EVs drive new car sales in Europe, BEVs gain share in 25 of 28 markets in February

The European new car market grew by 12% in February to just over 900,000 units, with the battery electric vehicle market growing by 33% and BEVs gaining share in 25 of the 28 European markets

Autocar Pro News Desk By Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 31 Mar 2023 Views icon4579 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
EVs drive new car sales in Europe, BEVs gain share in 25 of 28 markets in February

New car sales data for Europe for February 2023 is out and the number of new passenger car registrations totalled just over 900,000 units – up by 12% compared to February 2022. Combined January-February sales totalled 1.81 million units, 11% higher than January-February 2022.

Italy, Spain, the UK and Belgium saw strong, double-digit growth rates in February. The only countries that experienced a decline in growth were Sweden, Norway, Finland and Cyprus.

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.”

BEVs drive growth

Increasing demand for pure electric cars aided the overall positive results in February 2023. According to JATO data, 118,329 pure electric cars were registered last month – an increase of 33% from February 2022. 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 2023. Munoz said: “Norway is no longer contributing to the growth of BEVs in Europe, despite being an industry-leader for many years.”

The accelerated adoption of BEVs across Europe 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.

With 18,446 units, the Tesla Model Y was the best-selling car in Europe in February 2023 and among the top five models for Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, and Portugal.

Tesla Model Y the best-seller 

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 said: “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.”

The Tesla Model Y was in the top five 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.

Chinese OEMs lose traction

"Despite the recent popularity of Chinese-produced cars, results by assembly origin revealed that sales did not grow as substantially in comparison to other regions. In February, only 2.7% of new cars registered in Europe were made in China, a minimal decline from 2.9% in February 2022.” 

According to Munoz: “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.”

European new car market grows by 11% in January, record market share for SUVs


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