The market for plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) began in earnest in 2010 with the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt battling for market leadership, while the Tesla Roadster targeted the high end of the performance market.
Since that time, several manufacturers have launched new models, and competition in the PEV market is likely to intensify in the 2013 model year.
Pike Research anticipates that the worldwide market for PEVs is anticipated to grow from 137,950 units in 2012 to 1.75 million in 2019. The United States is expected to remain the largest market through the forecast period, with annual sales reaching 400,073 vehicles by 2020.
However, the sector remains a niche in the overall automotive industry, and manufacturers must carefully choose their strategies for bringing vehicles to market.
According to a new Pike Pulse report, Chevrolet and Renault currently lead the market thanks to high ratings for both strategy and execution.
The criteria by which manufacturers are compared in this Pike Pulse include: Vision; Go-to-Market Strategy; Partners; Production Strategy; Technology; Geographic Reach; Sales, Marketing, and Distribution; Product Performance; Product Quality and Reliability; Product Portfolio; Pricing and Staying Power.
This Pike Research report evaluates 16 of the leading plug-in electric vehicle manufacturers and rates them on 12 criteria for strategy and execution, including vision, go-to-market strategy, partners, product strategy and roadmap, geographic reach, market share, sales and marketing, product performance, product quality and reliability, pricing, product portfolio, and staying power.
The companies rated on the above criteria were charted on a grid to determine which competitors are global Leaders, Contenders, Challengers, or Followers. In the Leaders grouping, Chevrolet (combined Strategy and Execution score of 81.4) and Renault (combined score of 77.9) took the lead in this Pike Pulse due to their respective product portfolios, product strategy, and vision of the PEV market.
These Leaders are likely to come as a surprise to some because they do not currently hold sales leads. However, Pike Research finds that Chevrolet and Renault are well-poised for growth in the coming years. Both hold strong positions in the market, which will enable them to respond effectively to future changes.
In the Contenders grouping, Ford Motor Company, Toyota, and Nissan are vying to move into Leader positions. Toyota and Nissan (the current sales leader in BEVs) are limited by their narrow product portfolios. Anticipated to become the PEV sales leader in the United States, Ford is poised for growth with a broad portfolio of PEVs and flexible manufacturing. However, Ford has not fully executed its well-laid plans (the C-MAX Energi and Fusion/Mondeo Energi PHEVs have not yet launched), and its reliance on Azure for the BEV Transit Connect has proven ill fated.
Tesla is a Contender with a number of challenges (limited funding and challenging path to market) but strong product and big future vehicle plans. The Challengers grouping includes Smart and BMW, whose Strategy ratings outpace their respective Execution ratings. Other Challengers, including Mitsubishi and CODA Automotive, face various sales-related issues (e.g., products that are not well-received in some regions).
Meanwhile, Honda is new to the PEV market and is dogged by weak Strategy ratings as a result of the slow adoption of PEVs during the early phase of the market. Fisker Automotive is on the cusp of joining the Challengers category, falling short due to funding and quality issues, as well as product that are targeted at a wealthy niche of consumers.