02 October, 2017

Germany sees EV growth following scrappage schemes as UK hopes for market boost

A scrappage scheme in Germany is proving popular with manufacturers announcing increased interest in Euro 6 models and even electric vehicles, as the UK hopes for more of the same with September sales figures due.

Since the German diesel forum in August resulted in the recall of 5.3 million vehicles to have their emissions profiles altered and drivers of older vehicles being offered incentives to trade, interest in EVs within the country, which was once considered to be slow on the uptake of the technology, has been rapidly increasing.

Volkswagen (VW), considered by many as the instigator of the ‘downfall of diesel’, is seeing increased interest. Speaking to Automobile Week, car sales manager Jürgen Stackmann comments: ‘By the end of September, VW dealers will have accepted 20,000 orders from Euro 6 vehicles through the environmental bonus. The E-Golf is particularly in demand with over 800 orders received, four times as many as in a comparable period without the scheme.’

VW is also celebrating news that around 90% of its vehicles that required software conversion in Europe following the diesel scandal have been processed through the company’s dealership network. However, the German manufacturer has recently had to add to its financial compensation package in the US, while arguments with its dealer partner program over the company’s handling of the cheating probe continues.

The uptake of electric vehicles in Germany, a country synonymous with diesel, is encouraging for other markets in Europe which are trying to convert drivers to the technology. In August, the first month of scrappage incentives, EVs recorded growth of 143.2% year-on-year, and have increased their sales by 135% in the first eight months of 2017, compared to the same period last year. In addition, 6,927 vehicles with a hybrid powertrain were sold in the month, up 76.4%. Of these, 2,617 were plug-in hybrids, a growth of 213% over August 2016. Diesel sales fell 13.8% and took a market share of just 37.7%. All of this led to a 3.5% year-on-year increase in sales.

There is, therefore, optimism that the next set of SMMT registration figures released in the UK may show growth, following August results that highlighted a fifth successive month of decline in new car sales. A number of manufacturers began scrappage incentives at the start of September to entice consumers back to the showrooms, with varying degrees of financial deals to help purchase smaller and larger vehicles.

Companies offering deals in the country include Audi, BMW, Dacia, Fiat Chrysler (FCA) brands, Ford, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Mercedes, Mitsubishi, Nissan, PSA Group brands (including Vauxhall), Renault, Skoda, Suzuki, Toyota and Volkswagen.

EV and hybrid sales are showing rapid uptake in the UK. In August 2017, the first full month after the UK Government announced a ban on the sale of petrol and diesel only vehicles by 2040, pure electric vehicle sales were up 62.5% over the same month last year, while year-to-date figures show growth of 51%. Hybrid vehicles rose by 74.9% year-on-year and 44.3% year-to-date, despite the overall market falling 6.4% compared to August 2017, and dropping 2.4% over the first eight months of the year.