German auto data for 2021 shows that Tesla is beating German automakers on their own turf when it comes to electric vehicles. That’s even without Gigafactory Berlin, which has yet to start production. Should they be scared?

The German auto market was down 10% in 2021 as supply chain issues and broader economical effects from the pandemic are still being felt. But the good news is that electric vehicles are up significantly in the market over the same period. All-electric and plug-in vehicles now represent 14% of the market and over 355,000 units.

Tagesschau put together a list of the top best-selling all-electric vehicles in the market, and Tesla topped the list:

  1. Tesla Model 3
  2. VW e-Up
  3. VW ID.3
  4. Renault Zoe
  5. Smart EQ ForTwo
  6. Hyundai Kona Electric
  7. Skoda Enyaq Electric
  8. VW ID.4
  9. Fiat 500e
  10. BMW i3

Every German automaker saw their sales go down in 2021, and some of them, like Mercedes-Benz, where down significantly:

FY2021 FY2020 % change
1 VW 489,962 525,612 -6.8
2 Mercedes 225,392 303,185 -25.7
3 BMW 222,481 240,968 -7.7
4 Audi 181,877 213,934 -15.0
5 Opel 161,852 146,219 10.7
6 Skoda 149,838 181,198 -17.3
7 Ford 126,358 194,250 -35.0
8 Seat 108,726 114,564 -5.1
9 Hyundai 106,620 105,051 1.5
10 Renault 105,944 125,318 -15.5

In the meantime, Tesla was up 137% in the German market in 2021 with 39,000 units delivered in the year.

The most impressive thing is that Tesla is achieving these results by still only importing vehicles in the market from the US and China. The automaker has built a giant new factory in Germany, and once production has ramped up at the plant, it is expected to greatly help sales in Europe, especially in Germany.

Should German automakers be scared?

Electrek’s Take

I’ve stated for years that I think some giants will fall in the automotive industry’s transition to electric vehicles. For now, I think the Germans are in a better position than the Japanese, but they should still be nervous.

The German auto market is big, and buyers certainly favor local brands. If the domestic automakers aren’t doing well locally – like Mercedes-Benz and Audi being down 25% and 15% respectively – it’s a real problem.

From what I am hearing, Tesla is expected to get a big boost in Germany once they can buy cars coming out of Gigafactory Berlin. Even though Tesla is an American company, there’s a lot of German engineering in its cars, especially since the company bought Grohmann Engineering and now with the vehicles being built in the country.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Tesla is in the top auto brands in Germany by the end of 2023, which would have inconceivable just a few years ago.

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Fred Lambert

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