2024 (May) Europe: Car Sales and Market Analysis

May 2024: New passenger vehicle registrations in Europe (EU, EFTA, UK) were slightly weaker but car sales of battery-electric vehicles contracted by 11%.

May 2024: New passenger vehicle registrations in Europe (EU, EFTA, UK) were slightly weaker but car sales of battery-electric vehicles contracted by 11%.
© Volkswagen AG

The European new car market contracted slightly in May 2024 largely due to weaker electric car sales. Volkswagen and Toyota remained the largest car brands in Europe. The Volkswagen T-Roc, VW Golf, and Dacia Sandero were the top-selling car models in Europe while the Tesla Model Y and Model 3 were again Europe’s favorite battery-electric car models.

Latest European Car Market Statistics 2024: January, February, March, April, May; 2023: By CountryBrandsModelsElectric Models.

European New Car Market in May 2024

New passenger vehicle registrations in the European new car market (including the EU, EFTA, and the UK) in May 2024 contracted by 2.5% to 1,087,699 cars from 1,116,472 car sales in May 2023. Sales were higher than May 2022 and May 2021, when total units amounted to 943,405 and 1,082,934,

According to Felipe Munoz, Global Analyst at JATO Dynamics, the European car market has only recovered to 75%-80% of its original pre-Covid size. As a result, many European factories are not operating at full capacity, giving Chinese OEMs a unique opportunity to sell across Europe while avoiding tariffs.

This reduction is partly explained by a 10% decline in the registrations of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs). Registrations of these vehicles dropped from 250,530 in May 2023, to 226,665 in May 2024.

Electric Car Sales in Europe in May 2024

BEVs saw the largest decline in year-on-year registrations in Europe in May 2024, falling 11% to 151,237 units, while PHEVs experienced a 7% decrease. According to Munoz, “This negative result comes as a result of high BEV and PHEV prices – with these cars still unaffordable for the masses.”

Despite this, some BEV models continued to perform well in May 2024. BMW continued to gain traction with its iX1, as well as the new i5 and iX2. The brand’s BEV volume was approximately 1.6 times higher than all electric models registered by Audi or Mercedes. Volvo claimed third place amongst the top-selling BEVs both in May and year-to-date with the EX30.

Electric car sales in Europe in May 2024 by country of production according to JATO were:

Electric car sales in Europe in May 2024 by country of production according to JATO were:

In May 2024, registrations of Chinese-made BEVs rose by 25% year-on-year to reach almost 28,000 units. (Excluding Tesla models, as the country of manufacture was not disclosed.) Many tradition European brands imported electric cars produced in China, e.g. the Volvo EX30, Mini, BMWs, and Smart cars.

In contrast, electric vehicles manufactured outside of China saw a 16% decline in registrations year-on-year. Munoz, noted: “In May 2024, the market share of Chinese-made BEVs jumped from 13.2% to 18.5% year-on-year. It’s striking that two Chinese models secured a place in Europe’s top five best-selling BEVs for May. This increase in registrations likely comes in anticipation of the impending European Commission tariffs.”

Volvo, BYD, and Smart saw the most significant increases in BEV registrations, while MG, BMW, Dacia, and Polestar all lost ground. MG’s ICE offering outperformed its BEVs, with volume increasing by 47% in May, and by 61% since the start of the year. Munoz, added: “MG is turning its attention to non-electric cars to maintain ground in Europe. This is likely a response to the European Commission’s probe and incoming tariffs. For instance, in January – May 2023, it registered almost an equal number of electric and combustion cars. A year on, its volume of ICE cars is nearly double that of its BEV registrations.”

Top-Selling Car Brands in Europe in May 2024

The 25 best-selling car brands in Europe in May 2024 according to JATO were:

The 25 best-selling car brands in Europe in May 2024 according to JATO were:

Volkswagen and Toyota increased market share in Europe and remained by far the two largest car brands in Europe in May 2024. In contrast, BMW, Audi, and Mercedes all had weaker sales volumes.

The worst-performing top-25 brand was Tesla with sales down by a third. Land Rover, Seat, and VOlovo increased sales by around a quarter.

Europe’s Favorite Car Models in May 2024

The 25 best-selling car models in Europe in May 2024 according to JATO were:

The 25 best-selling car models in Europe in May 2024 according to JATO were:

The Volkswagen T-Roc was the most popular car model in Europe in May 2024 but it was the second-placed VW Golf that impressed with sales up by 30%.

Year-to-date 2024, the Dacia Sandero remained the best-selling car in Europe with 116,922 sales followed by the VW Golf with 105,904

Other notable models in May 2024 included the Citroen C3, supported by deals on its previous generation. The Cupra/Seat Leon, Toyota RAV4, Seat Ibiza, Opel/Vauxhall Astra, and Jeep Avenger also posted strong year-on-year growth.

Among new models, the Volvo EX30 performed well in May, with more than 7,500 units registered. Other notable players included the Lexus LBX with over 2,100 units; the BMW i5 with almost 2,000 units; the new Renault Scenic with 1,631 units; and the Mercedes CLE with 1,581 units. Fiat registered 1,515 units of the 600; Volkswagen registered 1,239 units of the ID.7; BMW registered 1,144 units of the iX2; the Mitsubishi Colt registered 1,058 units; and the Renault Rafale and Omoda 5 registered 1,003 and 797 respectively.

Best-Selling Electric Car Models in Europe in 2024 (May)

The best-selling electric car and PHEV models in Europe in May 2024 according to JATO were:

The best-selling electric car and PHEV models in Europe in May 2024 according to JATO were:

Although sales nearly halved, the Tesla Model Y remained by far the most popular battery-electric vehicle in Europe in May 2024 followed by the Model 3, which only narrowly outsold the Volvo EX30.

During the first five months of 2024, the Tesla Model Y was the best-selling electric car in Europe despite sales contracting by 24% to 79,064 cars. Sales of the Model 3 improved by 36% to 38,855 cars.

Europe Car Sales Statistics

→  Latest European Car Sales Statistics

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.