In April 2023, new car sales in Europe increased by 16% with Volkswagen the top-selling brand and the Dacia Sandero the best-selling model.
New passenger vehicle registrations in Europe (EU, UK, and EFTA) increased to 960,191 (+16%) cars with growth in all major European countries. The Volkswagen Group increased its market share to over a quarter of the European new car market and VW remained the leading brand followed by Audi and Toyota. The Dacia Sandero was the most popular car in Europe in April 2023 but the Tesla Model Y, the best-selling electric vehicle, remained the most-registered nameplate in Europe thus far in 2023.
European New Car Market in April 2023
In April 2023, European new passenger car registrations totaled 960,191 units – an increase of 16% marking a ninth consecutive month of growth in the EU, UK, and EFTA countries. Felipe Munoz, Global Analyst at JATO Dynamics, commented: “These results are directly related to the easing of supply chain pressures which has increased the availability of new cars. On top of this, demand has continued to rise in response to the push from OEMs to widen their EV offering.”
The positive results in April 2023 were largely due to the increasing demand for BEVs (battery electric vehicles). According to JATO Dynamics’ data for 28 European markets, these vehicles represented 13% of the total volume – an increase of almost three percentage points compared to April 2022. Munoz, continued: “Tesla and MG fuelled the growth of BEVs last month. Consumers appear to be responding well to wider competitive offers and good deals presented by the two OEMs.”
The Volkswagen Group led the BEV rankings with an increase in registrations of 98% to almost 31,900 units – more than double the 14,200 units registered by Tesla – up by 865%. (Tesla deliveries in April 2022 were particularly low.) Stellantis followed in second place but lost ground due to a significantly smaller increase in BEV volumes of just 5%. Geely, and the remaining Chinese manufacturers combined, also performed well registering a total 8,334 and 7,114 units respectively.
Stellantis, Volkswagen Group, and Geely also led in the registration of PHEVs (plug-in hybrid electric vehicles). Demand for these vehicles remained stable with a total of 71,960 registered units, although sales in Germany, the largest market for PHEV dropped by 46% — incentives were dropped from the start of 2023.
Vehicles manufactured in China accounted for just 3.4% of all new vehicle registrations with a total of nearly 32,000 units. This figure includes vehicles produced by Chinese OEMs and vehicles produced by Western OEMs in China such as the BMW iX3, Smart #1, Polestar 2, Dacia Spring, and Citroën C5 X.
Munoz commented: “In contrast to the emerging narrative, China’s carmakers are gaining traction less quickly than many have predicted. While analysts anticipated a more dramatic uptick in demand, there remains a need to increase awareness and shift perceptions for these vehicles to become popular with consumers.”
Car Sales in the European Union (EU) in April 2023
In the European Union (EU) only, passenger car registrations increased in April 2023 by 17.2% to 803,188 vehicles, according to the ACEA. All the EU’s major markets grew with Italy (+29.2%) and France (+21.9%) leading the way.
From January to April 2023, the EU new car market grew by 17.8% to 3.5 million registered cars. However, car sales were still down by 22.8% compared to the same period in 2019. Among the four major EU markets, Spain (+33.7%) saw the highest gains, followed by Italy (+26.9%), France (+16.7%), and Germany (+7.9%).
Car Sales by Fuel Type in the European Union in April 2023
In April 2023, EU registrations of new battery electric cars recorded a significant increase (+51.9%), reaching 94,561 units. This represents a market share of 11.8%, an increase of almost 3% compared to April 2022. Most EU markets recorded double- and triple-digit percentage gains, including the two largest: France (+34.8%) and Germany (+34.1%). This amounted to a cumulative increase of 45.1%, with 415,579 units sold in the first four months of 2023.
Petrol remained the most popular fuel in Europe. Although only 28% of new cars in Europe are purely petrol-engined, most hybrids (HEV) and plugins (PHEV) are primarily petrol driven too.
Best-Selling Car Brands in Europe in April 2023
The top-selling car brands in Europe in April 2023 according to JATO were:
Most major brands had stronger sales in Europe in April 2023. Volkswagen remained by far the largest car brand in Europe followed by Audi which moved into second place with Toyota slipping to third with sales slightly lower.
The Volkswagen Group increased its share of the European new car market to 27.3% in April 2023 (25.7% year-to-date 2023) according to the ACEA. VW was followed by Stellantis (17.5%) and the Renault Group (10.2%).
In April 2023, SUV registrations in Europe totaled just over 492,000 units to reach a record market share of 51.3% – an increase of 0.7 percentage points when compared with April 2022. The Volkswagen Group, Stellantis, and Hyundai-Kia dominated the segment. The SUV model ranking was led by the Volkswagen T-Roc, Toyota Yaris Cross, Dacia Duster, Kia Sportage, and Hyundai Tucson.
Top-Selling Car Models in Europe in April 2023
The 25 best-selling car models in Europe in April 2023 according to JATO were:
The Dacia Sandero led the overall model ranking with almost 18,700 units – an increase of 44%. The hatchback was the most-registered car in Belgium and Ireland, and the second most-registered in Portugal and Spain. Dacia also saw a 147% increase in registrations of the Jogger with a total of 7,237 units, boosting the brand’s total volume by 44%.
The Sandero was followed by the Volkswagen T-Roc, which was also the top-selling SUV in Europe. Of the top-ten models, the most improved were the Renault Clio which doubled sales, and the Skoda Octavia, which more than tripled sales. Skoda was particularly badly affected by supply issues in 2022.
BEV and PHEV Car Sales in Europe in April 2023
The top-selling battery-electric (BEV) and plug-in hybrids (PHEV) in Europe in April 2023 were
Although the Tesla Model Y was only the 17th most popular car in Europe in April 2023, with 10,600 registered units, it was Europe’s favorite electric car model and it remained the most registered car model thus far in 2023.
Although the VW ID4 and ID3 were far behind the Model Y in overall sales, the percentage increases were a notable 125% and 259% respectively.
Among the latest launches, Renault registered 6,135 units of the Austral, while MG registered 4,174 units of the MG 4 – the sixth best-selling BEV in April. Alfa Romeo registered 3,235 units of the Tonale, accounting for 71% of the brand’s total volume. BMW registered 2,355 units of the iX1 – the brand’s second best-selling BEV behind the i4.