Mercedes-Benz's first electric car struggling for sales in its homeland
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With the 'electric car revolution' seemingly in full swing, more and more improvements are being made to the vehicles in the segment — to the point where concepts like range anxiety and long charging times are slowly becoming a thing of the past.
In 2020, expect more attention to instead be placed on whether the populace is actually buying electric cars. Particularly as more mainstream manufacturers dip into the segment.
One of those mainstream manufacturers that's just joined the EV spacerace is Mercedes-Benz. It launched its first EV — the EQC SUV — in New Zealand last month, while it's also been on sale in other regions for a few months. And curiously, it's been a particularly slow seller in its homeland of Germany.
German publication Welt has reported despite an extensive marketing campaign a mere 19 EQCs were registered in Germany in November — the month of its launch there. That was followed by 36 registrations in December.
Those numbers are put into context by the 478 Audi e-trons that were sold in its first month in Germany (March), let alone the 192 e-trons that were sold in November according to figures from Germany's Federal Transport Authority database.
It's worth noting that the German car market isn't exactly a leader in EV sales. As of the end of 2019, just 57,533 of the 3.6 million vehicles registered in Germany were fully electric. But that still doesn't explain the gulf in sales difference between the EQC and e-tron rivals.
Perhaps the EQC's late-in-the-year release points to a more likely explanation. Mercedes-Benz could be delaying German sales of the EQC in order to fit it into the EU's more strict CO2 emissions regulations that started this year.
A similar disparity between the e-tron and EQC should not be expected on New Zealand soil. Like Germany, New Zealand's uptake on EVs is small. But it's growing, and Mercedes-Benz Cars New Zealand general manager Lance Bennett expects the EQC to be a competitive player in the market.
“The EQC is a ground breaking vehicle for Mercedes-Benz, being the first full electric product available. We expect demand in New Zealand to outstrip supply during 2020, with a number of customers placing deposits on the first vehicles in 2019,” said Bennett.
“The EQ range will continue to grow, with the EQC doing an exceptional job of launching this new brand to our New Zealand customers in the growing SUV sector.”