Tesla Model Y named Europe’s best-selling new car as motorists rush to buy electric SUVs

  • Tesla Model Y was September’s best selling car in Europe
  • Analysis by Jato Dynamics finds growing demand for electric SUVs
  • Volkswagen is named the most popular brand overall

Time 11:52 am, October 31, 2023

The Tesla Model Y was Europe’s best-selling new car last month as registrations of electrified models continued to grow.

Data from expert firm Jato Dynamics found that EV registrations totalled 186,380 units throughout September – a year-on-year rise of 13 per cent.

It means that in the first nine months of the year, a combined 1,465,249 new electric passenger cars have been registered throughout Europe, including in the UK.

The figure is 47 per cent up on the same period last year as governments and manufacturers around the continent rev up their electrification plans.

Overall, European new vehicle registrations increased by 10 per cent to 1,155,648 units in September, marking the slowest rate of growth recorded this year.

In comparison to September 2020, when the pandemic was impacting the market, total volume was down by 11 per cent.

The month’s best-selling new car was the Model Y, which sold 29,309 units in September. The American model narrowly saw off competition from the likes of the Peugeot 208 (22,188) and the Renault Clio (20,088) to take spot.

Also in the top ten were the Volkswagen Golf, Dacia Sandero and Fiat 500, as well as the likes of the Ford Puma, Volkswagen T-Roc and Nissan Qashqai.

Felipe Munoz, global analyst at Jato Dynamics, said: ‘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.

‘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.’

Europe’s best-selling new models in September

Tesla Model Y from rear, via PA

  1. Tesla Model Y | Total sales: 29,309 | Year-on-year change: -1%
  2. Peugeot 208 | Total sales: 22,188 | Year-on-year change: +13%
  3. Renault Clio| Total sales: 20,088 | Year-on-year change: +26%
  4. Volkswagen Golf | Total sales: 19,441 | Year-on-year change: +20%
  5. Dacia Sandero | Total sales: 19,265 | Year-on-year change: +8%
  6. Fiat/Abarth 500 | Total sales: 18,271 | Year-on-year change: +15%
  7. Ford Puma | Total sales: 18,062 | Year-on-year change: +23%
  8. Vauxhall Corsa | Total sales: 16,977 | Year-on-year change: +24%
  9. Volkswagen T-Roc | Total sales: 16,935 | Year-on-year change: +4%
  10. Nissan Qashqai | Total sales: 16,404 | Year-on-year change: +3%

When it came to the most popular brands on offer, Volkswagen remained well-clear of its nearest competition.

The German outfit sold a total of 114,402 cars last month – a year-on-year rise of seven per cent.

Second place was filled by Japanese outfit Toyota (73,814), while the big three premium German brands – Mercedes, Audi and BMW – took third, fourth and fifth respectively.

Europe’s best-selling car brands in September

Volkswagen Polo GTI Edition 25, 31st July 2023

  1. Volkswagen | Total sales: 114,402 | Year-on-year change: +7%
  2. Toyota | Total sales: 73,814 | Year-on-year change: +8%
  3. Mercedes | Total sales: 67,016 | Year-on-year change: +11%
  4. Audi | Total sales: 63,885 | Year-on-year change: +20%
  5. BMW | Total sales: 61,726 | Year-on-year change: +12%
  6. Renault | Total sales: 58,710 | Year-on-year change: +11%
  7. Skoda | Total sales: 58,176 | Year-on-year change: +8%
  8. Peugeot | Total sales: 56,452 | Year-on-year change: +5%
  9. Ford | Total sales: 52,929 | Year-on-year change: -8%
  10. Kia | Total sales: 52,557 | Year-on-year change: +3%

SUVs driving BEV sales

Jato also found that the improvement in BEV sales is being driven largely by an increased popularity in electric SUVs.

The models accounted for a whopping 60 per cent of all BEV sales last month. Their market share was even higher than the record 54 per cent seen in the overall market, according to Jato’s analysts.

With it’s Model Y now leading the way, experts are backing Tesla to outsell the likes of Fiat and Citroen by the end of 2023.

Munoz, added: ‘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.’

‘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 Citroen.’

Jack Williams's avatar

Jack joined the Car Dealer team in 2021 as a staff writer. He previously worked as a national newspaper journalist for BNPS Press Agency. He has provided news and motoring stories for a number of national publications including The Sun, The Times and The Daily Mirror.

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