Volvo’s UK sales grew in January, in a declining market, and plug-in hybrid sales rose by three-quarters, on the back of strong business sales.
Just last month we reported that Volvo plans to increase sales of plug-in hybrid cars in 2020 to avoid hefty fines for high average emissions, and it looks like they’re making good progress.
Overall sales in January rose by a modest 1 per cent, but that is in a market which fell by 7 per cent, but it was the growth in sales to fleets and business which made the difference, and that’s down in no small part to sales of plug-in hybrids.
Business and fleet sales rose by 10 per cent year-on-year, and sales of plug-in hybrids by three-quarters, as business buyers look to benefit from the low BIK rates for plug-ins.
Of course, the BIK rates for PHEVs are based on official emissions, but the problem is that many owners don’t plug-in their PHEV so effectively many are running a XC90 T6 by default without the aid of the battery, and the T6 emits three times the CO2 on official tests. Although Volvo are trying to get buyers of their PHEVs to plug-in by offering free electricity. Which might help.
But concerns about the effectiveness of PHEVs to cut emissions in the real world aside, Volvo looks to be on track to make PHEV sales 25 per cent of all sales in 2020 – and avoid big fines – unless the government has a change of heart on BIK.
Unsurprisingly, Volvo’s top sellers are the XC40, XC60 and XC90, and the V90 is doing well too, taking 35 per cent of sales in its segment.