January plug-in sales
Positive news for the EV segment as usual. January proves sales just keep getting better and better.
January marks 28th month of consecutive year-over-year sales gains* for plug-in vehicles. This was yet another impressive run, albeit close. Though many models were down in sales, the month turned out to pull ahead of last year's figures. The new year will only bring more positive news, along with some new models to make it all a bit more interesting.
We expected the potential for a slight gain this January over last year's numbers, at some 13,000 plug-ins sold. Sadly, our estimates didn't quite pan out. However, January 2018 still exceeded 2017's numbers with an estimated total of ~12,049 plug-ins sold.
Plug-in sales for 2017 fell just shy of the 200,000 mark, though that's not to say that it wasn't an extremely impressive year as a whole. Hitting that number for 2018 will still happen well before the end of the year. However, there are a huge amount of variables involved in determining where we might be by the end of this year. Will we see 300,000?
One of the biggest variables is the Tesla Model 3. According to Tesla, the automaker could clear the "multiple hundreds of thousands" mark on its own, but that potential has yet to be proven. This month, Model 3 sales were up again and should continue to be, taking the total to an estimated 1,875 deliveries, which sets a new all-time record for January. We should be able to validate this estimate next week when Tesla discloses earnings.
The arrival of new models didn't show strong sales yet, but that should change moving forward. We expect stronger sales from the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Honda Clarity PHEV, Kia Niro PHEV, and Hyundai IONIQ PHEV in the near future.
The all-new second-generation 2018 Nissan LEAF got off to somewhat of a late start. Unfortunately, only 150 LEAFs were delivered this month. While February may still see low LEAF numbers, the ball should be rolling by March and stronger sales should commence.
Then, there's the case of GM's plug-ins. The Volt was down again, as expected. In terms of year-over-year sales, however, Chevrolet Bolt sales were up, but only marginally. Chevy sold 15 more Bolts than last January, mostly due to the model-year changeover. We shall see what the coming months bring for the Bolt.
All-in-all, not the best January by any means, but numbers are up and new models have surfaced. It should still be a very impressive year for the segment.
Questions entering January (with answers in parentheses as they come in)
- The Chevrolet Volt has struggled to maintain sales now that the 238-mile Bolt EV has arrived. It has seen deliveries drop year-over-year for nine months in a row. Will strong sales in January end the streak? (Nope.)
- On the other side of the coin, the Chevrolet Bolt EV is on a 10-month sales growth streak, will it continue into the new year? (Year-over-year gains are up, but just barely. As far as month-to-month gains, the Bolt didn't pull it off.)
- Will the Tesla Model 3 prove "huge" numbers yet, or will we have to wait another month or more? (Not huge, but definite progress. Tesla reports again in a few days, so we should be able to get a more solid handle on the situation.)
- Will Tesla Model S and Model X sales be impacted by the rise in Model 3 deliveries? (Yes. Model S and X sales are low this month while Model 3 sales are up. However, keep in mind that this is simply an observation based on a correlation. There are many other variables to consider (See Tesla recaps). Last January, Tesla's U.S. sales weren't much better for the S and X. Adding the 3 this year brings the estimated total to 3,375, which is more than double last year's total (1,650).
- Has the Nissan LEAF actually arrived, and, if so, in what kind of volume? (It has arrived in low volume. 150 LEAFs were moved in January)
- How will the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV fare in its second month (first full month) of sales? (300 deliveries, up from 99 in December 2017 )
- Will the Toyota Prius Prime continue to impress after its strong year-end push? (Yes. Toyota delivered 1,496 Primes for the month of January, up 5.1% from last January's figures)
- In the continuing battle of “new 2018 offerings that disappointingly aren’t stocked so well”, who will manage to sell more – the Hyundai Ioniq Electric, Volvo XC60 PHEV, Volvo S90 T8 PHEV or the new Mini Countryman Plug-In? (The Mini takes this one home with 127 sales)
- Will Honda manage to keep up with newfound demand for the Clarity PHEV and secure another significant sales boost, meaning it will find a new home in our recaps for next month? (Sorta. The Clarity PHEV passed 500 once again, but it was close . We may wait another month or two before securing it a spot in our recaps.)
