2023 (January) Europe: Car Sales and Market Analysis

In January 2023, the European new car market grew by 11% with Volkswagen, Toyota, and Skoda the leading brands and a record 51% of all new cars sold in Europe SUVs.

In January 2023, the European new car market grew by 11% with Volkswagen, Toyota, and Skoda the leading brands and a record 51% of all new cars sold in Europe SUVs.
© Renault Group

New passenger vehicle registrations in Europe increased by 11% in January 2023 to 907,000 cars but the market was still far smaller than in pre-pandemic years. SUVs took a new record 51% of the European new car market. Volkswagen remained the leading car brand followed by Toyota and Skoda. The Dacia Sandero was the top-selling car model followed by the VW T-Roc and Toyota Yaris. The Tesla Model Y was by far the most popular battery-electric car model in Europe at the start of 2023.

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

European New Car Market in 2023 (January)

In January 2023, the European new car market registered a total of 907,000 units – an 11% increase when compared with sales in January 2022, which was the worst January car sales in Europe since 1991.

In January 2023, the European new car market registered a total of 907,000 units – an 11% increase when compared with sales in January 2022, which was the worst January car sales in Europe since 1991. However, these results mark an improvement on January 2021 when Europe’s economies were recovering from the pandemic while the industry was facing the worst of the global semiconductor shortage.

Despite this progress, volume continued to lag behind pre-pandemic levels. New passenger vehicle registrations in Europe totaled 1.13 million cars in January 2020, and 1.22 million units in January 2019. Felipe Munoz, Global Analyst at JATO Dynamics, commented: “We are seeing positive signs, but not enough to take the market back to the position it was in before the pandemic hit. The reality is that we might never see sales at that level again.

SUVs Took Record Market Share in Europe in 2023 (January)

In January 2023, growth in European new car sales was largely driven by SUVs. According to JATO Dynamics data, registrations across all SUV types  (small, compact, midsize, luxury) totaled 464,900 units, up by 14% compared to January 2022. With a market share of 51.3%, January marked the first time that SUVs have accounted for more than half of total new car registrations in Europe.

Munoz, continued: “The recent EV boom drew attention away from SUVs, but due to their popularity with consumers around the world, they continue to play an important role in driving the slow recovery of the industry.” Compact SUVs (C-SUVs) accounted for almost half of all SUV registrations, while the smallest models (B-SUVs) accounted for 38% of the total.

Volkswagen Group led the segment with 129,500 units (+33%), followed by Stellantis with 62,800 units (-7%), Hyundai-Kia with 46,200 units (-5%), Toyota with 38,300 units (+11%), and Renault Group with 34,300 units (+20%). Chinese brands registered 12,100 units –  an increase of 109%.

Top-Selling Car Brands in Europe in 2023 (January)

The 25 best-selling car brands in Europe in January 2023 were as follows according to JATO:

The 25 best-selling car brands in Europe in January 2023 were as follows according to JATO:

Volkswagen remained the leading car brand in Europe in the first month of 2023 with sales up by 17%. Toyota also had stronger sales while Skoda moved ahead of Mercedes Benz. Of the top brands, Dacia was the most improved while Peugeot, BMW, and Ford had lower sales.

Battery-Electric Vehicle Sales in Europe in January 2023

The top-selling BEV and PHEV in Europe in January 2023 were as follows according to JATO:

The top-selling BEV and PHEV in Europe in January 2023 were as follows according to JATO

Registrations of Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) or pure electric cars, increased by 14% to more than 92,700 units in Europe in January 2023. However, growth slowed when compared with 2022. Munoz, added: “Without affordable options from OEMs or more attractive incentives from governments across Europe, it seems that demand may be close to reaching a peak.”

Unlike in previous years, Tesla performed well during the first month of the quarter with a 1018% increase in volume to almost 9,400 units. In addition to the strong performance of the Model Y – Europe’s best-selling BEV in January – and the Model 3, Tesla also successfully reintroduced the Model S and Model X.

Tesla outpaced Volkswagen by just 10 units, but the German manufacturer saw a considerably lower increase in volume of 29%. Its sister brand Audi followed with 6,400 units, up by 7% but less than the 28% and 16% increases posted by rivals BMW and Mercedes, respectively.

The Tesla Model Y, Dacia Spring, Volkswagen ID.3 and ID.4, and the Fiat 500 led the BEV ranking while the Volvo XC40 and Renault Megane also entered the top 10 due to strong increases in volume.

Chinese-owned MG registered more electric cars than major players brands such as Kia, Fiat, Skoda, and Opel/Vauxhall. Other notable Chinese brands include BYD with 139 units, Aiways with 82 units, DFSK with 50 units, ORA with 23 units, and NIO with 20 units.

Top 25 Best-Selling Car Models in Europe in 2023 (January)

The 25 best-selling car models in Europe in January 2023 were as follows:

As seen in 2022, the Dacia Sandero led the overall model ranking by model in January thanks to strong demand in France where it topped the ranking, and in Italy as the country’s third best-selling vehicle. The Dacia Duster also entered the top 10 and outsold Renault in the ranking by brands.

As seen in 2022, the Dacia Sandero led the overall model ranking by model in Europe in January 2023 thanks to strong demand in France where it topped the ranking, and in Italy as the country’s third best-selling vehicle. The Dacia Duster also entered the top 10 and outsold Renault in the ranking by brands.

Toyota’s Yaris and Yaris Cross were the third and fourth most registered vehicles, respectively. The Fiat 500 again performed well, despite a 1% decrease in sales of the electric version due to a downturn in demand for BEVs in Italy.

Among the new entries, Dacia registered 6,939 units of the Jogger; Renault registered 3,629 units of the Austral; Toyota registered 3,483 units of the Corolla Cross; MG registered 2,285 units of the 4; Alfa Romeo registered 2,169 units of the Tonale; Mazda registered 1,398 units of the CX-60; Peugeot registered 1,308 units of the 408; and Nissan registered 1,296 units of the new X-Trail.

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