Global BEV market booming – German OEMs limping behind

Global BEV market booming – German OEMs limping behind

Market news |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

With an increase of 63%, the market for battery electric vehicles is currently switching into overdrive. The German car manufacturers, however, are not quite ready yet.

A recent study by the Center of Automotive Management (CAM) shows that the breakthrough of the battery-electric drive model is no longer a pipe dream. On the contrary, these vehicles are now almost mainstream. Supply bottlenecks for semiconductor chips could not slow down the buying enthusiasm even in 2022. Around 7 million fully electric cars were sold worldwide last year – 63% more than the year before. The largest BEV market is and remains China, where a good 5 million BEVs alone found a buyer. For the current year, the growth will decrease somewhat in percentage terms, but the experts of the independent mobility research institute CAM expect sales to increase again to 10 million units.

Global BEV sales of selected BEV manufacturers 2021/22. Source: CAM

Not surprisingly, Tesla is in first place in the sales statistics. The US carmaker sold 40% more vehicles than a year earlier, a total of 1.3 million units. The closest pursuer is already quite a way behind; it is the Chinese supplier BYD with 911,000 cars. However, BYD, with its breathtaking growth of 184%, could soon overtake Tesla. Third place also went to a Chinese manufacturer – SAIC sold 750,000 vehicles, an increase of 23%. All German manufacturers together sold just 921,000 units.

The situation of the German car manufacturers is described by the study (title: “Global Sales Trends in Electric Mobility”) as “highly strained”. Volkswagen, BMW and Mercedes-Benz are all increasing their deliveries, but they are nowhere near keeping up with the pace of the leading group. Especially in China, the market success of domestic players puts additional pressure on the sales balance of German OEMs.

At BYD, according to CAM analysis, the high level of integration in the value chain and the focus on pure electric cars and plug-in hybrids have contributed significantly to the increase in BEV sales.

VW, BMW, Mercedes need to speed up innovation

German carmakers achieved only below-average sales growth in 2022 – with 921,000 units sold all told, they achieved “only” 52% growth; globally, this comparable figure was 63%. The Volkswagen Group surpassed the 0.5 million deliveries mark within a year for the first time, but only improves by 26%. BMW (+145%) and Mercedes-Benz (+108%), on the other hand, more than doubled their BEV sales. In a direct comparison, however, the Munich company clearly holds its own with 216,000 units sold compared to Mercedes with 133,000 BEVs. In a global comparison of manufacturers, the German OEMs still fall behind. Compared to Tesla and Chinese manufacturers, the Germans are struggling more with supply bottlenecks and the basic market ramp-up.

“The market ramp-up of electromobility is intensifying in all global core regions and is largely driven by Tesla and Chinese carmakers,” comments study director Stefan Bratzel. And he has some advice for the German OEMs: “VW, BMW and Mercedes-Benz must intensify their efforts. In addition to the faster expansion of the product portfolio, this includes stabilising the supply chains and reducing dependencies in central value-added components. At the same time, the German manufacturers must strengthen their innovative power around the ecosystem of electromobility in order to remain successful in the long term.”

Related articles:

Electromobility in search for the accelerator pedal

Connected Car: BMW’s innovation strength nosedives

Innovation in e-mobility: Two winners and some surprising laggards

Tesla remains king of the hill in electromobility innovation


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