2023 (October) Europe: Car Sales and Market Analysis

2023 (October): New passenger vehicle registrations in Europe increased by 14% with the Dacia Sandero and Fiat 500 the top-selling car models.

2023 (October): New passenger vehicle registrations in Europe increased by 14% with the Dacia Sandero and Fiat 500 the top-selling car models.
Fiat 500 © Stellantis

The European new car market grew for the 15th consecutive month in October 2023 when sales were up 14% to just over a million passenger vehicle registrations. Electric car sales continued to grow faster to take a 15% share of the European new car market. Volkswagen, Toyota, and Audi were the best-selling car brands in Europe in October 2023 while the top-selling car models were the Dacia Sandero, Fiat 500, and Renault Clio. The Tesla Model Y, Skoda Enyaq, and Tesla Model 3 were the favorite battery-electric car models in Europe in October 2023.

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

European New Car Market in October 2023

2023 (October): New passenger vehicle registrations in Europe increased by 14% with the Dacia Sandero and Fiat 500 the top-selling car models.

The European new car market expanded by 14% in October 2023 with 1,040,278 passenger vehicles registered compared to 903,533 cars in October 2022. However, the market is still below the October sales in 2020 (1.12 million cars) and 2019 (1.2 million cars).

According to JATO Dynamics data for 28 European markets, October 2023 marked the fifteenth consecutive month of volume growth in the European new car market, with year-to-date 2023 registrations reaching 10,677,402 – a 17% year-on-year rise.

Felipe Munoz, Global Analyst at JATO Dynamics, commented: “Overall, October’s new vehicle registration data suggests that the European car market is more resilient and better prepared for the prospect of an economic downturn in the coming months.”

Increase in Battery Electric Car Sales in Europe

The growth recorded in October 2023 can largely be attributed to the rising demand for battery electric vehicles (BEVs), a trend that has been driven by the range of incentives available to European consumers. Registrations of pure electric models across Europe rose by 30% to 157,957 with BEVs accounting for 15% of total new registrations in October in 2023.

Since January 2023, more than 1.6 million electric vehicles have been registered across Europe. Munoz added: “The increasing demand for electric cars is more a response to the range of deals on offer and the increase in supply, rather than competitiveness in price and the variety of models available.”

Although Norway continued to be the leading market for BEV penetration, the most significant growth is taking place elsewhere in Europe. Last month, Finland saw the largest increase in BEV market share, almost doubling from 20% of the total market in October 2022 to 36% in October 2023. Finland was followed by Luxembourg, where the market share of BEVs rose to 30%, and Denmark, where the figure increased from 22% to 36%. By contrast, BEV market share in Croatia dropped from an already low base of 3.1% in October 2022 to 1.8% last month, while BEVs also lost traction in Ireland and Germany.

Top Selling Electric Car Models in Europe in October 2023

Top Selling Battery Electric car models BEV in Europe in october 2023

The increase in BEV registrations in Europe in October 2023 was largely driven by three major players: Tesla, BMW Group, and Chinese group SAIC Motor. Tesla registrations across all models tripled from October 2022 thanks to strong sales of the Model Y and the Model 3. However, due to a more limited line-up, the US manufacturer failed to keep pace with the bigger automotive groups, such as Volkswagen, BMW Group, and Stellantis, in total registrations. In October 2023, Volkswagen was the best-selling group in the BEV segment, followed by the BMW Group, which recorded a 53% increase in BEV registrations with 18,297 units, thanks to strong results with the i4 and iX1.

China’s SAIC Motor, the owner of MG and Maxus, recorded a 66% increase in registrations with 8,841 units. The MG 4 recorded impressive growth, ranking as the most popular electric hatchback in October and the fourth best-selling BEV in Europe, with sales 1.6 times higher than its rival, the Volkswagen ID.3. Munoz highlighted: “The MG 4 is a prime example of how China’s OEMs are becoming more competitive – not only in terms of price, but also in terms of specifications.”

Tesla Model Y Car Sales in Europe in 2023

Tesla Model Y sales in europe in 2023

Although it did not top the table for monthly registrations in Europe in October, the Tesla Model Y remains the most popular new passenger vehicle in 2023 so far. Munoz continued: “The Tesla Model Y is the gold standard for those looking to buy an electric vehicle. It is an SUV, it has competitive features, and its price continues to fall.”

Over 209,000 Tesla Model Y cars were registered between January and October 2023 in Europe — an increase from 85,823 units in the same period in 2022. The Model Y is on course to become Europe’s most registered new vehicle by the end of this year. This would be the first time a non-European model tops the annual ranking.

Registrations of the Model Y since January totaled 209,503 units, accounting for 13% of all BEV registrations, and exceeding the 165,594 BEVs registered by Volkswagen brand, and the 206,100 units registered by Seat across all powertrains.

Best-Selling Car Brands in Europe in October 2023

The 25 top-selling car brands in Europe in October 2023 according to JATO were:

The 25 top-selling car brands in Europe in October 2023 according to JATO

Volkswagen and Toyota remained the largest carmakers in Europe in 2023 although both brands lost market share and VW had even lower volume sales than a year ago. Audi and BMW outperformed the broader market but Mercedes-Benz underperformed. Renault and Skoda made strong gains but Peugeot sales increased below the market average.

Dacia sales were up by a third — the best-performing top-ten brand in Europe in October 2023. Although Tesla sales tripled, October is often a low sales volume month for Tesla in Europe.

Top Selling Car Models in Europe in October 2023

The 25 top-selling car models in Europe in October 2023 according to JATO were:

The 25 top-selling car models in Europe in October 2023 according to JATO

The Dacia Sandero was the top-selling car model in Europe in October 2023 but it is only second behind the Tesla Model Y for the first ten months of 2023. Model Y sales were only good enough for 22nd place in October 2023 but still around 13,000 cars ahead of the Sandero over the course of 2023.

The Fiat 500 was the second best-selling car despite weaker sales. In a first for a foreign car, the Fiat 500 was the best-selling car model in Germany in October 2023.

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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.