EU car registrations in May down by 3%, EVs lose market share

According to the European Car Manufacturers Association (ACEA) data, car registrations in the European Union decreased by 3% in May 2024. Declines were observed in three out of the region’s four major markets: Italy (-6.6%), Germany (-4.3%), and France (-2.9%). Spain, on the other hand, achieved a modest growth of 3.4% last month.

Despite the downturn in May, year-to-date car registrations over the first five months of 2024 increased by 4.6% to 4.6 million units. The bloc’s largest markets all showed a similar performance, with Spain (+6.8%), Germany (+5.2%), France (+4.9%), and Italy (+3.4%) recording growth so far this year.

By power source

In May, battery-electric cars accounted for 12.5% of the EU car market, a decrease from 13.8% the previous year. Meanwhile, hybrid-electrics continued to expand their presence, growing from 25% to nearly 30% of the market. The combined share of gasoline and diesel cars fell to 48.5%, down from 52.1%, now representing less than half of the market.

Electric

In May 2024, battery-electric (BEV) car registrations declined by 12% to 114,308 units, dropping their total market share to 12.5%. Belgium, now the third-largest market by volume for BEVs, and France were the only key markets to record growth, at 44.8% and 5.4%, respectively.

In contrast, Germany (-30.6%) and the Netherlands (-11.7%) experienced significant declines last month. From January to May, 556,276 new battery-electric cars were registered, a 2% increase from last year.

Hybrid

Plug-in hybrid car registrations declined 14.7% last month, with significant decreases in two of the largest markets: Belgium (-36.6%) and France (-19.4%). Germany managed a modest increase of 1.7%, not enough to offset the overall negative trend. Plug-in hybrids accounted for 6.5% of the car market in May, with 59,333 units sold.

Despite the overall market decline, hybrid-electric was the only segment to post growth, with car registrations increasing by 16.2% in May to over 272,568 units. Three of the four largest markets for this segment recorded solid gains: France (+38.3%), Spain (+25.4%), and Italy (+7.4%).

Germany, on the contrary, experienced a slight decline of 0.7%. This overall growth pushed the hybrid-electric market share to nearly 30%, a new record, up from 25% in May 2023.

Gasoline and diesel

In May 2024, gasoline car sales decreased by 5.6% to 323,551 units, with notable declines in key markets such as France (-20.3%) and Spain (-1.8%). On the other hand, Italy and Germany posted modest growth rates of 4.1% and 2.1%, respectively. As a result, the gasoline market share declined from 36.5% to 35.5% compared to May of the previous year.

The diesel car market saw an even steeper decline of 11.4% to 118,733 units, accounting for 13% of the market. Significant decreases were observed in major markets like Italy (-30.5%), France (-24.8%), and Spain (-15.4%). Germany experienced a modest increase of 3.2%.

EFTA + UK

When looking at the EFTA countries (Iceland, Norway, Switzerland) and the UK for May 2024 registrations, we notice a decline for pure electric vehicles in the EFTA countries (seriously so in Iceland with -82.2%) but also an increase for BEVs in the UK. There also, the plug-in hybrids did very well (+31.5%).

Hybrid cars did fairly well in all countries except Iceland. In the latter, gasoline car registrations increased by 68.4%, while they declined in the other countries, mostly in the UK (-10.2%). Diesel, on the contrary, went up by 13.9% in the EFTA countries thanks to serious growth in Norway (+57.8%) and Switzerland (+12%). In the UK, diesel cars regressed further (-23.5%).

Overall, the car market regressed by 10.8% in the EFTA countries in May and grew by 1.7% in the UK. The same tendency can be observed for the first five months: the EFTA countries saw a decline of -6,5% and the UK an increase of 7.1%.

By brand

In May 2024, the Volkswagen Group (number one) is increasing its market share from 26% to 27.3%, with the Skoda, Seat, and Cupra brands showing the best growth. Other brands or groups increasing their market share are the Toyota Group (4th, from 6.6% to 7.6%), Volvo (9th, from 2.2 to 2.9%), and almost all the other Japanese makes (Nissan, Suzuki, Mazda, Mitsubishi, and Honda).

Number two, Stellantis Group is still losing market share (from 18.1 to 17.4%), while Renault Group (third) is also declining slightly. BMW Group (6th) lost sales substantially last month (-17.7%), with Mini losing almost half of its sales (-45.6%). Mercedes (7th) managed to keep its share of 5%. Looking at the year’s first five months, we see grosso modo the same tendencies.

Hesitation

The European car market saw a growth of almost 5% in total car registrations over the first five months, but lately, the market has been slowing down. This is partly due to the hesitation in some large countries to change to pure electric cars.

Germany is the most important example; the German buyer no longer appreciates BEVs, switching to plug-in hybrids or hybrids. Even diesel cars rose by more than 8% and gasoline ones by more than 6%.

The biggest BEV markets in the EU (more than 25,000 sales in the first five months) are Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany (still number one, despite the decline), the Netherlands, and Sweden. With 133,062 electric cars sold in five months in the UK, the British market for BEVs is positioning itself between Europe’s two biggest electric markets, Germany (140,713 BEVs) and France (128,565 BEVs).

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