14% Of New Cars Now Fully Electric In France

Ethel Walsh

BEVs continue to rise in France, with last month’s registrations ending at 16,866 units, or 14% of the total market. That means it was another two-digit growth month for battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in France (12% growth).

The overall market has been recovering, after a long time in the red. It was up 5% year over year (YoY) in October. But it is still down a significant 34% compared to October 2019 (the market’s last “normal” year). So, one can say with certainty that we are in the demand valley that many were predicting when forecasting EV disruption.

e-208 Peugeot

Peugeot e-208. Photo by Cynthia Shahan, CleanTechnica.

Full electrics (BEVs) were one of the highlights of the market, with two-digit growth and 14% of the market in September, while diesels were in the dog house, dropping 26% YoY and being outsold for the second time in a row by BEVs. Diesel’s market share dropped from 19% a year ago to its current 14%. At this pace, diesel sales will be dead around 2025….

Plugin hybrids (PHEVs) were also down, by 2%, to 11,108 units (8.9% share). October was their 8th consecutive month in the red, keeping the BEV/PHEV sales breakdown balanced towards BEVs (60% in 2022).

The year-to-date (YTD) registrations are now over 257,000 units, with the market share for plugin vehicles now at 21% (13% BEV). Expect the market to go up a couple more percentage points by the end of the year.

In October, the Peugeot e-208 EV (2,350 units) broke a three-month victory spell from the Renault Megane EV, allowing the little lion to return to the top spot.

The 2,109 units of the Megane EV were somewhat disappointing — until the arrival of the much anticipated Renault 5, the Megane is Renault’s main bet to recover its leadership position in its home market, and topping out at 2,000-something units/month might not be enough to secure the leadership position next year.

Speaking of compact French EVs, the new Peugeot 308 PHEV ended the month in #8, with a record 760 registrations. So, the slow ramp-up of the Megane arch-rival continues, but the real race will only start when the BEV version of the 308 lands, sometime next Spring. If the Megane EV ends up cruising next year at around 2,000 units/month, then the combined tally of the plugin versions (BEV+PHEV) of the compact Peugeot could end up higher than the Megane, especially considering that the 308 will have a trump card to show: the station wagon body, something the Renault lacks, which will be available in both BEV and PHEV versions….

Following the top two, we had another interesting race, with the Fiat 500e narrowly beating the Tesla Model 3. The US sedan scored 1,256 registrations, its best score ever in a first month of the quarter! Interestingly, its Model Y sibling also had its best first-month-of-the-quarter performance, ending the month in #15, with 534 registrations.

Does this mean that the two models will end up getting record scores in December? Or is this due to Tesla unwinding its delivery wave?

Well … there are good arguments to be had on both sides. On the one hand, these early results have more to do with allocation policies than a measurement of demand — because Tesla dispatched boats from Giga Shanghai in the final weeks of last quarter, the vehicles have reached Europe sooner than usual. It is only natural that these units ended up being registered sooner (the first month on the quarter) than later. Towards the end of the quarter, we could actually end up not seeing such a big delivery peak as we are used to. This could be especially true for the Tesla Model 3, because now that the Standard Range version of the Model Y is available in Europe (in France it is sold €3,500 cheaper than the corresponding version of the Model 3), we should expect Model 3 demand to drop significantly, to the benefit of its higher riding sibling.

BUT — with these units being delivered sooner, and Giga Shanghai now at a higher production rate than in previous quarters, this might mean that a smaller delivery peak won’t happen. It will all depend on the demand side, not only in France/Europe, but also in China. If Chinese demand ends up being not as strong as Tesla anticipates, then the natural step will be to export those units to Europe, among other places. In this scenario, we could be looking at record deliveries in France. This is assuming, of course, that there is demand in France for those units coming from China … something we still don’t know for sure. To be continued.

Elsewhere, Stellantis had a 1-2-3 win in the PHEV category, with the #5 Peugeot 3008 PHEV winning the category, followed by the #6 Citroen C5 Aircross PHEV and #8 Peugeot 308 PHEV. The Citroen SUV had its best score of the last 16 months, with 848 registrations, thanks to the recent facelift.

Still on the top 10, SAIC’s MG ZS EV ended the month in 9th, with a record 663 registrations, highlighting a great month for the Sino-British brand. Besides the compact crossover’s record, the larger Marvel R midsize SUV also scored a record 224 registrations in October, and the much hyped MG 4 compact hatchback, which was met with rave reviews by the European press, had its first full month on the market, scoring 263 registrations in October. Will we see this dragon slayer in the monthly top 20 before the end of the year?

