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The Netherlands – 2015-Q4 & Full Year

Vehicle taxation changes, effective 1.1.2016 lead to extraordinary high sales of new cars in general and plug-in hybrids in particular. The run on PHEV started in October. In December, sales of plug-in vehicles in the Netherlands were the highest monthly number ever, in any European market, with more units delivered than in the entire 2014 in NL.

15 900 Plug-ins were registered in December, over 7 times the average monthly rate. Also the total volume of cars and LCV in December was much higher than usual: over 72 000, which is 20 000 higher than trend. Plug-in share reached 22 % in December.

In total for 2015, plug-in vehicle reached 43 300 units, +183 % over 2014, making NL the largest market for this vehicle sector in Europe and the 3rd largest worldwide. PEV share was 8,5 % for the year, the worlds second highest after Norway.

We have seen these runs on PHEVs before, during Q4 of 2013 in NL and during Q4 of 2015 in Sweden. So, what happened this time ?

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Too many PHEVs in the mix

The taxation scheme in NL is tough on cars with high emissions. It follows a progressive pattern; pure EVs pay little or no taxes, PHEVs ≤ 50 g CO2/km get strong tax reductions. For a vehicle emitting e.g. 174 gram CO2 per km the registration tax (B.M.P.) is around €15 000. Also the company car taxation is heavily depending on the CO2 emission. These taxes depend on the registration date of the vehicle.

For all vehicles acquired after 31 December 2015, CO2 brackets are lowered and the cost per g CO2 increases.  For PHEVs ≤ 50 g CO2/km the road tax exemption ends and the benefit in kind value (BIK) for company car taxation is raised from 7 % to 15 % of the vehicles value; it is 25 % for conventional cars. For pure EVs, the BIK value is lowered from 4 % to nil.

This is designed to promote pure EV sales and decrease the PHEV share in the mix. The PHEV share in NL is the highest among all markets we are tracking. With an all-electric range of 50 km or less, their contribution to GHG reduction is questionable, especially when daily battery charging routines are not maintained.

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Last Chance for the Big Save

Being aware of the coming tax hikes, many Dutch car buyers, private and companies alike, hurried to get delivery before 2016. The supply chain was well prepared, esp at Mitsubishi. Amid new PHEV competition from Volvo XC90, BMW X5 and VW Passat, the Mitsubishi Outlander topped the ranking like it had many times before during its 27 months of sales history.

The December top-10 has PHEVs on rank 1 to 9 and the Tesla Model S as the best selling EV on place 10.

After just 3 months on the market the Passat GTE is among the most popular Plug-ins in NL. It offers 50 km all-electric range (NEDC) from a 9,9 kWh battery. Combined drive-line performance is 160 kW, of which 84 kW are electric. The emission rating is 45 g CO2/km (NEDC), the base price is  44 650 € and the B.M.P is as low as 450 €.

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