- The above question can also be asked about the Honda Clarity BEV. Will it eclipse 500 again? (No. The BEV only had 203 deliveries.)
- We've removed the VW e-Golf from our recaps due to weak sales. Will deliveries continue to tank? (Yes. e-Golf sales are down another 46.4% at 178 for January.)
- Will BMW be able to continue its aggressive surge after its major butt-kicking in November and December? (BMW fared okay for January with over 1,000 plug-ins delivered, but nothing like the last few months.)
- How will the Kia Niro PHEV and Hyundai IONIQ PHEV fare in their initial (partial) month of U.S. sales? (Kia proved much better than Hyundai with 155 Niro PHEVs delivered to Hyundai's 22.)
Last update: February 5, 2018 at 5:55 PM
*Regarding "year of monthly sales" improvements: We know someone is going to look at the chart and say, “hey, only ~11,467 sales were made in May of 2016, when 11,540 were logged in 2015! What gives InsideEVs?” What gives is – through an odd scheduling quirk, only 24 selling days were reported in May 2016 (versus 26 in 2015)
Below Chart: An individual run-down of each vehicle's monthly result and some analysis behind the numbers. (Previous year's monthly results can be found on our fixed Scorecard page here)
2018 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers – *Estimated Tesla Sales Numbers – Reconciled on Quarterly Totals, ** Estimated (Based on State/Rebate Data and other reports), Credit to HybridCars.com for assistance on Hyundai/some BMW data. BEV models appear in BOLD font (BMW i3 sales are mixed with REx sales).
Individual Plug-In Model Sales Recap For Major Models:
(Limited to vehicles with ~500 sales/or potential for 500 sales in a given month)
Next Generation, 2017 Chevrolet Volt
The Chevrolet Volt entering January found itself continuing an unfortunate streak of nine consecutive months of year-over-year losses.
2017 fourth-quarter sales alone were down some 3,000 units from the previous year.
With January sales in, we can now make it ten in a row, as 713 were sold, some 55.7% lower than a year ago (1,611).
It has become more than obvious that the Volt's stablemate, the Chevy Bolt EV, is stealing the Volt's thunder. For as many months as the Volt has been down and dropping, the Bolt has been up and gaining. Keep in mind, this is definitely not a bad thing, it's just different ... and, in all honesty ... better. It means less gas burned!
Additionally, the Toyota Prius Prime is a substantial and successful contender, the Honda Clarity PHEV has arrived and is selling very well, and this month, the Kia Niro PHEV and Hyundai IONIQ PHEV join the club.
Chevrolet Bolt EV - looking to make its mark for yet another year
Chevrolet Bolt EV:
The Chevrolet Bolt EV was technically available nationwide in August, but few copies landed in those 30-odd new states during that month.
This began to change in September. More evenly spread inventory led to rapid Bolt EV sales growth, notching 2,632 sales during that month.
October brought 2,781 deliveries, but November took that number even higher, as 2,987 sales were made. For December, GM eclipsed the 3K threshold by moving 3,227 Chevrolet Bolts, finishing 2017 with a 10-month streak of sales gains.
January continues to impress, with 1,177 Bolts delivered. However, this is only a 1.3% gain over last January's 1,162.
2018 Nissan LEAF gets a new look, more range!
The Nissan LEAF entered January as the oldest offering on the U.S. market - going on 86 months now.
And as everyone knows by now, it has been replaced by the updated 2018 Nissan LEAF, which debuted in September (full details here).
Is the new LEAF better?
Yes, in every way, including ~43 more miles range (up to 150 miles from 107) for $700 less. Not enough? A ~225 mile, higher performance trim level arrives later in 2018 (as a 2019 MY car).