In the second half of the table, the #12 Volkswagen ID.3 seems to be back on track, with 602 registrations last month, which could mean that the worst of the components crisis is over for the German make.

We find the Dacia Spring in an unusually low 14th position, with just 550 registrations, its worst result in over a year. This could be the result of a small hiccup in production, but it’s best to keep an eye on the next couple of monthly performances, just to be sure….

Outside the top 20, one should highlight the strong results of the Opel Corsa EV (303 registrations) and VW ID.4 (278 registrations). Further, the Spanish relative of the MEB family, the sporty Cupra Born, scored a record result of 198 deliveries.

Elsewhere, Volvo celebrated a record score from its XC40 EV, 270 registrations, its third record month in a row. This is proof that the Swedish automaker is rushing to adapt to a more BEV-based plugin market.

Looking at the 2022 ranking, the Peugeot e-208 kept its leadership position, and with just two months to go, the 2,889 unit advantage it has over the new #2 Fiat 500e should be enough to grant it the 2022 Best Seller title.

Below the stylish hatchback, things are less clear. While at first sight the Fiat 500e and Dacia Spring seem destined to race between themselves for the silver medal, the truth is that we have two models coming from behind that might create a surprise in the last days of the year.

The Tesla Model 3 is now 4th, having jumped two positions in October, and despite being over 2,000 units below a podium position, the midsize sedan could bank on a hypothetical delivery peak in December (see text above) and steal a podium position in the last stage of the race.

Something similar can be said about the #7 Renault Megane EV. Despite being over 2,000 units below the podium, the French EV should shorten the distance significantly in November, and again in December. With Renault being known for making regular end-of-quarter delivery peaks with some of its models, one cannot exclude the possibility that the Megane EV will score a record result in December and steal the thunder of whoever is on the podium by that time.

With the #8 Peugeot 3008 PHEV being the comfortable leader in the PHEV category, it looks like the French brand will take the best seller titles for both BEV and PHEV powertrains. in fact, one can say that Stellantis dominates with an iron fist the French market, not only it is responsible for roughly one third of all sales here, but it also has a 1-2 lead (Peugeot e-208 EV and Fiat 500e) on the BEV side, and a 1-2-3 lead (Peugeot 3008 PHEV, Peugeot 308 PHEV and Citroen C5 Aircross PHEV) in the plugin hybrid category.

Renault, and the Alliance it is part of, will have a lot of work ahead if it hopes to compete with Stellantis in 2023.

Still on the topic of the double chevron model, the Citroen SUV climbed one position in October to #13, at the expense of the Mercedes GLC PHEV, which is now in the process of a generational change. The two other PHEVs were also up — the Hyundai Tucson PHEV is now #16 and the DS 7 PHEV went up to #17.

But it wasn’t only good news for PHEVs in the last positions of the table, as the BMW X3 PHEV was kicked out of the top 20 by the MG ZS EV — now #20, with 3,170 registrations, making it the 14th BEV on the table. Though, there are still have 6 PHEVs in the top 20.

Looking at the brand ranking, the podium didn’t have any position changes. The highlight was the rise of the leader, Peugeot, up 0.2% to 15.1%. Following a meh month from Renault (14.7%, down from 14.9%), the two rivals now have a significant distance between themselves. Will Renault be able to regroup and compete for the brand title with Peugeot?

Due to the great performance of its two main models, #3 Tesla barely lost share, dropping slightly to 7% share. #4 Mercedes won 0.1% share, to 5.9%, thanks to its looong lineup. (It kind of reminds me of the German football/soccer national team — while they lack star players, they compensate with a very balanced lineup.)

In #5 we have a position change, with Fiat (5.4%, down 0.1%) re-joining the top 5 at the expense of Dacia (5.3%).

As for OEMs, Stellantis is the major force in this market. It now has 30.7% share, compared to 30.4% share the previous month. The #2 Renault–Nissan–Mitsubishi Alliance is its main rival but lost share in October, with the current 21.3% being down notably from 21.9% in September.

Hyundai–Kia is in 3rd, with 10.8%, followed by rising#4 Volkswagen Group (8.8%, up from 8.4%).

BMW Group (7.0%) is 5th, but it has Tesla (7.0%) just one unit(!) behind, so we might see a position change next month.





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