Volkswagen sees combustion engine car sales fall as electric car sales rocket

Like so many other car brands Volkswagen suffered as the overall market for cars fell during 2020. Combustion engined vehicles were hit hardest while plug-in vehicles bucked the trend with rising sales, especially in Europe and the United Kingdom.

Despite the challenging time the German carmaker still delivered around 5.328 million vehicles across all drive systems to customers around the world. This represents an overall decline of 15 percent for Volkswagen. The big saviour for the brand, like so many others, was the sales of electric cars.

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During 2020 Volkswagen delivered more electric vehicles worldwide than ever before. The brand sold more than 212,000 plug-in electric cars in total, which was a rise of 158 percent compared to 2019. When it came to battery all-electric vehicles only, Volkswagen sold nearly 134,000 units, which represents a massive increase of 197 percent over the previous year.

Volkswagen launched nine new electric and plug-in hybrid models in 2020. This brought the share of hybrids and battery electric vehicles in Europe up to an impressive 12.4 percent of the brand’s total deliveries. This represents a growth of over 10 percent for plug-in vehicle sales compared to 2019 when it was just 2.3 percent of Volkswagen’s deliveries.

Ralf Brandstätter, CEO of Volkswagen, said: “2020 was a turning point for Volkswagen and marked a breakthrough in electric mobility. We are well on track to achieve our aim of becoming the market leader in battery electric vehicles. More than any other company, we stand for attractive and affordable emobility.”

Volkswagen’s most popular electric car was the ID.3 which sold 56,500 units. This is impressive considering it was only hit the market in September. It’s popularity saw it leap straight to pole position on the sales charts in many countries in Europe, including its home country Germany. The e-Golf2 was the second-best seller with around 41,300 units and the Passat GTE3 with approximately 24,000 units.

The ID.3 was the most frequently delivered battery electric vehicle in Finland, Slovenia and Norway in December. In Sweden, the ID.3 was the top-selling car in December 2020 including combustion engine cars. It was also the number one selling electric car for the year in Germany with a 23.8 percent share, and similarly in Holland with a 23 percent share.

Klaus Zellmer, board member responsible for sales of Volkswagen cars, said: “We really hit the bullseye with the ID.3. Even though it was only introduced in the second half of the year, it ranked in the top of the sales charts in many countries almost right away. For 2021 we plan to increase our global market share.”

Ian Osborne
Ian Osborne
Editor-in-Chief at ElectricDrives

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