Unfortunately, Nissan USA is apparently not as capable as Nissan Japan, which managed to launch the new LEAF as planned in October (to some very impressive results), while the U.S. (and Europe) had to wait until January. This wouldn't be a problem if the wind-down of the first-gen 2017 model wasn't pre-planned to be defunct by October.
The resulting gap between the 'new' and 'old' left Nissan with almost no remaining inventory, which caused sales in October to drop to just 213 deliveries, ending an impressive eight-month run of four-digit results. In November, that number dropped further, to 175 sales. December, the best-selling month for EVs, saw only 102 LEAFs delivered. We're pretty sure Nissan is wishing it had done things differently, as the LEAF closed out 2017 down some 20% overall.
Fast forward to today, when the LEAF was supposed to have been rolling off of lots last month, and that's not quite how it worked out. Cars didn't begin arriving until recently in small numbers and they were pegged for reservation holders. Nissan told us it could be mid-February before another shipment of LEAFs become available at dealers for new buyers. Hopefully, by March, we'll be able to report healthy sales figures for the all-new LEAF.
In January, Nissan delivered 150 LEAFs, down 80.6% from last January's 772.
2017 Toyota Prius Prime
Toyota Prius Prime:
After setting a new high of 1,908 in May, it was expected that with deeper inventory the Prime would be headed much higher.
Unfortunately, that didn't happen, and a 'doubling' of stock (to around 2,000 units), only resulted in 1,899 sales in September. An additional 50% gain in inventory for October (up to ~3,000) actually resulted in a lower number - 1,626 sales.
For November, inventory levels stayed fairly strong, averaging slightly more than October, which translated into better sales, but still a relatively disappointing 1,834 deliveries, given the higher expectations for the year's end.
For December, the Prime saw a record sales month, with 2,420 sold. This put the 2017 total at 20,936, landing Toyota's plug-in the fourth place spot overall for the year as a whole.
Toyota delivered 1,496 Primes for the month of January, up 5.1% from last January's figures.
The Toyota Prius Prime not only features its own unique look, but 25 miles of all-electric range.
How has the Toyota found a selling range of ~2,000 units a month? The plug-in Toyota is priced right - from $27,950, which after the $4,500 federal credit gives the Prime a selling price of $23,450. This price-point comes in at over $1,000 cheaper than the base hybrid Prius, which should translate into long-term sales success if the EV can remain well stocked.
The BMW i3 entered the U.S. market with a bang in 2014, but it's too bad that the initial fireworks display of sales back then was the peak - we just didn't know it at the time.
For 2017, BMW i3 sales were a mixed bag.
Sales got off to a rough start, with just 182 moved in January, and 318 in February. The tune changed drastically in March (which given the i3's track record is not all that surprising) with 703 sales made, a 118% gain over March of 2016. However, for several months after March, sales hovered around 500-600 units, until October when almost 700 were yet again moved.
For November...trashbags, as the company recalled all of its i3 vehicles due to a safety issue (for people who chose to NOT wear their seat belts if you can believe that) and put a 'stop sale' on the model for a time. Just 283 i3 vehicles were sold during a month that is historically one of the best in terms of EV sales.
Quite frankly (and notwithstanding this recall), the i3 as it stands today is likely too expensive for plug-in vehicle buyers. So, if BMW wants to sell the EV in volumes like it did in the past, it's going to have to sharpen its pencil considerably.
In late August, BMW proved it still really didn't understand the issue behind lackluster sales or the i3 itself, by releasing a new, slightly sportier trim level - the i3s (full details here). The car gets some new styling details, some wider tires and some extra performance (+10 kW), but what the public really wants is a longer range option and a price cut (the new i3s is ~10% more expensive in most markets).
Now, 2018 models are being delivered, and it was also reported that a larger battery (long-range) model is set to arrive in late 2018.
