First Semester 2021: Volkswagen, Tesla, and Smart were the best-selling electric car brands in Germany with the VW Up, Tesla Model 3, and VW ID.3 the top-selling car models.
During the first half of 2021, Volkswagen was by far the best-selling electric car brand in Germany followed by Tesla and Smart. The VW Up was Germany’s favorite electric car model followed by the Tesla Model 3 and the VW ID3. Helped by big government and manufacturer incentives, electric cars sales in Germany boomed with demand often exceeding supply. Further increases in electric car sales and market share gains are likely in the rest of 2021.
German Electric Car Market in 2021 (Half Year)
|Total Car Market||1,390,889||1,210,622||1,849,000|
|% Share Electric||10.7||3.7||1.7|
New battery-electric passenger vehicle registrations in Germany during the first half of 2021 increased by 236% to 148,718 cars compared to the 44,307 BEVs sold in Germany during the first semester of 2020. The increase from the first six months of 2019 was almost 400%. During the first half of 2021, the entire German new car market expanded by a more modest 15% to 1,390,889 passenger vehicles.
At the start of 2021, electric cars took a record market share of 10.7% of the total new passenger vehicle registrations in Germany. During the first six months of 2020, it was 3.7% and only 1.7% in 2019.
The electric car market in Germany was assisted by high government incentives for cleaner cars and manufacturers were keen to sell zero-emission vehicles to compensate for exceeding EU CO2 restrictions that resulted in heavy fines.
However, as in previous years, buyers found it hard to actually obtain battery-electric cars with long waiting periods and orders being canceled, as carmakers were unable to source components. These production problems were further increased due to the lack of computer chips that affected all manufacturers to some extent during the second quarter of 2021 with further production issued expected in the rest of 2021.
Best-Selling Electric Car Brands in Germany in 2021 (Half Year)
New electric passenger vehicle registrations in Germany during the first half of 2021 showed the following as the largest electric car brands according to the KBA:
Major Electric Car Brands in Germany in 2021 (First Half)
For the second consecutive year, Volkswagen was the largest electric car brand in Germany over the first six months of the year. Volkswagen is unlikely to relent this leading position any time soon as it took a 24% share of all electric vehicles sold in Germany thus far in 2021 — even higher than its often 20% share of the total new car market. Three of the top ten best-selling electric car models in Germany during the first half of 2021 are Volkswagens. Volkswagen is the best positioned of all German carmakers to take advantage in the short term of further growth in the electric car sector.
Tesla was a distant second followed by a resurging Smart. Smart changed to an electric-only brand in 2020 but was unable to actually provide the cars the market suddenly wanted. Sales of the aging Smart cars increased by 360%. Tesla sales more than doubled but the expected big push coming from Teslas produced in Brandenburg has been delayed until at least 2022.
Renault slipped from second to fourth while Hyundai maintained its relative rank position.
Opel improved from tenth to sixth — remarkably, Opel sold only 70 electric cars in Germany during the first half of 2019 but with easy access to Peugeot technology, made great progress in a short time span.
BMW maintained seventh place with sales more than doubled but the brand somewhat failing to take advantage of its early-mover experience. As with so many other marques, BMW is promising more electric car models to come soon.
Skoda gained from access to Volkswagen technology while Audi slipped from fourth to ninth despite increasing volume sales. Peugeot made huge strides to improve from 17th to tenth.
Nissan failed to take advantage of its early lead in battery-electric cars and slipped in Germany from 11th to 16th despite nearly doubling sales. Similarly, Porsche almost doubled sales but slipped from 12th to 17th, as the electric car market in Germany expanded faster than Porsche increased sales.
During the first half of 2019, nine carmakers sold at least a thousand electric cars each in Germany — in 2021, 18 brands sold over a thousand electric cars each with Volkswagen on its own selling more than the combined total in the first six months of 2019.
Best-Selling Electric Car Models in Germany in 2021 (Half Year)
The top 25 best-selling electric car models in Germany during the first half of 2021 according to the KBA were:
|Model||Sales 2021 (HY)||Sales 2020 (HY)|
|2||Tesla Model 3||13,719||4,367|
Top-Selling Electric Car Models in Germany in 2021 (First Half)
Somewhat embarrassingly, the Volkswagen Up was the best-selling electric car model in Germany during the first half of 2021. Volkswagen and the German car-buying public showed little love for the Up for years but suddenly due to government and company incentives, battery-electric Ups became great value. As a result, the “old” technology battery-electric Up outsold the much published new special electric platform Volkswagen cars that are significantly more expensive. The Up was not only the top-selling electric car model in Germany during the first half of 2021, but also the ninth best-selling model overall — in previous years it failed to make the top 30. Electric Up sales were five times higher than in 2020 and the model moved into first place from fifth.
The Tesla Model 3 was the second best-selling electric car model in Germany during the first six months of 2021. Model 3 cars continued to arrive in irregular intervals and that is likely to continue until Tesla production starts outside Berlin probably from early 2022.
The new VW ID3 was the third most popular electric car being comfortably outsold by the cheaper Up. The Hyundai Kona improved from seventh to fourth.
The Renault Zoe slipped from second to fifth. The Zoe started to look dated against the newer cars and although Renault announced enticing retro models, these are still several years from being market-ready. The equally aging Smart Fortwo increased two rank positions helped by low prices once government incentives are taken into account.
The Volkswagen ID4 was the seventh best-selling electric car in Germany thus far in 2021. The ID4 is expected to become the best-selling electric Volkswagen worldwide and is earning the brand more than the slightly cheaper ID3.
The Opel Corsa moved into ninth from 14th with strong sales. The Fiat 500 entered the listing at tenth.
The Nissan Leaf slipped from 11th to 21st despite more than doubling sales. Nissan has been surprisingly slow to add electric car models despite having years of experience with building and selling battery-electric vehicles worldwide.
The Porsche Taycan slipped from 10th to 22nd — sales doubled but the total electric vehicle market in Germany more than tripled during the first six months of 2021.