In July 2023, the EU car market continued its growth trajectory, expanding by 15,2%, the twelfth consecutive month of growth, according to the European Car Manufacturers Association ACEA data.
New car registrations reached 851 156 units as the market recovers from last year’s component shortages. Most markets posted solid growth, including the four largest: France (+19,9%), Germany (+18,1%), Spain (+10,7%), and Italy (+8,7%).
From January to July 2023, new EU car registrations grew even more (+17,6%), totaling 6,3 million units. However, year–to–date volumes are still 22% lower than in pre-pandemic 2019. There were double–digit percentage gains in most markets during these seven months, including the four largest: Spain (+21,9%), Italy (+20,9%), France (+15,8%), and Germany (+13,6%).
In July, the market share of battery–electric cars rose to 13,6% (up from 9,8% the same month last year). Hybrid–electric cars maintained their position as the second choice among new car buyers, capturing over a quarter of the market.
However, internal combustion engine (ICE) cars, including gasoline and diesel models, retained a combined market share of half of new car sales (49,9%), slightly higher than in June (49,7%).
Last month, new EU battery–electric car registrations substantially increased by 60,6%, reaching 115 971 units while accounting for 13,6% of the market. Most EU markets grew significantly by double– and triple–digit percentage gains, including the two largest, Germany (+68,9%) and France (+32,4%). Cumulatively, battery–electric car sales recorded a significant 54,7% increase from January to July, with 819 725 units registered.
New hybrid–electric car registrations (HEVs) surged by 31,6% in July, primarily fuelled by solid growth in the region’s largest markets: Germany (+46,6%), France (+32,8%), Spain (+30,8%), and Italy (+16,7%). This led to a cumulative 28,5% increase, with almost 1,6 million units sold between January and July, equivalent to one–quarter of the market share (25,6%).
In July, new EU plug–in hybrid car registrations (PHEVs) increased by 14,5%, reaching 67 060 units. Strong performance in major markets like the Netherlands (+107,6%), France (+80,0%), and Spain (+42,7%) was offset by a decline in Germany (–39.5%), the largest market for this
fuel type. The latter is why the market share of plug–in hybrid cars remained stable at 7,9% in July.
Many journalists have noticed that while BEV sales are still growing rapidly, the market share of fully electric cars has slipped under that of diesel cars again. The individual car buyer seems to be hesitating still. Firstly, because of the price of an electric car and the absence of affordable ones.
Furthermore, the governments are frequently changing their incentive and tax-cutting rules, leaving the customer in distress. That’s why analysts like T&E and others warn about too many regulations and changes in the EU and the lack of decent charging infrastructure in many countries.
Gasoline and diesel
Last month, the EU gasoline car market grew by 5%, reaching 304 903 units. However, market share decreased from 39,3% to 35,8% compared to last July. This growth was primarily driven by a solid performance in major markets, notably France (+16,4%) and Germany (+12,5%). Over 2,3 million gasoline cars were sold in the first seven months of this year, a substantial 14,3% increase compared to 2022.
On the other hand, the EU’s market for diesel cars continued to decline (–9,1% in July) despite growth in Germany (+2,7%) and Central and Eastern European markets, particularly Slovakia (+36,1%) and Romania (+19,8%). Diesel cars now account for a market share of 14,1%, down from 17,9% in July last year.
We see almost the same tendencies in the EFTA countries (Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland) and the UK. A significant difference is that plug-in hybrid decreased in the EFTA countries (-4,5%), while they grew significantly in the UK (79,1%). In the UK, gasoline gained 13,4%, and diesel decreased by 8,4%.
The VW Group remains Europe’s biggest seller and is increasing its market share to 27,4%. Stellantis takes a further dive in market share (-3,9% to 16,9%), selling 6,1% fewer cars. Third remains the Renault Group, with a stable market share(10,6%) but a 16,9% sales increase.
Fourth is the Hyundai Group (9,2% market share), fifth is the Toyota Group (6,8%), followed by the two German premium carmakers, BMW Group (also 6,8%, ex aequo in June with Toyota) and Mercedes-Benz (5,1%).
Noticeable is the dramatic increase of Tesla, with a 1,6% market share in July instead of 0,3% and 2,4% for the first seven months (instead of 1,0%). Continuing losers for the same seven-month period are Mitsubishi (-32,4%) and Honda (-35,5%). The latter gained a little sales volume in July (+13,3%), but we’re talking very small absolute numbers here (2 755 Honda models sold in Europe last month).