December i3 sales accelerated from November's totals considerably. The German luxury automaker delivered more than double the previous month's total, at 672 to close out 2017 with 6,726 sold.
For January, BMW delivered 382 i3s. This is exactly the same number as last January.
2014 Tesla Model S
Tesla Model S:
Tesla does not give out exact monthly sales (apparently because the public can't handle the concept of regional allocations and delivery lead times). For this reason, we never know for sure what the monthly numbers total up to until Tesla's quarterly (or annual) updates add more clarity. However, we do our best to keep our finger on the pulse of what's happening.
To come to an estimated monthly number, we don't simply take the quarterly estimate given by Tesla and divide it by 3 and hope it all works out. This is surely not how it works in the real world. We simply report from the data we accumulate ourselves, including first-hand accounts available from the factory and from the community itself, and the number is what it is (see below).
Revisions/disclaimer to the accuracy of prior estimates: The 2016 Model S chart has been adjusted (via U.S. Q3 data leaked directly from Tesla) by 469 units in Q3, and 525 units in Q4. The 2015 chart was adjusted (one time) by 498 units to compensate for confirmed full-year numbers. The 2014 sales chart was adjusted (one time - again after the end of the full year of estimates) 611 units to compensate for full-year numbers. While past success is no guarantee of future results, InsideEVs is quite proud of its sales tracking for the Model S over the years.
That being said, we only estimate this number because Tesla does not, and to not put a number on Model S sales would be to paint an even more inaccurate overall picture of EV sales. Despite our fairly accurate track record, we're not analysts or portfolio managers and we don't own any positions in Tesla the company.
While Tesla continues to conform to a familiar quarterly pattern of prioritizing international production early in the quarter before transitioning to domestic output, there has been somewhat of a change/reshuffling of priorities we have seen this time around.
The name of that priority is Model 3.
As we mentioned in 2017, it appeared Tesla knew fairly early that volume production would not be close to guidance by the end of Q3, and quickly refocused in an attempt to make that a reality by the end of Q4 (investors need to be kept happy we suppose).
The end result is that production energies and skilled labor normally assigned to Tesla's original EVs are being diverted from the Model S and X to getting the Model 3 back on course.
This past month it appears that little Model S and X production has been completed as of yet and inventory is very low. Even orders for North America (for the S and X) seem to be down, which makes sense with the focus being on the Model 3. Much of the S and X production we do see started mid-month, so this doesn't impact January sales. It looks like most people that ordered and S or X in past mid-December are looking at March deliveries.
This could be due in part to the Model 3 as stated above (Tesla could be focused more on net sales than setting a specific S and X target), but international deliveries also play a role. All-in-all, we may see Model S and X sales flat or even lower over the course of 2018.
With all of this considered, it's becoming increasingly clear Tesla is picking and choosing how it will skillfully hit its delivery targets. This means that sales figures for the Model S for this December were down a touch from last year's number. For January, we estimate that Tesla delivered 800 Model S vehicles in the U.S. last month, compared to last January's 900.
Tesla Model X
Tesla Model X:
Like the Model S, Tesla does not report Model X sales, so we do our best to estimate monthly results for North America using all the data at our disposal (For more info on that, check out our disclaimer for the Model S)
Historical accuracy/Sales Update (Oct 11th):
Tesla's recently leaked U.S. sales data for Q3 2016 put U.S. deliveries at 5,428. Our own Q3 estimate was 5,800 for North America, which includes Canada (which ended Q3 with 389 registrations for the quarter), meaning 5,787 were actually sold. Though we don't attest to being experts, we were only off by 13 units in Q3.
Previously in Q2 2016, Tesla reported 4,625 Model X deliveries. Our estimated scorecard got within about ~55 units of the actual number (accounting for just a handful of international Model X deliveries). In Q1 we were within ~200 units.
Since we don't want to bore you by explaining the same thing twice, have a look at the Tesla Model S recap (above) and then come back here.
All done? Good ... welcome back.
