For our European readers, this is not news, but for many of our North American readers, this is still a bit of a mystery. Two-thirds of Dutch new car sales are company cars of the benefit in kind (BiK) type. These normally have a contract period of 3 to 4 years. After that period, the employee has to order a new BiK vehicle. “So what,” I hear you thinking.
Up until now, the BEV market has largely been a first-BEV-buyer market — drivers ordering their first fully electric car. There were some buyers replacing their BEV with a new one, but that was a small minority. In 2019, the Tesla Model 3 came to market. At the end of 2019, we saw a huge spike in deliveries of fully electric cars, mainly Tesla Model 3 vehicles. That is now three years ago. These cars will be replaced.
The special incentive that caused the spike was for a five-year tax benefit. Some drivers will try to hold onto their vehicles to enjoy the tax benefit longer, but many will be forced to order a new one. For the leasing companies, a used car with one or two years remaining of high tax benefit is far more valuable than a five-year-old car without a tax benefit.
The market for first-time BEV buyers will grow a little — say, from 20% market share to 25% market share in 2023 — but a new market of BEV replacement orders will start, perhaps reaching 15% market share. The whole year could be over 40% BEV market share, crossing the 50% marker at the end of the year.
It is not only the replacement market that will push the BEV market. There is also the wish of the government to have all BiK sales 100% BEV by 2025. That will push the leashing companies to push the dealers to try to get all BiK drivers into a BEV.
Oh, we will also have an incentive for private buyers. It is not as big as the incentive for BiK drivers, but it is money on the hood. And money on the hood generates more bang for the buck. This will ensure awesome Dutch BEV sales in 2023.
I am afraid to make a prediction for 2025. But if the government succeeds in making all BiK sales 100% electric in 2025, and at least a third of the private sales also BEV, we are looking at between 70% and 80% market share.
There is even one more driver of BEV market share. Internal combustion vehicle sales have been declining since 2018. There are the normal explanations of economy, COVID-19, chip shortage, inflation, again the economy — but four years of decline in a row is serious recession territory, and we are in an overheated economy at the moment. We have high inflation and labor shortages.
No serious automotive market analyst will accept the thought that the Osborne effect might play a role in the decline. I also do not think it is the prime driver. At least, it was not the prime driver for the early years of the decline. I think it is a prime driver that blocks the recovery of the part of the market that has a tailpipe.
BEV market share is a ratio. It changes when one goes up or the other goes down. BEV sales the last four years were approximately stable. But quality did increase. The last year did not have a huge end-of-year spike because of a change in incentives. There was a far more regular sales profile over the year.
Look at the graphs regarding market share and vehicle sales numbers and draw your own conclusion. Just note that this year’s numbers are not definitive — there are still two days missing.
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