In February 2023, new car sales in Europe increased 12% while the battery-electric car market expanded by a third and the Tesla Model Y was the top-selling model overall.
New passenger vehicle registrations in Europe increased to 900,000 cars in February 2023 — the second consecutive month of double-digit growth. Battery-electric car sales increased by 33% and the Tesla Model Y was the top-selling car model overall in Europe in February 2023. Year-to-date 2023, the Dacia Sandero is Europe’s favorite car model while Volkswagen was the largest car brand.
European New Car Market in February 2023
In February 2023, new passenger vehicle registrations in Europe increased to just over 900,000 units – up by 12% in comparison to February 2022. Registrations from January and February 2023 combined amounted to 1.81 million units – 11% higher than the first two months of 2022 when the market was at record lows.
Felipe Munoz, Global Analyst at JATO Dynamics, commented: “While big structural problems persist, results from 2023 so far indicate that consumers are responding positively to more competitive offers in the market. However, rising interest rates – due to hit the market in coming months – may make consumer access to loans more difficult, potentially impacting purchasing decisions.”
Italy, Spain, the UK, and Belgium saw strong, double-digit growth rates in February 2023. The only countries that experienced a decline in growth were Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Cyprus.
Strong Battery-Electric Car Sales in Europe in 2023 (February)
Increasing demand for pure electric cars aided the overall positive car sales in Europe in February 2023. According to JATO data, 118,329 pure electric cars were registered last month – an increase of 33% from February 2022.
Munoz, continued: “Norway is no longer contributing to the growth of BEVs in Europe, despite being an industry leader for many years.” Norway was the fifth largest BEV market last month, outshone by substantial growth in Germany, France, the UK, and the Netherlands – the four largest BEV markets in February. Although market penetration of battery cars remains very high in Norway, the sheer volume of the German and France markets will continue to be more important.
The accelerated adoption of BEVs across the region comes as a result of competitive deals and offers in the market, alongside declining consumer concern about battery range and charging anxiety. BEV market share grew across 25 markets. Finland led the charge with an increase of almost 18 points between February 2022 and February 2023. Double-digit market share was recorded for BEVs in 14 countries: Ireland, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Austria, Portugal, Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, the UK, Germany, and Switzerland.
Best-Selling Car Brands in Europe in February 2023
The 25 top-selling car brands in Europe in February 2023 according to JATO were:
Volkswagen remained the clear market leader in Europe and pulled ahead of other top brands with sales up by nearly a quarter. Toyota was again the second-largest car brand in Europe in February 2023 while Peugeot recovered third place ahead of Skoda. The only top brand with weaker sales was BMW.
Despite the strong performance by Tesla, Tesla sales remained only around a quarter of VW sales in Europe in February 2023.
Chinese-produced cars struggled in Europe. In February 2023, only 2.7% of new cars registered in Europe were made in Europe, a minimal decline from 2.9% in February 2022.
Munoz, commented: “The entrance of Chinese vehicles into Europe is not taking place as quickly as many expected. There is clearly more work to be done on the models, production, and marketing plans before these brands can successfully expand into the region.”
Best-Selling BEV and PHEV in Europe in 2023 (February)
The top-selling electric and plug-in electric cars in Europe in February 2023 were as follows according to JATO:
This growth trend for BEVs can also be seen in the overall ranking. The Tesla Model Y was the top-selling vehicle in Europe in February 2023 – despite February usually seeing fewer registration from Tesla. Munoz, added: “If this trend continues, by the end of this year the Model Y could easily secure a place in the European top 10 bestselling cars ranking.”
This Model Y was in the top 5 registered models for Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, and Portugal. It was also the 10th most registered passenger car in the year-to-date ranking. However, the rise in its popularity has resulted in less volume for the Model 3 – which recorded a fall of 49% in contrast to February 2022 registrations — the only top-ten BEV with lower volumes.
Best-Selling Car Models in Europe in 2023 (February)
The 25 best-selling car models in Europe in February 2023 according to JATO were:
The Tesla Model Y was not only the best-selling electric car model in Europe in February 2023 but the top-selling car model overall. Sales of the Model Y almost doubled from a year ago and were only 15 units more than the Dacia Sandero. Year-to-date 2023, the Dacia Sandero remained Europe’s favorite car.
The Peugeot 208 recovered after a slow start to the year. The VW Gold was the only top-ten model with weaker sales volumes than in February 2022.