2023 (August) Europe: Car Sales and Market Analysis

August 2023: New passenger vehicle registrations in Europe increased by 21% with electric car sales doubling and the Tesla Model Y the top-selling car model overall.

August 2023: New passenger vehicle registrations in Europe increased by 21% with electric car sales doubling and the Tesla Model Y the top-selling car model overall.
Courtesy of Tesla, Inc

The European new car market expanded by over a fifth in August 2023 to mark the 13th month of stronger passenger vehicle registrations. Battery-electric car sales more than doubled — in part due to strong registration in Germany where a subsidy is expiring. Although Volkswagen and Toyota remained the best-selling car brands in Europe, both strongly underperformed the market and lost market share. The Tesla Model Y was again the top-selling car model and Europe’s favorite battery-electric car in August 2023.

Latest European Car Market Statistics 2023: January, February, Q1, April, May, June (HY), July, August, September, Q3; 20222021 & 2020.

New Passenger Vehicle Registrations in Europe in August 2023

New passenger vehicle registrations in Europe (EU, EFTA, UK) increased by 20.7% in August 2023 to 904,509 cars compared to 749,388 in August 2022, according to the ACEA. August 2023 marked the 13th month of monthly increases in car sales in Europe.

Although the overall European new car market rose by 20.7%, the volume of electric cars increased by 102% and gasoline by just 11%. However, despite the smaller increase in volume, gasoline cars still accounted for more than half (53%) of the registrations. Felipe Munoz, Global Analyst at JATO Dynamics, commented: “Although the current industry debates often point towards a slowdown in growth for BEVs, our data shows that growth in demand remains strong, due to their increasingly competitive pricing, and continuous support from governments across Europe.”

In August 2023, the European Union (EU) petrol car market slightly increased by 2.1%, although its market share decreased from 38.7% to 32.7% compared to August 2022 (excluding petrol hybrids). EU battery-electric car registrations surged by 118.1%, reaching 165,165 units, accounting for 21% of the market. Diesel cars now have a market share of 12.5%, down from 16.1% in August 2022.

Electric Car Sales in Europe in 2023 (August)

According to JATO data for 28 European markets, 22% of total registrations were BEVs – equating to 196,000 units out of almost 900,000 units.

BEV registrations posted strong growth across Belgium (+224%), Greece (+183), Luxembourg (+164%), and Portugal (164%). With 171% registration growth in Germany, this country accounted for 44% of the European total demand. In contrast, BEVs sustained just a single-digit share in the Italian and Spanish markets, with a 5% and 7% share respectively. While BEVs in both Poland and the Czech Republic had just a 3% market share.

The German market was somewhat skewed by the ending of subsidies on electric cars for business buyers — Volkswagen complained of lower battery-electric car demand for the rest of the year and is closing factories in Germany. Munoz, added: “With an influx of Tesla models and the introduction of BEVs from Chinese OEMs – both of which are battling to produce competitively priced vehicles – demand for EVs across Europe is booming.”

Growth in Tesla and MG Sales in Europe in 2023

However, not all car manufacturers are being impacted by the BEV boom. Between January and August, Tesla’s registrations have rocketed from 45,600 units in 2020 to a record 236,400 units this year. Similarly, in August 2023, Tesla gained 2.43 points of market share in the overall European new car market, achieving a new record of 3.76%, while its share in the BEV market jumped from 10.2% in August 2022, to 17.3%.

Munoz, commented: “Multiple factors have led to this growth in demand for Tesla vehicles. However, most significantly, the recent price cuts of the Model 3 and Y have helped it keep momentum, despite a limited and somewhat outdated line-up. The question now is how European competitors will remain competitive and produce equally affordable BEVs.”

MG also steadily climbed the ranking in August – gaining the second-most market share between August 2022 and the same month this year, in both the BEV and overall markets. Last month, MG hit the European top 20 brands, outselling the likes of Jeep, Mazda, Mini, and Suzuki. In the BEV market, MG registered more cars than Audi, Opel/Vauxhall, Peugeot, Renault or Skoda.

Chinese branded car sales growth in Europe in 2023
© JATO

MG’s volume made up 69% of a total of 197,800 units registered by Chinese car brands through August. Despite success for some, many still face the challenge of shifting negative perceptions among consumers in Europe.

Best-Selling Car Brands in Europe in August 2023

The 25 top-selling car marques in Europe in August 2023 were:

Top 25 best-selling car brands in Europe in August 2023

Although Volkswagen and Toyota remained the two largest carmakers in Europe in August 2023, both lost market share. Tesla moved ahead of three main Stellantis brands: Opel, Citroen, and Fiat.

Ford, Hyundai-Kia, Stellantis, and the Volkswagen brand are among those impacted by the rise of Tesla and MG. For Stellantis, its brands Citroën and Peugeot will require more electric models as their diesel range continues to experience a fall in demand. While Hyundai-Kia and Volkswagen are posting increases with their electric models, growth is not keeping up with the market average, being overshadowed by the likes of Tesla and MG.

Top-Selling Car Models in Europe in August 2023

The 25 best-selling car models in Europe in August 2023 were:

Top 25 best-selling car models in Europe in August 2023

The Tesla Model Y again led the European overall ranking by models with 21,549 units, increasing by 208% from August 2022. During the first eight months of the year, its volume totaled 169,420 units – the highest among all models available in Europe. Munoz, noted: “It’s likely that the Model Y will become Europe’s most popular new passenger car by the end of the year. As a non-European model leading in Europe, it will be a remarkable and historic moment.” The Model Y led in Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland, as well as hitting the top five in both Germany and the UK.

Other models with strong sales increases in August 2023 included the Renault Clio (+145%); Tesla Model 3 (+307%); Volkswagen ID.4 (+61%); and the BMW X1 (+392%).

Best-Selling Electric Car Models in Europe in August 2023

The ten best-selling battery-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids in Europe in August 2023 were:

Best selling plug-in hybrids and electric cars in Europe in August 2023.

The Tesla Model Y was of course also the top-selling electric car model in Europe in August 2023 — sales tripled from a year ago. The Model 3 performed even stronger with sales up over 300% to take second place. It was followed by the Volkswagen ID4 and ID3.

Good performances were also recorded by the MG 4, the sixth top-selling BEV; and the BMW iX1 registered 4,693 units. These were stronger than results posted by the Mercedes EQA (3,706 units); and the Volvo XC40 BEV (3,108 units). The Renault Austral, with 4,460 units, was the fourth most popular Renault; and the Jeep Avenger saw a strong month with 3,669 units – 2,127 of which were pure electric.

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