The Porsche Taycan electric sports sedan outsold the Mercedes-Benz E-Class in March, sparking a potential new battle in Australia’s large luxury car segment.
Porsche’s first-ever pure battery-powered vehicle registered 161 local sales last month to push Mercedes’ big sedan/wagon into second place by just six units.
The E-Class has been the undisputed champion of the Luxury Large Car segment for the past eight years, and the latest, ninth-generation version received a boost for 2021 with a significant update.
After the first quarter of 2021, the E-Class remains the year-to-date leader with 312 sales, though the Taycan’s March result has seen the Porsche leapfrog the Mercedes’ traditional rival, the BMW 5 Series – 225 sales to 125.
Taycan pricing starts at more than double that of the E-Class, costing from $190,400 compared to $98,700 for the Mercedes. The Taycan range will also double in October when the sedan is joined by a Cross Turismo wagon-style variant.
Porsche’s newest model accounted for 69 per cent of the 233 electric passenger car sales in March, a figure that is a 184 per cent increase on March 2020.
With triple-figure digit growth for electric SUVs as well, EV sales have now increased 123 per cent compared with the first quarter of 2020.
The big figures remain relative. EVs still only account for 0.4 per cent of total sales, not including heavy-commercial vehicles – both for March (411 units) and year-to-date (969 units).
Electric car brand Tesla, however, still keeps its sales figures guarded. Unofficially, it was reported to have sold more than 3400 vehicles locally in 2020.
Plug-in hybrid (PHEV) sales also grew by more than 100 per cent in March (and up 80 per cent year-to-date), though remain below EVs at 286 units (March) and 629 units (YTD).
Non-rechargeable hybrids continue to make the biggest progress, primarily thanks to Toyota’s expanded range of petrol-electric variants across popular models such as the Corolla, Yaris Cross and RAV4.
Hybrid sales have increased 25 per cent year-on-year, now accounting for more than six per cent of new-car sales.
Petrol-powered cars remain dominant at 60 per cent (up seven per cent YTD), while diesel is making something of a comeback. Diesel sales fell 13 per cent in 2020 but are up 21 per cent so far in 2021.