2021 (August) Europe: Car Sales and Market Analysis

In August 2021 the European new car market contracted by 18% — sales of electrified vehicles were higher than diesels for the first time ever in Europe.

In August 2021 the European new car market contracted by 18% -- sales of electrified vehicles were higher than diesels for the first time ever in Europe.The VW ID3 was Europe's favorite battery-electric vehicle followed by the Tesla Model 3 and VW ID4.
© Volkswagen

New passenger vehicle registrations in the European Union (EU), EFTA, and the UK contracted by 18% in August 2021 to only 713,714 cars. The share of diesel cars fell to only 20% resulting in electrified cars outselling diesels for the first time ever in Europe. The Dacia Sandero was again the top-selling car model in Europe in August 2021 but the Volkswagen Golf remained the best-selling car thus far in 2021. The VW ID3 was Europe’s favorite battery-electric vehicle followed by the Tesla Model 3 and VW ID4.

Latest European Car Market Statistics 2021: January, February, March, Q1, April, May, June, HY, July, August, September, Q3, October, November, December, Full Year — 2020: Q1, HY, Q3, Full Year

European New Car Sales in August 2021

According to JATO, data for 26 European markets confirmed that new car registrations slowed once again in August 2021 with a decline of 18% to 713,714 units. This marks the lowest recorded volume in August since 2014 and the second successive August that European car sales contracted by 18%. Passenger vehicle registrations in Europe in August 2021 were down a third compared to August 2019.

The decline in car sales in August 2021 was the second consecutive month of lower car sales in Europe. However, the strong growth registered in the second quarter of 2021 kept the European market in the black thus far this year. Year-to-date 2021 volume remained higher than last year, with 8,095,419 registered units compared with 7,192,839 registered between January and August in 2020.

Felipe Munoz, Global Analyst at JATO Dynamics, commented: “The chip shortage has been a major setback for OEMs still grappling with the effects of the pandemic. Production issues and delays in the delivery of new cars have been damaging to sales, and the lack of availability at dealerships is forcing many consumers to either look for used cars or simply delay their purchase. In usual circumstances, consumers may expect to wait lots of months for a new Ferrari, but they are now experiencing the same delay for regular models.” 

European Car Market by Fuel Type in August 2021

In August 2021 the European new car market contracted by 18% -- sales of electrified vehicles were higher than diesels for the first time ever in Europe.

Despite these challenges, the performance of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid cars continues to grow. A sharp increase in demand in August 2021 saw these vehicles post their second-highest ever monthly market share at 21%. The 151,737 units registered last month marks a year-on-year increase of 61% and takes total volume since January to 1.32 million units.

Munoz continued: “Although deals and incentives have played a significant part in boosting demand, we have seen a fundamental shift in buying habits as more appealing models have entered the market and consumers have become aware of the benefits attached to EVs.”

European Car Sales by Fuel Type

In August 2021, EVs and plug-in hybrids outsold their diesel counterparts. This time last year, the volume of EVs was 158,300 units less than diesel car registrations, however last month we saw these EVs outsell diesel vehicles by 10,100 units. Demand was particularly strong for the electric versions of the Fiat 500, Peugeot 208, Hyundai Kona, Opel Corsa, and Kia Niro, in addition to the outstanding results of the Volkswagen ID.3 – Europe’s top-selling EV during the month.

Best-Selling Car Models in Europe in August 2021

Top Ten Best Selling Cars in Europe in August 2021

The Dacia Sandero secured the top spot in the general rankings as the most registered car in Europe for the second consecutive month in August 2021. Despite availability issues, the third generation is proving to be a true success for Dacia. Deals introduced over the course of the year have helped this low-cost subcompact become Europe’s fifth best-selling car between January and August.

The Dacia outsold the Volkswagen Golf, in second position, which posted a year-on-year monthly decrease of 38%, but still leads the year-to-date rankings. Dacia’s Duster also entered the top 5 in fourth position, increasing its volume by 4%. Other notable achievements include the Fiat 500, which was boosted by the EV model, the Hyundai Tucson, and the BMW 3-Series which topped the premium rankings. Neither the Peugeot 208 nor the Renault Clio managed a top-ten placing in Europe in August 2021.

Among the latest launches, the much-anticipated Tesla Model Y entered the top 10 of the BEV rankings despite only hitting the market in August. Alongside this, the Ford Mustang Mach E also made the top ten; the Volkswagen ID.3 occupied the 15th position in the general rankings; Opel/Vauxhall registered 4,900 units of the new Mokka, and Volkswagen followed with 4,600 units of the ID.4. Citroen registered 4,600 units of the C4; the Cupra Formentor again performed well with more than 4,300 units, followed by the Renault Arkana which registered 4,341 units.

Car Sales Statistics for Europe in 2021

→  Latest European Car Sales Statistics

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.