Like the Model S, Model X production was sacrificed late in the quarter as Tesla attempted to prove itself more capable of building the Model 3. Tesla directed to some 10% less production of the Model S & X in Q4. Keep in mind, however, that all cars and regions are not created equal.
While the Tesla Model S has proven itself to be the more "in demand" offering of the two, the Model X is definitely the higher margin EV. Thus, as Tesla finds itself (unfortunately) not likely to be able to satisfy all demand for the year-end rush, it will be satisfying its demand for higher margin cars.
Nutshell: If you live in the U.S. and ordered a top-of-the-line Model X P100D in September and also a base Model S 75D, your Model X likely went into production early in November, and it's now sitting in your driveway, whereas that Model S (or base Model X) was still waiting for production, or just entered Tesla's production queue with a delivery ETA just before Christmas.
For this reason, and this reason only, we estimated the Model X outsold the Model S in November with some 1,875 deliveries.
For the month of December, it looked as though the situation was back to normal, aside from the addition of ramped up Model 3 production.
January seems to be back on track as well (despite the long-winded explanation above), although deliveries appear to be down a bit from last year's numbers (750). We estimate last month's Model X sales at 700.
This is the first Tesla Model 3 (#001), naturally, it arrived in black - lord of all colors. Want to buy it any other way? $1,000
premium fine for bad taste.
Tesla Model 3:
Just ~16 months after orders opened, and ~10 years since it was first announced (then known as the "Bluestar"), the first Model 3s were delivered on July 28, 2017! One can check out the full delivery ceremony and all the newly released specs (220-310 miles range, 0-60 mph in 5.1-5.6 seconds) on our full recap here.
As with Model S & X sales, Tesla is not planning to release monthly Model 3 sales in the U.S. at this point in time. Until then, we'll do our best to estimate monthly results for North America using all the data at our disposal (For more info on that, check out our Model S disclaimer).
Historical accuracy/Sales Update (Nov 1st): Q3 sales of the Model 3 was adjusted up 2 units.
Thankfully, in the early days (Q3 2017), pegging Model 3 sales in the U.S. was a pretty easy task, as the complete delivery volume for July took place live at the July 28th delivery event in Fremont, California. The first 30 cars were delivered to Tesla employees/stakeholders in the U.S., and one could almost count the individual cars as they left Tesla's Fremont factory in August.
For September, we had Tesla's quarterly disclosure that put deliveries at 222 cumulatively for the quarter, meaning about 117 were delivered. Truthfully, the monthly numbers were meaningless in Q3. Instead, all eyes were on production. While the company guided to some 1,630+ to be produced, just 260 were built.
Of course, much chatter arose as to why. Tesla generically blamed "production bottlenecks." The company, looking to re-assure, said at the time:
"We understand what needs to be fixed and we are confident of addressing the manufacturing bottleneck issues in the near-term."
From our perspective, Tesla realized fairly early in July that the September goals would not be met. Following the future 'S-Curve' goal into year's end was going to be problematic. It appears from that moment on, rather than working on"near-term" production and deliveries, Tesla has been working more proactively with the main goal of simply being able to show volume production by year's end - something originally targeted for the end of September.
While this thought process was never officially confirmed by the company, a quasi-confirmation came with the admission that Model S and X production would be off 10% in Q4 2017. Additionally, we are now seeing the effects of manpower being transferred into transitioning the Model 3 production from "burst" output (or start and stop if you will) to a more consistent, ordered structure.
While it's only speculation on our part (as it has been for the past three to four months while watching the happenings around the car), we felt Tesla was desperate to provide confirmation of a "decent" sustained production level for the Model 3 by end out the year ... and we were right.
To that end, progress to a certain degree was definitely made in November, as more cars than ever did actually find employee driveways (and orders also opened to the public mid-month ... well at least to the first batch of locals anyway). Though Tesla only delivered an estimated 345 Model 3s in November, this number was a notable jump from prior months.
