2022 (May) Europe: Car Sales and Market Analysis

In May 2022, the car market in Europe contracted by 13% but electric vehicle sales increased with the Fiat 500 the top-selling BEV model.

In May 2022, the car market in Europe contracted by 13% but electric vehicle sales increased with the Fiat 500 the top-selling BEV model.
Nicolo’ Campo/LaPresse © Courtesy of Fiat

New passenger vehicle registrations in Europe were 13% lower in May 2022 and during the first five months of the year. Volkswagen remained the largest car manufacturer in Europe but Stellantis also had a solid performance and produced the three most popular car models in Europe in May 2022: the Peugeot 208, Opel / Vauxhall Corsa, and the Fiat / Abarth 500. The Fiat 500 and Peugeot 208 were also the top-selling battery-electric cars in Europe in May 2022.

Latest European Car Market Statistics 2022: By Country, Brands, Models, Electric, January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, Full Year, 2021 & 2020

Car Market in Europe in May 2022

In May 2022, the European new car market contracted by 13% with a total of 935,854 registered vehicles.

In May 2022, the European new car market contracted by 13% with a total of 935,854 registered vehicles. Car sales in Europe during the first five months of 2022 similarly contracted by 13% to only 4,482,463 units. This marks the worst performance in May since 1985 – excluding 2020 when many European economies were grappling with the worst of the pandemic.

Of the 27 European markets, only Romania, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, and Ireland experienced growth in May 2022, while 15 countries posted double-digit declines, including Europe’s big 5 (Germany, France, Spain, Italy, UK).

Top-Selling Car Manufacturers in Europe in May 2022

Car sales by top carmakers in Europe

The Volkswagen Group continued to lead the European new car market in 2022 with relatively strong performances from most of its brands. However, JATO noted a shift in the balance of power among Europe’s leading OEMs when compared to May 2021. Both the German manufacturer and Stellantis lost market share to Hyundai-Kia – the third largest OEM in Europe if Renault and Nissan are counted as separate companies.

In May 2022, Hyundai-Kia increased market share in Europe to 10.1% of the total market, selling close to 94,800 cars – 10% more than May 2021. Felipe Munoz, Global Analyst at JATO Dynamics, commented: “It’s remarkable to see Hyundai-Kia secure such an impressive result while other OEMs are struggling to absorb the combined impact of surging inflation, the geopolitical situation in Ukraine, and an ongoing chip shortage.” This is the sixth time that the Korean manufacturer has recorded more than 10% of the monthly market share in Europe.

Car Sales in Europe by Fuel Type in 2022 (May)

Car Sales in Europe by Fuel Type in 2022 (May)

Electric vehicles continued to be a key driver of growth for Europe’s carmakers. However, the segment is also experiencing the effects of the current crisis. EVs (BEV, PHEV, FCEV) registered 179,700 units in May 2022, up by 3.6% on the 173,400 units registered in the same month last year. The market share for these vehicles increased from 16.2% to 19.2%, and by 11.8 share points compared to May 2020. Munoz added: “The EV boom continues, but it seems that the industry has reached a peak in terms of what it can supply in the current climate”. Pure electric cars (BEV) accounted for 56% of the total, up by 19%, offset by the 12% decrease in PHEV registrations.

The BEV market was dominated by Volkswagen Group (24.4%), Stellantis (20.5%), and Hyundai-Kia (12.1%). Volkswagen Group, Ford, Nissan, Tesla, and Mazda did however post market share declines during the month. Total Tesla registrations in Europe in May 2022 were below 1,500 units. In contrast, volume soared by 197% for Chinese brands. Volume increased by 106% for the BMW Group, and by double-digits for Stellantis, Hyundai-Kia, Renault Group, Mercedes-Benz, Geely Group, Honda, and Toyota.

Best-Selling Car Models in Europe in May 2022

Best-Selling Electric Car Models in Europe in May 2022

The top three best-selling car models in Europe in May 2022 were all produced by Stellantis. The Peugeot 208 once again led with more than 18,250 units, up by 15%. The Opel/Vauxhall Corsa secured second place, up by 16%, followed by the Fiat/Abarth 500, up by 1%. Munoz added: “Due to ongoing shortages, availability is having a significant impact on the composition of the rankings and brands that are producing more vehicles are seeing this reflected in their sales performance.” In contrast to the progress made by Stellantis, Volkswagen saw declines for the T-Roc and Golf – the fourth and fifth most registered cars in Europe last month.

The Ford Kuga entered the top 10 recording a 47% increase in registrations. Kia made progress with the new generation Sportage (+41%) taking the compact SUV to 11th position in the overall model rankings. The Toyota Yaris Cross registered 10,800 units, becoming the 6th best-selling B-SUV, while the recently introduced all-new Peugeot 308 (+128%) secured third position in the C-Segment. There were also strong performances from the Nissan Qashqai, Cupra Formentor, and Renault Arkana.

Top-Selling Electric Car Models in Europe in May 2022

The Fiat 500 was again the most popular battery-electric vehicle (BEV) in Europe in May 2022 with an increase in registrations of 71%. While registrations fell in Italy (-27%), the two largest markets for the popular city car (France and Germany) increased by 152% and 95% respectively. The Fiat 500 was followed by another Stellantis model, the Peugeot 208, due to notably high demand in the UK (+106%) and the Netherlands (+365%). VW Group secured third place in the BEV rankings with the Volkswagen ID.4, despite a 12% decrease in volume following declines in Germany, its largest market.

Stellantis led the PHEV market with a 19.2% market share, followed by Volkswagen Group with 16.5%, and BMW with 15%. The success of the French-Italian-American manufacturer was driven by the strong performance of the Jeep Compass with its best result to date as the second most registered model in the segment, outsold only by the Ford Kuga.

Europe Car Sales Statistics for 2022

→  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.