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German plug-in electric cars resume growth, with Tesla Model Y leading the way

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In Europe’s largest car market, Germany, plug-in electric vehicles took 28.5% of the market in August 2022, their best year-to-date performance, although slightly up from 27.6% in August 2021. Total vehicle production was 199,183 units, up slightly from the same period last year, but down roughly 37% from the 2018-2019 seasonal average of 315,000 units. The Tesla Model Y was the best-selling plug-in of the month, thanks in large part to local production.

August’s combined plug-in share of 28.5% consisted of 16.1% battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and 12.4% plug-in hybrids (PHEVs). This compares with shares of 14.9% and 12.7%, respectively, y/y.

U sales volume in terms of BEVs grew by 10.9% y/y to 32,006 units, and PHEVs by only 1% to 24,719 units.

Much of the modest increase in plug-in share came from a drop in plug-in hybrids (HEVs), which fell from 18.7% to 17.6% y/y. Combustion-only powertrains were virtually unchanged year-over-year, losing just 0.1% of total share to 53.1%.

The best-selling BEV in Germany

Tesla’s Grunheide factory reportedly produces 1,200 to 1,500 Model Y vehicles per week (ie at least 5,000 per month). as of mid-August, the volume of deliveries to Germany (and the rest of Europe) is now starting to increase significantly. That helped the Model Y register a record 4,216 units in August (well above the previous monthly record of 2,529 units).

The volume of the Model Y is 2.6 times that of the 2nd and 3rd place BEVs, the VW ID.4/5 and the Fiat 500e.

Will this number of Model Y registrations become the norm in Germany from now on? It seems likely, though, that Grünheide products will also supply other European LHD markets, currently the most significant; France, Norway and Sweden.

Each of these countries has already indicated that they can consume at least 1,000 Model Ys per month (and the upper limit has yet to be verified). Tesla also has the ability to tweak pricing/offer options a bit to stimulate even more demand if necessary.

Next in the top 20 ranking, the Seat Cupra Born continued to shine with a record volume of 1,257 units and rose to 8th place. Dacia Spring showed the highest volumes since December, rising to 5th place (1,447 units).

As for new faces, well outside the top 20 but worth keeping an eye on, the new Volkswagen ID.Buzz continues to grow slowly, still at a low level, to 144 units in August (from 34 in July). The MG5 delivered 398 units in August (from the previous record of 99) and rose to 28th place.

Let’s step back for a broader overview of the past 3 months:With a high result in August, the Tesla Model Y leads the ranking for the last 3 months, ahead of the Fiat 500e and the Volkswagen ID.4/5. That’s a good recovery after Tesla, which then faced a temporary supply problem in Shanghai, ranked just 11th between March and May.

Other notable climbers from three months ago:

Other BEV models have lost ratings in the last 3 months:

Many of these declines in positions are due to temporary decisions to allocate limited production rather than a significant drop in demand.

Finally, let’s take a look at the car manufacturing rankings for the past three months:

The Volkswagen Group is still firmly in the lead from Stellantis, which is still in 2nd place. Both increased volume by about 30% from March to May.

Rising from 6th to 3rd, Renault-Nissan Group increased volumes by a more modest 14%. Tesla moved up one position from 5th to 4th, albeit with volume growth of only 4%.

Losers were Hyundai Motor Group (3rd to 5th), losing 10% of volume, and Mercedes Group (4th to 7th), losing a significant 43% of volume. BMW took advantage, moving up from 7th to 6th, despite having 3.4% lower volume than 3 months ago.

With Grünheid’s rise, Tesla has a chance to take the No. 3 spot, possibly by the end of this year. But don’t count on it – the continued growth of the Renault Megane and, soon, the Nissan Ariya, may make it difficult.

Tesla won’t be fighting for the top two anytime soon (given their lead and the fact that both are also growing strongly), but – overall – it continues to put pressure on legacy car groups to keep growing.