Tesla publicly reported delivering 1,060 Model 3s in December, for a grand total of 1,772 on the year. Additionally, Tesla dialed down the target of 5K a week, to 2.5K now, and set the 5K production level back to June (essentially a six-month delay at this point).
Adding up all Tesla vehicles delivered in the U.S. in 2017 brought us to an estimated 50,147. Global deliveries passed the 100K mark for the year as a whole (~103,000), making this Tesla's best year yet, despite Model 3 shortfalls.
While Model S and X sales were both down a handful for January, based on our estimations, Model 3 sales were up again compared to last month's numbers (one would sure hope so!) However, they're not up as high as projected or expected.
We're pegging January Model 3 sales at an estimated 1,875.
Of course, Tesla could have easily manufactured 3,000 or more Model 3s last month, but deliveries may tell a different story.
Chrysler Pacific Hybrid (plug-in)
Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid:
Editor's note: FCA does not split out sales data for the plug-in Pacifica, so we try our best to estimate that number from month-to-month until hard/verifiable data is gleaned.
The much-anticipated plug-in extended range passenger van arrived in January, albeit in stealth, stuttered, and very limited in fashion.
Due to some odd quirks with production timing and plant scheduling, we had an on/off/on/off/quasi-on start for the Pacifica Hybrid as it relates to deliveries. Then there was QC holds, then launch delays.
Finally, the Pacifica Hybrid officially arrived on "Earth Day" April 22, 2017, and customers enjoyed a good three to four weeks of arriving inventory ... until the wheels fell off (not literally).
By June 10, 2017, a nationwide recall was announced, and all 1,677 Pacificas sold in the U.S. and Canada had to head back to Chrysler to get a faulty diode replaced that could cause loss of power when in operation. We won't get into all the details from there (check out our June sales report for more info).
Thankfully, by September, the kinks appeared to have been worked out just in time to see its Windsor, Ontario assembly plant go down for the entire month of October for pre-scheduled updating of the facility to comply with U.S. regulatory/safety tooling on the Grand Caravan.
Nonetheless, customer orders and dealer stock are once again flowing and the 2018 model has arrived. For December, we estimated 720 deliveries, up 150 units from November's estimates.
With January being a low-volume month, we put Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid sales estimates at 375.
2017 BMW 330e - Like All Plug-Ins Sold In The U.S., It Wisely Is Offered In Black
Arriving on the U.S. market nearly two years ago was the BMW 330e, which is the plug-in hybrid version of the company's quintessential 3 Series offering.
While the 330e (from $44,695 including DST), physically arrived in March 2016 in a token amount, it took BMW almost a year to stock the plug-in very robustly.
Like almost all iPerformance offerings last November, the BMW 330e reached a near 2017 high during the month, selling 477 copies. December's total hit 363 sales.
For January, we report 101 33oe's sold.
Given the still relatively limited inventory of the 330e on BMW lots, there is a lot of upward sales potential for the car. However, as it has now been on offer for 22 months in the U.S., maybe BMW really doesn't care to displace any more petrol 3 Series transactions.
As for the specs, the final EPA 'real world' range rating of just 14 all-electric miles (via a 7.6 kWh battery - 5.7 usable) was a disappointment for some hoping for a number closer to 20, but with a 75 mph top speed in "Max eDrive" it's a capable offering (featuring a 2-liter inline turbo-four), which should satisfy the traditional BMW crowd and see strong sales.
The electric motor delivers 87 horsepower with a maximum of 184 pound-feet of torque. When combined with the petrol engine, the total output jumps to 248 horsepower, with a peak torque of 310 pound-feet. This all allows for a 5.9-second zero-to-60-mph sprint and a top speed of 140 mph.
Audi A3 Sportback e-tron
Audi A3 Sportback e-tron:
After selling ~400 copies a month in Q1 2017 (387, 400, and 414), Audi slipped in Q2 and Q3.
The reason for the failure to stock and sell?
