Tesla Sales Dive Close to 25% In Europe.
“Tesla’s sales fall reflected a lack of available product, rather than any change in demand for Tesla or electric cars generally”
Tesla’s sales in Western Europe are on the slide and the latest figures point to a near 25% fall, according to European newsletter Automotive Industry Data (AID).
AID said Tesla sales, mainly of the Model S, dropped 23.8% in the first seven months of 2016 to 6,430, from 8,443 in the same period of 2015.
Tesla doesn’t detail its sales in Europe, and the company responded to an email asking for reaction to AID’s report by pointing to an article on the elektrek web site. This was a response in June to an earlier report from AID, which it called misleading because it confused sales with deliveries or registrations. A Tesla spokesperson declined to elaborate.
AID said some of the fall in part was down to weak sales in oil-rich, socialist Norway, where sales of electric cars have been artificially boosted by various government subsidies and inducements, including free parking in cities and sole use of special lanes. AID said Tesla sales in Norway in the first seven months dived 54.6% to 1,314.
AID said the decline could be because buyers have postponed purchase of the Model S in favour of the Model X SUV, or perhaps until the arrival of the Model 3. Analysts said the problem was down to problems with supply, rather than a fall in demand.
AID editor Peter Schmidt said, worryingly for Tesla and electric car fanciers, the electric car sales downturn is happening right across Western Europe.
“The sudden ebbing in Norway’s Tesla registrations is echoed in most of the electric car markets regularly and exclusively monitored by AID’s trend-watchers every month,” Schmidt said.
Germany, Europe’s biggest car market, was still in positive territory though, with overall electric car sales up 4.7% in the first seven months at 867.
On July 1, Germany’s $1.4 billion electric car subsidy scheme started. Each electric car sale receives a rebate of $4,500, and plug-in hybrids qualify for $3,400. Only cars priced under $67,500 qualify. That effectively excludes current Tesla cars until the Model 3 comes along.
In June, electric car sales in Western Europe – mainly comprising the Tesla Model S, Renault Zoe, Nissan Leaf, Volkswagen e-Up and e-Golf, and BMW i3 – fell 11.1% to 8,195, AID said. This adds up to a market share of 0.61% compared with 0.7% in the same period of 2015. For the half year, sales were ahead by 8.3% to 45,343, but AID said in May and June sales had started falling.
Most European countries subsidize electric car sales. France offers $11,300 for a diesel at least 14 years old. Britain’s subsidies are closer to the German level.
Most European manufacturers are moving to offer battery-only or gasoline-electric hybrid cars. Mercedes has said it will unveil an electric car at the Paris Car Show later this month. Porsche, Friday, announced its plug-in hybrid Panamera will debut in Paris.
Dogged by problems
BMW sells the i3 battery electric city car which is also available with a gasoline-engine range extender, and the i8 plug-in hybrid sports car. The BMW i5 should appear by 2020, and by 2018, expect to see the electric Porsche Mission E, Audi Q6 e-tron Quattro SUV and Volkswagen Phaeton battery-only sedan.
Professor Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, director of the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) at the University of Duisburg-Essen, said he believed Tesla’s sales fall reflected a lack of available product, rather than any change in demand for Tesla or electric cars generally.
There have been reports that the Tesla Model X has been dogged by problems with the soft-ware which operates the rear gull-wing doors.