In April 2023, the EU car market saw a significant increase in passenger car registrations, with 803 188 units sold, marking a 17,2% growth from the previous year. All the EU’s major markets grew solidly last month, with Italy (+29,2%) and France (+21,9%) leading the way.
From January to April 2023, the EU car market grew by 17,8% to 3,5 million registered cars. Despite the year–on–year improvement, sales were still down by 22,8% compared to the same period in 2019, highlighting the EU car market’s ongoing struggle. Among the four
major EU markets, Spain (+33,7%) saw the highest gains, followed by Italy (+26,9%), France (+16,7%), and Germany (+7,9%).
Full electric continues to grow
In April, the market share of battery electric cars experienced a significant upturn, rising from 9,1% to 11,8%. While hybrids now represent 24,8% of the EU new car market, petrol cars continue to dominate with the largest share at 38,2%.
Last month, EU registrations of new battery electric cars significantly increased (+51,9%), reaching 94 561 units. This represents a market share of 11,8%, an increase of almost 3% compared to April 2022. Most EU markets recorded double– and triple–digit percentage gains, including the two largest: France (+34,8%) and Germany (+34,1%). This amounted to a cumulative increase of 45,1%, with 415 579 units sold in the first four months of 2023.
Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) continued to grow in April, with sales up by 22,7% to 199 407 units. This growth was primarily due to double–digit increases in the EU’s four key markets: Germany (+35,9%), France (+28,6%), Italy (+28,3%), and Spain (+14,4%). As a result, HEVs now occupy a market share of 24,8% (up from 23,7% in April 2022).
Despite a 4,3% growth in March, the EU market for plug–in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) declined in April (–5,5%), with sales dropping significantly in Germany (–45,7%), the largest market for this fuel type but with drastic changes in the incentive scheme and taxation at the beginning of this year. Consequently, the overall PHEV market share declined from 9,2% in April last year to 7,4% in 2023.
We see the same tendencies when we look at the EFTA countries (Iceland, Norway, Switzerland) and the UK. Electric cars grew by 49,2% in total, plug-in hybrids stagnated (but with big differences between, for example, Iceland (-57,4%) and Norway (-28,4%), and Switzerland (+12,9%) and the UK (+33,3%). Hybrid cars grew by one-fifth (+ 19,5%) except for Norway (-43,7%).
Petrol and diesel
New gasoline car registrations in the EU had another strong month in April, with sales increasing by 17,3%, reaching 306 757 units. This amounts to a market share of 38 2%, the same share as in April 2022. Growth was mainly driven by solid results in the four key EU
markets, particularly Italy (+39,3%) and France (+31,3%). Since the beginning of the year, EU petrol sales have reached nearly 1,3 million units, a remarkable 18,3% increase from the same period in 2022.
The EU diesel car market remained stable in April (+0,03%), despite positive performance in two of the bloc’s largest markets: Italy (+21,5%) and Germany (+2,4%). Diesel cars now represent 14,7% of the EU market share, down from 17,2% in April 2022.
The April results for EFTA and UK here are also similar to these for the EU: + 14,8% for gasoline cars, -0,8% for diesel cars. Overall, the market in these four countries rose by 16,1%.
The Volkswagen Group retains the leader position strongly with +31,2% in sales in April and a market share of 27,4% (+2,9%). The number two, Stellantis, also grew in sales (+8,7%) but less than the market, so market share shrunk (-1,5% to 18,6%). Third is the Renault Group, which performed very well (+41,1% in sales and +1,9% in market share to 11,4%).
Hyundai Group is fourth and saw a small sales growth (+1,8%) but a fall in market share (from 10,5% to 9,1%). Toyota Group is number six in April and is even regressing a little bit in sales (-1,4%), and logically the market share declines too (-1,2% to 6,2%). That means that BMW has jumped to number five (6,7% market share, down from 7,2%) and Mercedes stays seventh (5,5% market share, down -0,6%).
Last noticeable fact: Tesla increased its sales by 788,9% in April compared to April last year (from 1 202 to 10 685 cars sold), with a market share of 1,3% (against 0,2% last year). For the first four months of the year, Tesla grew its sales by 112,4% to more than 80 000 cars sold and a market share of 2,3%, ninth in the overall ranking.
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