There's good and bad news coming from Europe, depending on whether you prefer combustion or electric power in your vehicles. Last month, new car registrations in the region hit a record low in February with just 794,600 units. That's a 5.4 percent drop from last year, but it's 25 percent lower than February 2020 and down 30 percent versus 2019. The data from JATO indicates that last month was the worst for registrations in at least 42 years.
The reasons are widely known by the public: the semiconductor shortage and the impact of the war in Ukraine on the availability of pieces for the production of cars in the European plants. Consumers simply can’t find new cars to buy.
Nevertheless, there is a bright spot. The demand for pure electric cars jumped by 77 percent during February to 87,400 units, increasing EV market share to a record of 11 percent. It grows to 19.5 percent when plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) registrations are included. One year ago, these cars represented 13.4 percent of total registrations, while two years ago, in February 2020, the market share was just 6.3 percent.
Tesla One-Two, With A Fiat 500 Surprise
Although these aren't end-quarter calculations, Tesla led the battery-electric market with almost 15,800 units sold, up by 188 percent compared to the same period last year. That’s 18.1 percent market share against 11.1 percent a year earlier, meaning that the Model Y is already paying off and making considerable progress across Europe. Combined with the Model 3, the two Teslas are top-selling electric cars for February.
Surprisingly, the third most registered EV was the Fiat 500 at 3,800 units, an increase of 74 percent. The 500e made up 38 percent of the total, which isn't bad for a car of this price category. It was followed by the Kia e-Niro, which saw improved sales over recent months, despite the reveal of the second-generation model. Better deals and years of experience allowed the Kia to increase its volume by 29 percent, reaching nearly 3,500 units.
Shakeup Comes From Hyundai And Premium Brands
The fifth position was occupied by the Hyundai Ioniq 5, a very impressive showing for this crossover that was just introduced last year. It outperformed rivals like the Volkswagen ID.4, Skoda Enyaq, Kia EV6, and Volkswagen ID.4 and actually, with Hyundai and Kia combined, they exceed Volkswagen in the ranking by brands. The German automaker recorded big drops for the ID.3 (down 40 percent) and Up! (down 65 percent), following issues at their production plants.
Among the electric models available a year ago, it's remarkable to see such big growth posted by several models. The Citroen C4 led the way at a remarkable 221 percent increase, followed by the Audi E-Tron GT overachieving at 125 percent. Other notable increases include the Mini Hatch electric (92 percent), Mercedes EQC (92 percent), Volvo XC40 (91 percent), Mercedes EQV (+89%), Porsche Taycan (73 percent), and the Polestar 2 (72 percent).
The importance of low emission cars was more evident in some makes than others. For instance, such vehicles accounted for 25 percent of Hyundai’s volume in February – the highest percentage among the top 10 best-selling mainstream brands. It was followed by Kia (23 percent) and Peugeot (18 percent). In contrast, EVs made up just 4 percent of Toyota figures, 9 percent of Citroen, and 10 percent of Skoda. Among the premium brands, the percentage increases to 32 percent at BMW and 34 percent at Mercedes.
The author of the article, Felipe Munoz, is the Automotive Industry Specialist at JATO Dynamics.