The latest data collected by JATO Dynamics shows very interesting trends in the new car market in Europe. Last April, demand for pure electric cars recorded the second-highest monthly market share, reaching 22 percent, behind only the 25 percent recorded in December 2022. More than one in five new cars registered in Europe were purely electric.
Much of these results are due to Tesla. Although it has a limited and relatively obsolete range, the American brand is capitalizing on growing consumer interest in electric driving. In August 2023, Tesla registered 33,809 cars in Europe, an increase of 240 percent compared to the same month last year. As a result, Tesla was ahead of large mainstream European brands such as Opel, Citroën, or Fiat and was only 3,600 units behind Ford.
Tesla Continues To Take Off
Tesla's success continues to build on the Model Y and Model 3. The former was once again the best-selling model in Europe and will likely maintain this position until the end of the year. This would put the European car market in an embarrassing situation, with a foreign car more popular than any produced on the Old Continent. So far, Tesla has reported more than 169,000 units of the Model Y, an increase of 216%.
In the case of the Model 3, the brand is using price cuts to broaden its customer base and steal sales from other segments, such as the C-segment. Further growth is expected when the updated version hits the market.
Tesla is, together with the two large Chinese companies (Geely and SAIC), the only one to record constant growth in market share over the years. This is the result of a series of actions taken at the right time: first the gradual introduction of the Model 3, then the opening of more sales points across Europe which allowed the brand to keep the Model 3 in line until the restyling. We also have the introduction of the Model Y, and to maintain the pace of growth, Elon Musk's company began to cut prices. In other words, Tesla is maintaining momentum correctly.
The transition from petrol/diesel cars to pure electric has another big winner: MG. This brand, positioned as British but entirely designed, developed, and produced in China, is the only player from the Asian giant that is truly changing the game. While the MG 4 – its latest introduction in Europe – continues to seduce many consumers thanks to its competitive price and favorable opinions, MG reached the European top 20 in August with almost 14,900 units.
This is a higher number than that recorded by Suzuki, Mini, Mazda, or Jeep. Electric models accounted for 59 percent of this volume, placing them in seventh place among the best-selling BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle) brands, ahead even of big brands such as Opel, Audi, Skoda, Peugeot, or Renault.
What About Traditional Brands?
The rise of Tesla and MG is coming at the expense of reduced market share for some traditional automakers. Volkswagen, Ford, Citroën, Peugeot, and Hyundai recorded the largest market share losses during the month. Their electric offering is good, but not enough to compete with Teslas and MGs.
This is the main problem of traditional brands: while Tesla cuts prices, its models enter dangerously into the lower segments, and MG attacks from below with very competitive products.
The author of the article, Felipe Munoz, is an Automotive Industry Specialist at JATO Dynamics.