September 2023: New passenger vehicle registrations in Europe (EU, UK, EFTA) increased by 10% but the growth in car sales is slowing down.
New car sales in Europe (EU, UK, and EFTA countries) increased by 10% in September 2023 — although the 14th consecutive month of year-on-year increases, September marked the slowest market expansion thus far in 2023. Electric car sales increased by 13% with SUVs taking a record 54% of total new passenger vehicle registrations in Europe in September 2023. The Tesla Model Y was the best-selling car model in Europe in September 2023 and the first three quarters of 2023.
European New Car Market in September 2023
In September 2023, European (EU, EFTA, UK) new passenger vehicle registrations increased by 10% to 1,155,648 cars — the slowest rate of growth recorded this year. In September 2022, total sales were 1,038,481, up from 965,595 in September 2021. In comparison to September 2020, when the pandemic was impacting the market, total volume was down by 11% while sales in September 2019 were 1,285,494 cars.
Felipe Munoz, Global Analyst at JATO Dynamics, commented: “Despite financial pressures such as rising inflation and interest rates, alongside geopolitical uncertainty, the European car market has seen consistent growth over the course of this year. While EVs have been a key driver of this growth, it is unlikely that this will be sustained for much longer, considering truly affordable ICE alternatives now remain a rarity in the market.”
Record SUV and Electric Car Sales in Europe in 2023 (September)
The demand for electric vehicles in Europe remained high despite the lack of affordable EVs on the European new car market. In September 2023, EV registrations in Europe totalled 186,380 cars accounting for a 16.1% share of the total new car market – an increase of 13% compared to September 2022.
The popularity of SUVs continues to support BEV sales, accounting for 60% of total BEV volumes in September 2023. The market share of these vehicles was even higher than the record 54% seen in the overall market. Munoz, continued: “The impact of SUVs on the traditional market has fed through to the EV market. Their strong sales performance is largely due to the increasingly broad offer spanning both luxury and smaller more affordable models.”
During the first three quarters of 2023, a total of 1,465,249 new electric passenger cars have been registered in Europe for a 47% increase when compared with the same period in 2023. Munoz, added: “Despite higher prices, these vehicles have a considerable presence within the market. Now, we will only see this growth continue if and when cheaper alternatives arrive.”
To read more about the gap in price between EVs and ICE vehicles, see JATO’s (free) report, ‘EV price gap: A divide in the global automotive industry’. A key take out: “In H1 2023, an electric car cost €31,165 in China, €66,864 in Europe (+115% vs China) in Europe, and €68,023 (+118% vs China) in the US… over 78% of electric car sales in H1 2023 in China were for models priced below €40,000/$43,500, with one-third of these priced below €20,000/$21,700.”
Best-Selling Car Brands in Europe in September 2023
The 25 best-selling car brands in Europe in September 2023 were:
Volkswagen remained by far the largest carmaker and brand in Europe in September 2023 despite underperforming the broader market during the month. However, during the first three quarters of 2023, Volkswagen again gained market share — see also 2023 (Q1-Q3) Europe: Best-Selling Car Manufacturers and Brands.
Despite the success of the Model Y, which was the most popular car in Europe in September 2023, Tesla’s registrations fell by 19% in September due to declining demand for the Model 3. The midsize sedan is currently undergoing a facelift which can dampen sales performance in the short term as consumers wait for the arrival of the new model.
In contrast, MG registered more than 26,500 units, marking a 91% increase on the same month last year. This takes the brand’s year-to-date 2023 volume to almost 163,200 units, up by 126%. In terms of volume, MG is already outperforming competitors including Suzuki, Mazda, and Mini.
Best-Selling Car Models in Europe in September 2023
The 25 best-selling car models in Europe in September 2023 were:
In September 2023, Tesla’s electric SUV, the Model Y, was Europe’s most popular new car with 29,309 units registered – topping both the monthly and year-to-date rankings. Munoz, added: “It’s very likely that the Tesla Model Y will finish the year as Europe’s most registered new vehicle. Considering Tesla’s strong performance across its range, the brand also has the potential to shock the industry by outselling legacy local OEMs such as Fiat or Citröen.”
Model Y sales were slightly weaker than in September 2022 while regular top-three cars such as the Peugeot 208, Renault Clio, and Volkswagen Golf had strong sales increases.
The MG ZS also has also been gaining traction – up by 118% to 11,862 units becoming Europe’s 12th best-selling SUV during the month. Other models that performed well include the Nissan Juke, up by 93% to 8,583 units; the Seat/Cupra Leon (+93%); the BMW X3 (+53%); the Mercedes GLC (+269%); and the BMW X1 (+177%).
Europe’s Favorite Electric Car Models in 2023 (September)
The top-selling PHEV and BEV car models in Europe in September 2023 were:
In September 2023, the Tesla Model Y was the top-selling car model and battery-electric vehicle in Europe despite slightly weaker sales. The MG 4 was Europe’s second most registered electric vehicle – its best performance since being introduced in September 2022. Over this period, MG has registered more than 57,800 units of this compact hatchback.
The Peugeot 208 was the third most popular electric car with sales up 62% compared to an increase of only 13% for the model as a whole. The Fiat 500 narrowly outsold the Volkswagen ID4 and Skoda Enyaq.