VW Group likes to allocate a certain number of model year plug-in vehicles to the U.S., and if they run out ... oh well. This was exactly the case for the Audi over the summer and into the fall of 2017.
How bad did it get?
We could only find 17 examples of the A3 e-tron at dealers nationwide when we did an inventory in October 2017. Leading us to say, "Hey Audi, make with the 2018s already!"
Fortunately, they seem to have heard us, as the first handful did indeed arrive in November, but that was a literal handful.
For December, sales improved significantly, to 270 deliveries, from November's puny 38. However, this is less than half of the 589 delivered in December of 2016, and down to 2,877 for 2017 as a whole, compared to 2016's 4,280.
Unfortunately, A3 Sportback e-tron sales dropped in January to 145 total deliveries, down 63% from last January's 387.
The A3 e-tron has a low price inside Audi's lineup. $38,900 gets you the Audi badge, 8.8 kWh of battery - good for 17-odd miles of real-world driving ... and a federal credit of $4,158, which is significant because this brings the e-tron package down to within $3,500 of the base MSRP of the A3.
Another reason for decent sales numbers on the A3 e-tron; you can't get the "Sportback" version of the Audi in any other trim level in the U.S.
Ford Fusion Energi
Ford Fusion Energi:
The refreshed 2017 Ford Fusion Energi (details) was a fairly big hit in 2016, showing marked improvements throughout the year.
Heading into 2017, the Fusion Energi crossed back into "four-digit land" in March, as 1,002 Energis were moved ... joining a club of just five others at that level. The month of May showed a repeat of such numbers, but sales have stayed in the 700s ever since.
For November, that number was 731. December sales were up a touch, with 875 sold, for 9,632 deliveries in 2017. Fusion Energi sales are down from the last few months, at 640 for January.
Looking at the inventory in the past, it was easy to see why (and how) so many of the new Fusion plug-ins have been sold. The Fusion Energi often won the crown for the "most stocked" EV in the U.S., until Chevy got crazy with the Volt and Bolt EV.
With that said, Ford had been struggling to keep production on pace with demand (or rather managing inventory lower). After having almost 3,000 in stock in mid-June 2017, that number fell below 2,000 units by the start of September, as the industry-wide summer shutdown/changeover to MY 2018 was underway. This inventory level flatlined through the end of 2017.
2018 BMW 530e
Welcome to the "big time" BMW 5 Series! By "big time" we mean selling more than 500 copies and getting an individual recap on our sales scorecard.
Originally, we had expected that the BMW X5 40e would be dropping off the list near the end of 2017, but the SUV surprised us with strong November and December sales (more on that below), keeping itself on the list for another season.
Back to the 530e.
The plug-in hybrid's $52,400 starting price point makes it the cheapest of the 5 Series to own, and thus a strong seller. After crossing 500 sales in both September and October, an amazing 872 were moved in November, followed by 706 in December - shooting the plug-in BMW up our sales chart.
For January, deliveries slide down significantly to 224.
BMW X5 xDrive40e:
The BMW X5 plug-in had an unexpectedly strong debut in the U.S. in 2016, which only got stronger over the year.
In fact, the electrified BMW SUV had seen sales as high as 876 units in 2016 (August 2016).
Then 2017 happened, and sales disappointed. During the first 10 months, numbers ranged from the 260s to the 480s.
With just 329 sales in October, and 333 in September, we confidently predicted the X5 plug-in would be leaving our recap list in 2018 ... then November happened. The month brought an all-time best 929 deliveries, which made the BMW the sixth best selling plug-in for the November! In December, sales were down, but still strong at 832, pushing the just out of the top ten for the year as a whole.
BMW X5 plug-in sales plummet in January to 261.
While inventory is still low, we're happy to be able to report that the 2018s are now steadily arriving in volume. Hopefully, enough plug-in SUVs will eventually arrive that BMW can once again make a push to achieve the four-digit mark!