The Netherlands — Fossil Cars Down 20%, Electrics Up 75%

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fossil cars

Numbers for August passenger vehicle sales in the Netherlands were just published. The detailed numbers are not yet available, only the totals. Officially, sales are down by 16% year over year (YoY). But when we split the numbers by energy type, the picture is different. There were only 31,430 fossil cars sold, compared to 39,430 last year. That is a drop of 20%.

The fully electric vehicle (BEV) market is far healthier, with a whopping ~2,800 sales in August 2019, compared to 1,579 a year earlier. That is an increase of >75%.

All of the journalists and the car industry are reporting the numbers as a single market. But I think we have to look at it as two competing markets. The BEV market is cannibalizing the fossil fuel vehicle (FFV) market. The drop in FFV sales numbers is much larger than the increase in BEV sales numbers, which is explained by the lack of BEV models and the prices still being a bit too high for those that are available. The numbers are made worse by long delivery times for most BEV models. Some BEV models have expected delivery over a year from now, or simply stopped accepting orders for the time being.

Normally, when a refreshed model is announced, or even on its way to dealers, the old model enters “sunset mode,” a period of declining sales. This should be the case for the Nissan Leaf with 40 kWh battery (a new Leaf with a 60 kWh battery is just now coming out of the factory), the Renault Zoe (a larger battery launch is coming next month), and the VW e-Golf (to be replaced by the ID.3). However, all three models have rising sales, going against all marketing wisdom and sales laws. This is not a market in decline — this is an overheated market.