European car sales: growth and electrification continue

New figures from the European Car Manufacturers Association ACEA indicate that the European car market has seen a 14th consecutive month of growth and that electrification continues.

In September 2023, new car registrations increased by 9,2%, reaching 861 062 units. Two of the EU’s
most significant markets saw substantial gains: Italy (+22,7%) and France (+10,7%). Germany’s market was relatively steady, with a tiny 0.1% drop compared to September 2022.

In the first three quarters of 2023, the EU car market grew substantially (+16.9%), totaling eight million registered units. Despite the year-to-date increase, the market remains 20% below the pre-COVID pandemic level of 10 million units in 2019.

Except for Hungary (-3.2%), all of the region’s markets recorded gains during these nine months, including the four largest: Italy (+20,5%), Spain (+18,5%), France (+15,9%), and Germany (+14,5%).

Electrification continues

In September, the battery-electric car market share reached 14,8%, marking an increase from 14,1% in September the previous year. This was the third time this year that battery-electric cars surpassed diesel, making them the third most popular choice for new car buyers.

Hybrid-electric cars retained their position as the second most preferred option, accounting for a significant 27,3% of the market. Although petrol cars are still buyers’ top choice, their market share fell from 35,3% in September 2022 to 34,1% this year.

In this ninth month of 2023, EU battery-electric car registrations increased by 14,3%, reaching 127 149 units, or 14,8% of the market. Germany, the largest market, declined by a significant 28,6%, linked to reduced incentives for private buyers from September. Notably positive performances came from three other EU markets: the Netherlands (+70,8%), Sweden (+60.7%), and France (+34.2%).

In September, new EU hybrid-electric car registrations (HEV) increased by 30,5%, primarily driven by robust growth in the bloc’s three largest markets: Germany (+44.,%), Italy (+34,8%), and France (+30,2%). This resulted also in a cumulative 28,8% increase, with nearly 2 million units sold in the first three-quarters of the year, around a quarter of the entire market.

Last month, new EU plug-in hybrid car registrations (PHEV) were relatively stable (+0,4%), totaling 70 578 units. Strong performance in major markets such as France (+35,1%) and Belgium(+71,4%) helped offset Germany’s decline (-45,7%), the largest market for this power source. Overall, the market share of plug-in hybrid cars decreased from 8,9% to 8,2% in September this year.

Full electric cars are now the third most popular buy option, pushing diesel cars to fourth place. Hybrid cars are still doing very well, with more than 27% of market share /ACEA

Other fuels

Where petrol and diesel ICE cars are concerned, the EU petrol car market increased in September by 5,5%, although its market share decreased from 35,3% to 34,1% compared to September last year. Sales growth in the most significant markets (Italy (+32,2 %), Germany (+9,1%), Spain (+3,2%), and France
(+1,4%), largely contributed to this result.

The EU’s diesel car market continued to decline in September (-12,5%), despite growth in Germany (+4,6%), as sales in most of the EU’s other markets retracted. Diesel cars now have a market share of 12,7%, down from 15,9% in September of the previous year, thus losing third place to full electric BEVs.

The situation is similar in the UK (where registrations rose 21% in September) and the EFTA countries (Iceland, Norway, Switzerland), although in the latter, sales fell by 10,1% due to a serious decrease in sales in Norway (29,4%).

By manufacturer

As well the top five as both German premium manufacturers BMW Group (6th) and Mercedes Group (7th) increased their sales in the EU in September. Volkswagen Group stays on top, of course, with a 25% market share, followed by Stellantis (19,3%), Renault Group (10,4%), Hyundai Group (8,2%), and Toyota Group (6,9%).

Most other makes also increase their sales in September, except for Ford (-12,9%), Tesla (-9,8%), and Jaguar (-10,9%). The latter is compensated in the JLR Group by a 15,9% sales increase of Land Rover. Mitsubishi and Honda are still closing the ranking with 0,4% market share each.

When we look at the first three quarters of the year, we see that VW Group has increased its market share to 26,2% (up 1%), Stellantis lost 2% (at 18,4% market share now), Renault Group climbed to 10,8% (+0,3%), Hyundai decreased from 9,6% to 8,5%, and Toyota lost some weight from 7,2% to 6,9%.

Most other makes are fairly stable, except for Ford which sees its market share shrink from 4,1% to 3,6% and Tesla, which sold 131,2% more cars than in the first three quarters of 2022 and sees its market share jump from 1,3 to 2,6%.

When we take EFTA and the Uk also into account, we see the same tendencies but slightly different percentages, except for two differences: thanks to the UK Jaguar sales are slightly progressing overall, while Honda is almost doubling its sales and letting the red lantern in the ranks to Mitsubishi.


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