Given the global microchip shortage and other supply issues, as well as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, times are difficult for automakers trying to sell new vehicles. It's not all chaos and bad news, though. This week, Volvo Cars announced that its sales for the first 10 months of 2021 had increased, despite a recent dip in October. However, for electric vehicle (EV) proponents, one can find the better news in the breakout sections on plug-in hybrid (PHEV) models. When looking at the numbers, the automaker is making progress in reaching its stated goal of having at least half of its sales volume be fully electric by 2025.
Globally, Volvo sold 581,464 cars in the first 10 months of 2021, an increase of 12.6 percent compared with the same period last year. This increase happened despite a significant drop in October sales this year. Volvo sold 50,815 cars last month, 22.2 percent less than it did in October 2020. In a press release, the company said the decline was due to "a shortage of components, which affected production" and stated that demand for new Volvos remains strong.
Some of that demand was for the Recharge plug-in models. Volvo sold 148,068 Recharge vehicles—including the XC60 Recharge plug-in hybrid and the XC40 Recharge pure electric SUV—between January and October 2021, an 82.4-percent increase over the 81,173 sold in the first 10 months of 2020.
So far this year, 129,803 of those electrified vehicle sales were PHEVs, and 18,261 were all-electric. The high proportion of Recharge sales means that more than a quarter—25.5 percent, to be exact—of all Volvos sold so far this year have been electrified vehicles. While that's not yet 50 percent, the company still has four years to achieve its self-imposed goal.
When breaking out sales of Volvo's all-electric models like the XC40 Recharge, it's clear that 2021 is getting better as it goes along. For the first 10 months, the overall share of fully electric models was 3.1 percent, or 18,261 cars. In the month of October, however, that share grew to 5.6 percent or 2,841 cars. Volvo said the increase was due to a planned ramp-up in production, and we can expect the percentage of EVs will continue to increase compared to standard, gasoline-powered Volvos as more EVs hit the market. Last month, Volvo Cars started building the all-electric C40 Recharge in Ghent, Belgium. The automaker said it plans to increase EV production—including the new C40 Recharge—at the facility to 135,000 vehicles a year, with half of the cars built there being all-electric starting in 2022.