In April 2022, the European new car market was another 20% weaker with electric vehicles gaining market share but selling in lower numbers. The Peugeot 208 was the top-selling car model in Europe.
New passenger vehicle registrations in Europe contracted by another fifth in April 2022 with new car sales down 13% during the first trimester of 2022 to the lowest levels seen since 1991. Electrified cars continued to gain market share despite also selling in lower numbers in Europe in April 2022. The Peugeot 208 was the top-selling car model and the Fiat 500 was the best-selling battery-electric vehicle in Europe in April 2022. The Peugeot 208 was Europe’s favorite car during the first four months of the year.
New Car Market in Europe in 2022 (April)
According to JATO Dynamics data for 27 European markets, total new passenger vehicle registrations in Europe (including the EU, EFTA, and UK) were down 20% in April 2022 to only 821,000 cars. In April 2021, the European new car market saw an increase of 261% when compared to April 2020 – registering 1,029,008 units. However, even that was well below the long-run average for April.
The semiconductor shortage, combined with the inflationary crisis and geopolitical situation between Russia and Ukraine, continued to impact the European automotive market in April. European new car registrations fell by 20% to just 821,000 units. The US market saw a similar drop of 18%, however in China, recent lockdowns resulted in a significant 48% decline in sales.
Felipe Munoz, Global Analyst at JATO Dynamics, commented: “It’s concerning to see European sales falling at such a rate despite the global easing of Covid-19 restrictions. The worst of the pandemic damaged sales for several months, but the chip shortage looks set to be even more sustained in its impact on the market.” Year-to-date, new vehicle registrations dropped by 13% to 3.55 million units, the second lowest result since at least 1991.
New Car Sales in Europe by Fuel Type in April 2022
Although petrol remained by far the most popular fuel type for new cars registered in Europe in April 2022, plug-in electric cars continued to gain market share at the expense of diesel. However, plug-in electric cars are probably mostly driven on petrol most of the time.
In April 2022, plug-in electric vehicles (EVs including both BEV and PHEV vehicles) posted a 1.4% decline compared to April 2021. Volume fell from 156,371 units in 2021 to 154,219 in April 2022 – the second year-on-year drop since April 2020.
While OEMs have prioritized sales of EVs (along with SUVs), supply is failing to meet the demand generated by the generous incentives available to consumers. BEV demand actually increased by 13% to 83,000 units in April 2022, but the popularity of PHEVs fell as, in most cases, these vehicles are not eligible for the deals available for fully electric models with sales down by 15%. Also, for many the expensive of buying and maintaining two forms of propulsion simply is not an economical (or environmentally friendly) option.
Best-Selling Carmakers and Brands in Europe in April 2022
The Volkswagen Group remained the largest car manufacturer by far in Europe in April 2022 with a 24% market share, followed by Stellantis with 19%, and Hyundai-Kia with 10%. The South Korean brands seemed able to deliver cars to the market while other manufacturers struggled with production.
In April 2022, Stellantis led the OEM BEV registrations for the first time with 16,600 units, or 20% of the market – outpacing Volkswagen Group whose volume fell by 37% following production issues at its plants. Hyundai-Kia took 15.1% of the market, marking an increase in volume of 61%. BMW and Mercedes-Benz performed markedly better with electrified cars than their overall market share while Toyota is seriously falling behind in the EV market in Europe.
Year-to-date 2022, Volkswagen remains the market leader with 18.2% of the EV market and a volume increase of 8%, but this falls short of its overall market share of almost 24%. Stellantis follows in second place with 15.7%, compared to a 19.1% share in the overall market. Tesla comes in at third place with an EV market share of almost 15%. This falls to 1.7% in the overall market when competitor sales across all other fuel types are factored in.
Best-Selling Car Models in Europe in April 2022
In April 2022, the Peugeot 208 was Europe’s favorite car with 15,615 registration. The Peugeot 208 was also the top-selling car model during the first trimester of 2022. Despite a drop of 15%, the French manufacturer was able to increase its lead on Volkswagen Golf which led the market in 2021. The VW Golf dropped to 14th in April 2022 with 10,056 sales — even the Polo sold better.
From the top 10, only the Kia Sportage recorded an increase (+53%) thanks to the success of its latest generation. The popularity of the new Nissan Qashqai also resulted in a 23% increase in registrations. The Toyota Yaris Cross continued to climb the rankings (it was the 7th best-selling SUV during the month) at the expense of lower volumes for the regular Yaris, down by 28%.
As Tesla traditionally registers fewer new cars at the beginning of each quarter, the Fiat 500 was able to take the top spot as Europe’s most-registered fully electric car in April. With 5,524 units – up by 69% compared to April 2021 – it secured a significant lead on the Peugeot e-208 in second place. In fact, the 500 led the rankings in three out of five big markets in Europe (Germany, France, Italy), as well as Switzerland, and Luxembourg. In the year-to-date ranking, it took third place, outsold only by the Tesla Model 3 and Model Y. However, with just over 700 sales each in April 2022, the Tesla models failed to make the list of the top 20 battery-electric vehicles sales in Europe for the month.