There is good news and bad news from Europe, depending on whether you prefer combustion or electric in your vehicles. Last month, new car registrations in the region hit a record high in February with just 794,600 units. This is down 5.4% from last year, but it is 25% lower than February 2020 and 30% lower than 2019. JATO data indicates that last month was the worst for records in at least 42 years.
The reasons are widely known to the public: the shortage of semiconductors and the impact of the war in Ukraine on the availability of parts for the production of cars in European factories. Consumers simply cannot find new cars to buy.
Nevertheless, there is a bright spot. Demand for pure electric cars jumped 77% in February to 87,400 units, pushing EV market share to a record 11%. It reaches 19.5% when plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) registrations are included. A year ago, these cars accounted for 13.4% of total registrations, while two years ago, in February 2020, the market share was only 6.3%.
Tesla One-Two, with a surprise Fiat 500
Although not quarter-end calculations, Tesla leads the electric battery market with nearly 15,800 units sold, up 188% from the same period last year. This represents 18.1% market share compared to 11.1% a year earlier, which means the Model Y is already bearing fruit and making considerable progress across Europe. Combined with the Model 3, the two Teslas are the best-selling electric cars in February.
Surprisingly, the third most registered electric vehicle was the Fiat 500 with 3,800 units, an increase of 74%. The 500e accounted for 38% of the total, which isn’t bad for a car in this price class. It was followed by the Kia e-Niro, which has seen an improvement in sales over the past few months, despite the reveal of the second-generation model. Better deals and years of experience helped Kia increase its volume by 29%, reaching nearly 3,500 units.
Redesign comes from Hyundai and premium brands
The fifth position was occupied by the Hyundai Ioniq 5, a very impressive performance for this crossover that was just presented last year. It has outperformed rivals like the Volkswagen ID.4, Skoda Enyaq, Kia EV6 and Volkswagen ID.4 and in fact, with Hyundai and Kia combined, they overtake Volkswagen in the brand ranking. The German automaker saw big declines for the ID.3 (down 40%) and Up! (down 65%), following problems in their production plants.
Among the electric models available a year ago, it is remarkable to see such growth displayed by several models. The Citroën C4 led the way with a remarkable increase of 221%, followed by the Audi E-Tron GT which exceeded 125%. Other notable increases include the electric Mini Hatch (92%), the Mercedes EQC (92%), the Volvo XC40 (91%), the Mercedes EQV (+89%), the Porsche Taycan (73%) and the Polestar 2 (72%) .
The importance of low-emission cars was more evident for some brands than for others. For example, these vehicles accounted for 25% of Hyundai’s volume in February – the highest percentage among the top 10 consumer brands. It was followed by Kia (23%) and Peugeot (18%). In contrast, electric vehicles accounted for only 4% of Toyota’s figures, 9% of Citroën and 10% of Skoda. Among the premium brands, the percentage rises to 32% at BMW and 34% at Mercedes.
The author of the article, Felipe Munoz, is the Automotive Industry Specialist at JATO Dynamics.