Prospects

At the crossroads of Germany’s (and Europe’s) industrial economy, Germany’s auto industry faces major headwinds.

As an instructive example, the European association of metal producers Eurometaux has just sent an open letter to the EU’s political leadership, calling for emergency action on the energy crisis – “to prevent permanent deindustrialization due to rising electricity and gas prices»

Here are some excerpts from the letter:

“50% of EU aluminum and zinc capacity has already been shut down due to the energy crisis and significant cuts [in other metals]…

Over the past month, several companies have been forced to announce indefinite closures, and many more are on the brink ahead of a life-or-death winter for many operations. Producers are facing electricity and gas costs more than ten times higher than last year, far exceeding the selling price of their products. We know from experience that once a plant closes, this very often becomes a permanent situation, as reopening involves significant uncertainty and costs.

of Europe clean energy goals a competitive and growing metals sector is needed to ensure secure supplies of the additional raw materials needed to move away from fossil fuels. precious metals, battery metalsand other metals are needed in large volumes for Europe’s network infrastructure, electric cars, solar panels, wind turbinesand hydrogen electrolyzers, as well as a complex network of other important value chains in the European economy.

The association calls on the EU to adopt a set of emergency measures, as well as “Avoid the introduction of new policy measures that may increase the industry’s production costs. Legal uncertainty and policy predictability are vital to the business environment for Europe’s economic development and avoidable cost growth needs to be reviewed in the light of expected inflation and recession.’

This is just one industrial area vital to the European automotive industry and other heavy industries – glass, chemicals (including paints) and many others. Clearly, the auto industry depends on the health of all these upstream supplier industries (as well as its own access to competitive energy prices). The auto industry also needs consumers who have a stable economic outlook and are able to spend on new cars.

Right now, there seems to be a lag in suppliers getting their messages to automakers. The latest IFO survey finds that “the overall deterioration in economic sentiment is also reflected in the auto sector, where suppliers are far more pessimistic than manufacturers…”

Meanwhile, there is a growing gap between the foreign policy priorities of some European politicians, such as Boris Johnson, and the policy that a large part of the European public wants to see.

Results for the end of August regular survey of public opinion “RTL/NTV Trend Barometer”. in Germany, conducted by one of the country’s oldest and largest media groups, finds that:

“[A] The vast majority, 87% of Germans – in all electoral groups – think it is right that the heads of Western governments are talking to Putin. Only 11% believe that it is wrong.

The vast majority (77%) also believe that the West should make concrete efforts at this stage to start negotiations to end the war. 17% believe that the West should not do this at the moment.” (machine translation, see the original)

Meanwhile, on August 24, the recent Prime Minister of Great Britain Boris Johnson came to Kyiv and continued to advise Ukrainian politicians“this is not the time to advance some shaky negotiating plan.”

Johnson gave the same advice – no negotiation – since Aprilwhich resulted in all subsequent actions being terminated March peace talks in IstanbulKyiv.

This policy position, which was also taken by Johnston’s successor Truss, as well as many other European leaders, is clearly the opposite of what the vast majority of Germans want (demonstrated in the above poll), contradicting democratic principles.

However, the good news for European democracy is that, despite the position of the politicians of the small island state off the coast of Europe, both German Chancellor Scholz and French President Macron continues the dialogue with Moscow, despite opposition from the likes of Johnson.

Whether these communication efforts will lead to some kind of cooling of the conflict and changes in sanctions policy that could alleviate Europe’s current energy problems remains to be seen, but I think it is unlikely, at least for now.

We will have to see what sources of energy for households and industry EU policymakers can create to sustain Germany’s industrial sectors through the winter and prevent further inflation and recession.

The outlook for the German auto industry, both on the supply side and on the consumer sentiment side, is clearly surrounded by a great deal of uncertainty at the moment. What do you think of their prospects? Please go to the comments below to share your perspective.


 

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