Split Belgian car market gets wider

For the Belgian car market, 2023 will probably be the year that electrified cars took over. A  positive side-effect is that the average CO2 emission of these new cars landed under 90 g/km for the first time. Meanwhile, the split between individual buyers and company cars gets bigger and bigger. The same is true for the difference between Flanders, Brussels, and Wallonia.

In the first nine months of 2023, 374 848 new cars were registered in Belgium. The market share of ICE cars was still just over 50% but dwindled seriously. Gasoline-driven cars represented 43,7% of the market (compared to 48,9% in 2022 and 52% in 2021). The share of diesel cars fell from 23,7% in 2021 to 16,4% in 2022 to 9,3% in the first nine months of 2023.

And the winners? Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs)  grew from 12,5% in 2021 to 20,4% market share in the first nine months of 2023. For fully electric cars (BEVs), the evolution went from 5,9% in 2021 to 18,3%.

So-called self-charging hybrids (HEVs) grew from 5,1% to 7,4% (the latter being a status quo compared to 2022). The part of PHEVs in this will soon diminish because their tax incentives have been severely cut since the 1st of July. The benefit will almost entirely go to fully electric cars, becoming even more interesting regarding tax reduction.

Electrified cars already represented 46,2% of the total market in the first nine months of 2023 /Febiac

Split of the market

The Belgian market is, by far, dominated by the company car business. Companies or self-employed individuals now buy or lease two new cars out of three, compared to 62,2% in 2022 and 57,4% in pre-pandemic 2019. The individual private buyer does not even represent a third of the market.

There’s also a big difference in buying habits between the two. When the electrified car threatens to become the most significant part of the market, this is entirely due to the so-called professional market. The latter represents 91,5% of the total BEV market (68 696 units) and 92,2% of the PHEV market (76 654 units).

When one looks at electrified cars, only in the segment of HEVs (self-charging hybrids) are individual buyers more numerous, representing 58,8% of total HEVs bought (27 822). However, their most popular choice is the genuine gasoline ICE car, with 67,7% of the total bought by private buyers.

Most popular models

This split in the market is also very noticeable when looking at the country’s most popular models. The most popular car overall in the first nine months in Belgium was the Tesla Model Y (6 558 cars sold). The rest of the top five are the Volvo XC40, the BMW X1,  the Dacia Sandero, and the Toyota Yaris.

The most popular car in Belgium until now in 2023 was the Tesla Model Y /Febiac

When you look at the regional differences (Flanders and Brussels having many more company cars registered), we see that Flanders has the same top three and adds the Mini Cooper and the VW Golf in fourth and fifth place. In Brussels, the top five are Volvo XC40, Citroën C3, Peugeot 308, Tesla Model Y, and Fiat 500.

On the other hand, Wallonia is marked by this lack of company cars. There are many more individual buyers in that region, and their preferences are Dacia Sandero, Dacia Duster, Toyota Yaris, Citroën C3, and Mini Cooper. The two top places for Renault’s low-cost arm, Dacia, are striking.

Finally, when one looks at the fuel used to drive the car, the top five for gasoline are Dacia Sandero, Citroën C3, Mini Cooper, Opel Corsa, and Renault Clio. The dwindling diesel market is dominated by Peugeot, with three cars (308, 3008, and 5008) in the top five and selling more than the other two brands together. Still, it has to concede first place to the BMW X1, while the VW Golf is number five.

The most popular entirely electric car is the Tesla Model Y, followed by the Volkswagen ID.4, the Audi Q4 e-tron, the Volkswagen ID.3, and the Volvo XC40 Recharge. Regarding PHEVs, Volvo and BMW control the market, while HEVs are mostly Toyota models (top three, followed by Renault and Nissan).

The most popular company cars are the Tesla Model Y, the Volvo XC40, the BMW X1, the Peugeot 308, and the Audi A3. The top five for individual buyers are entirely different and dominated by Dacia: The Sandero, Duster, and Jogger occupy first, third, and fifth place, respectively. Toyota Yaris is second, Citroën C3 fourth.


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