVs in the top 20?
And one of them will surely be the Chinese Lynk & Co 01 PHEV compact crossover. The 2022 Best Selling Plugin model in the Netherlands started the year as it ended the last one, beating the competition by a significant margin and winning the January trophy. It also ended up 4th in the overall market. And it was responsible for 20% of all PHEV registrations in January.
The Lynk & Co model is a true case study for Chinese OEMs in how to succeed in Europe, despite being present in only a limited number of markets, having only one model, and using a type of powertrain that is not growing anymore in Europe, its competitive pricing/mobility policy, clever marketing, and the critical technical support from Volvo’s dealership network all connect together to make this one of the main success stories of Chinese OEMs in Europe.
It is said that Geely will launch a new generation of its “hip(ster) brand” model in 2024, and that it will be purely electric, so expect this success story to continue in the future.
In fact, Geely is probably the biggest threat to the major players in Europe. Volvo is well established as the “Audi” of the group, Polestar and Lotus are on their way to becoming the “Porsche” and “Lamborghini” fighters from the OEM, and Lynk & Co is a sort of “Cupra” brand. There are only two spaces left in Geely’s portfolio to be filled — who will be its “Volkswagen” and “Skoda?”
The first role seems to be for the upcoming Zeekr brand. If the 001 seems a bit too high-profile to be a VW-fighter, the upcoming compact crossover is bang on the middle of the VW lineup — between the ID.3 and ID.4. The remaining question is: “Who will be the Skoda of the group? Who will place value-for-money as their main asset? Will they start exporting the Geely brand to Europe? Or will they go shopping and buy something local? Discuss!
Regarding January sales, the Chinese model was followed by its Swedish cousin and platform-sharing model, the Volvo XC40, which won silver. The BEV version was responsible for the bulk of sales (421 units).
The Tesla Model Y took bronze, proving once again the formula “<price = >sales.”
Interestingly, while last year’s winner was #1 in January and the 2022 bronze medalist was also 3rd last month, last year’s runner-up, the Skoda Enyaq, was 14th.
In fact, and highlighting Volkswagen Group’s slow start to the year, the best selling Volkswagen Group model was the #12 Porsche Taycan(!) — and the German conglomerate placed just three models in the table. With a record 177 registrations, the Taycan was also the best selling full size model in Dutch lands. That says a lot about the slow start of Volkswagen Group’s star models, but also about the peak form that Porsche is in. The German sports brand has placed not one but two models in the top 20. The Cayenne PHEV reached #15, with 142 registrations, meaning that Porsche placed two models in the best sellers table!
Elsewhere, a reference goes out to the compact Renault Megane EV, reaching 6th place, right above another model that is in ramp-up mode, the BMW i4. Highlighting the Renault–Nissan Alliance’s good month, the Dacia Spring rose to #10, with the China-made EV playing an important supporting role to the Alliance team’s star player, the Renault Megane EV.
Outside the top 20, a mention goes out to the BMW iX1, with the compact crossover registering 53 units in only its second month on the market. Expect it to join its i4 and iX3 siblings in the table soon, thus completing BMW’s Bavarian wonder trio. Finally, a note is due for the Mercedes EQS, which had a record month, getting 57 registrations.
In the manufacturer ranking, 2022 winner Volvo started the year in the lead (11% share). It was followed again by last year’s runner-up, BMW (10.5%), while Lynk & Co (8.9%) rose onto the podium. Behind, we find Mercedes (7.4%) and Tesla (6.6%), with the US brand closely followed by Peugeot (6.5%), and then Renault (5.9%) a bit further behind.
As for OEMs, last year’s winner, Volkswagen Group (14.2%), started the year in 2nd, because Geely–Volvo (20.4%) profited from the German group’s slow start of the year to jump into the leadership spot. The question now is: “Will Volkswagen Group be able to recover the throne?”
BMW Group (12.3%) managed to start the year ahead of Stellantis (12.2%), thus kicking the 2022 bronze medalist off of the podium. The Renault–Nissan Alliance (10%) also profited from a positive January to remove Hyundai–Kia from the top 5.
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