2020 (June) Europe: Car Sales and Market Analysis

In June 2020, new passenger vehicle registrations in the European Union (EU), UK, and EFTA countries contracted by 24%. The Renault Clio again outsold the VW Golf.

The Renault CLio again outsold the VW Golf as the best-selling car model in Europe in June 2020.

Although new car sales in Europe in June 2020 were at its highest level since the start of lockdown measures were introduced in March, sales were still down by a quarter compared to a year ago. Electric cars made a strong impact with only 1.7 diesel cars sold for every electrified car registered. The Renault Clio again outsold the VW Golf in Europe in June 2020 while the Renault Zoe was the top-selling battery electric car.

European Car Market Statistics 2020: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

European New Car Market in June 2020

Uncertainty continued to spread across the European new car market in June 2020. According to JATO Dynamics data, 1.13 million units were registered in June 2020, indicating a drop of 24% compared to the 1.49 million new cars registered in June 2019.

Although a large decrease from last year, June 2020 saw a positive increase month on month with the strongest result since February 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the continent. Felipe Munoz, global analyst at JATO Dynamics, commented: “At the moment, we can’t yet talk about recovery as the pandemic is still present in Europe. However, consumers are slowly responding to the new deals, offers, and incentives set in place to revive sales”.

Similarly, the results for first half 2020 also reflected the chaos caused by the pandemic, as volume totaled 5.09 million units, down by 39% from H1 2019.

Growing Demand for Electrified Vehicles in Europe in June 2020

Car sales by fuel type in Europe in June 2020

The global pandemic has accelerated the adoption of electric, hybrid, and plug-in cars in Europe, with diesel and petrol vehicles losing traction as a result. June 2020 was no exception to this trend. While petrol and diesel registrations fell by 32% and 31% respectively, compared to June 2019, the volume of new EVs registered rose from 111,300 units in June 2019 to 183,300 units last month, up by 65%.

In June 2020, the market share of electric vehicles in Europe was 16.2%, which closes the gap to less than eight percentage points compared to the market share for diesel cars. For every EV registered, in June 2019, there were 1.7 diesel cars registered – a ratio of 4.1 to 1.

Munoz explained: “Despite the decline in consumer confidence and employment, the new landscape seems to be offering a prime opportunity for electrified cars – one not seen since their introduction. The combination of greater offers, better deals, higher incentives, and more consciousness among consumers for a green future, is boosting EV demand more than ever.”

In June 2020, the three main EV technologies posted strong growth, with hybrids accounting for half of the segment registrations.

Among the most successful hybrids were Suzuki, Ford and Fiat, which, thanks to the mild-hybrid technology, were able to outsell other large players such as Kia and Lexus. The plug-in hybrids market was dominated by three premium brands (Volvo, Mercedes and BMW), leaving the previous leader (Mitsubishi) in sixth place. In the pure electric segment, Renault took first place as its volume more than doubled, in contrast to Tesla in second place given a 42% decline in volume.

Best-Selling Electric and Hybrid Car Models in Europe in June 2020

According to Jato, the top-selling hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery-electric vehicles in Europe in June 2020 were as follows:

Best-Selling hybrid, plug-in hybrids and electric cars in Europe in June 2020

The Renault Zoe was again the top-selling electric car model in Europe in June 2020. The Zoe was helped by availability. Dealers in for example Germany report strong orders for electric vehicles due to government incentives but in many cases actual delivery of the electric cars are months and even up to a year away.

SUVs Remained Popular in Europe in June 2020

Car sales in Europe in June 2020 by market segment

Despite the difficult economic landscape, SUVs performed relatively well in Europe in June 2020. Although their registrations volume fell by 18%, they were able to increase their market share to 40%. Interestingly, the largest, most expensive SUVs posted the best performance, with registrations down by only 2% to 24,100 units. Compact SUVs saw a 21% decrease and were outsold by small SUVs whose volume totaled 184,800 units.

Volkswagen Group was the top seller in this segment with a market share of 25%. However, Ford, Volvo and Mercedes broke the trend by recording increases of 1%, 39% and 24% respectively.

Best-Selling Car Models in Europe in June 2020

Best-Selling Car. Models in Europe in June 2020

In June 2020, Volkswagen Golf was knocked down to the second spot for the second time in a row by the Renault Clio. However, the Golf narrowly outsold the Clio in the first half of 2020 with 120,204 sales to 119,415.

Product availability of the new generation continues to be the main issue. The Renault Clio fifth generation is available across all European markets – with its volume accounting for 79% of the model’s total registrations – while the Volkswagen Golf eighth generation is yet to arrive in every market, resulting in a smaller 28% share of the compact’s total volume.

The Clio was not the only model from Groupe Renault that performed well in June. The French group placed the Renault Captur and Dacia Sandero in the third and fourth positions respectively. The Captur, boosted by the new generation, was also the top-selling SUV in Europe during June. Further down the rankings, the Toyota Yaris also performed well, especially considering the new generation only accounted for 6% of its volume.

Other successes in the month included the Peugeot 2008 (up 10%), Renault Twingo (up 8%), Volvo XC40 (up 56%; second top-selling premium car), Volkswagen T-Cross (up 1%), Ford Puma with 10,300 units and Hyundai Kona (up 14%), Skoda Kamiq with 7,900 units and Volvo XC60 (up 28%), Mercedes CLA (up 31%), Kia Niro (up 27%), Fiat Ducato (up 62%), and Volvo S60/V60 (up 6%).

European New Car Market in 2020

Sales and Market Analysis:

About the author:

Henk Bekker

Henk Bekker is a freelance writer with over 20 years of experience in online writing. His best-selling cars website has been reporting car sales statistics since 2008 with classic car auction prices focusing on the most expensive automobiles sold at public auctions in the past decade. He also owns the travel websites European-Traveler.com and Lake Geneva Switzerland. Henk holds an MBA from Edinburgh Business School and an MSc in Finance from the University of London.