Record-breaking drop for European EV market in December

20 February 2024

The electric vehicle (EV) market in Europe disappointed during December, going against the trend of a positive 2023. José Pontes, data director at, investigates the month’s record-breaking drop and looks at last year’s data.

The European EV market, consisting of battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), recorded 294,166 registrations in December 2023. This was down 29% year on year, the worst plug-in drop in 10 years.

Both powertrains saw deliveries plummet in the month, with BEVs down 25% to 205,922 units. Excluding April 2020, which was heavily affected by COVID-19, this was the first time the technology dropped since December 2016. PHEVs saw a 36% fall, with 88,244 deliveries, its worst performance since June 2019.

The December EV share hit 28%, 10 percentage points lower than the previous year. BEVs also dropped share, taking 20% of total registrations, falling from 25% in December 2022.

On a more positive note, EVs accounted for nearly a quarter of all new-car registrations in the region last year. Up from 23% in 2022, plug-ins took a 24% market share, with BEVs making up 16% alone.

PHEV’s share of the plug-in market continued to fall last year, down to a third of all EV deliveries. This was a drop of six percentage points from 2022 and a stark contrast from 46% in 2021.

Over three million plug-ins took to Europe’s roads in 2023, an increase of 16%. This was faster than the overall market growth, up 14% on 2022.

Total European new-car market registrations were down roughly 4% on December 2022, ending 16 consecutive months of growth. The German market’s 23% fall swayed this figure, as chaotic EV subsidy cuts and economic uncertainty impacted registrations.

Another year of weak growth is likely in 2024, not helped by the German EV market recovery from the end of incentives. However, 2025 should see a significant surge, with EVs expected to account for more than a third of total deliveries next year.

Europe’s best-selling car

On top of becoming the best-selling car worldwide in 2023, the Tesla Model Y also took the title in Europe’s overall new-car market. This is the first time a plug-in vehicle has accomplished this feat.

With 255,062 registrations, the BEV was the continent’s best-selling EV for the second year in a row. The crossover can be expected to repeat its success in 2024. However, improving on last year’s delivery growth of 85% will be a tough task.

The Tesla Model 3 maintained second place thanks to 101,313 registrations, up 11% from 2022. This marked its fifth podium result and gave the US brand the top two spots in Europe.

Rounding out the top three was the Volkswagen (VW) ID.4, posting 83,033 deliveries. It kept its same position from the previous year, replicating the 2022 podium.

Alongside a current lack of demand, the crossover will face stiff competition for third this year. Its VW Group stablemate, the Skoda Enyaq, came fourth in 2023, just over 4,000 units behind the ID.4. It is targeting 90,000 deliveries this year, which could make it the best-selling model in the group.

Another threat could come from the MG4, which is also seeing stronger results. The hatchback is targeting around 100,000 registrations this year after reaching 72,421 units in 2023. This put it in sixth, ahead of the Audi Q4 e-Tron with 69,529 units.

In 11th, the Ford Kuga PHEV retained its powertrain category title in 2023. However, it will face stiff competition this year from the new Mercedes-Benz GLC PHEV.

The BMW i4 showed good growth at the end of 2023, taking 12th place. Also on the rise was the BMW iX1, moving up to 15th at the end of the year. Both EVs are aiming for the top half of the table this year.

The last change in the chart came courtesy of another BMW Group model, namely the Mini Cooper EV in 20th place. The model will be refreshed in 2024, joining the new Aceman crossover and the full-size Countryman.

Category champions

Replicating its previous success, the Fiat 500e took the 2023 city-car category, sitting eighth in the overall EV table. In 10th, the Dacia Spring was not far behind, with just over 5,000 units separating the two models.

The B-segment went to the Peugeot e-208 in 13th, comfortably beating the Mini Cooper EV. Like its sibling, the Aceman, the hatchback will be targeting the 2024 crown alongside many other new models.

This includes the Citroen e-C3 and Renault 5, which are expected to pass the current category leader and push progress forward in the B-segment. Contenders could also come in the form of the new Fiat Pandina, Lancia Ypsilon and Alfa Romeo Milano.

The VW ID.4 took the compact category title, closely followed by the Skoda Enyaq. Not only could it face threats from its VW Group sibling and the MG4, but the new Volvo EX30 should also see strong demand. Furthermore, the BMW iX1 has an outside chance of taking the C-segment crown.

Tesla dominated the midsize segment with its Model Y and Model 3 in the top two spots. The BMW i4 came third and could catch up on its US competitors in 2024.

The full-size segment saw VW Group in first and second, with the Audi Q8 e-Tron again victorious. Below, the Porsche Taycan secured second, beating the Mercedes-Benz EQE by around 2,000 units.

Just 300 units behind was the BMW iX. Its strong end to the year could give the brand optimism to target the top spot in 2024, alongside the new i5.

A trio of titles

Tesla retained its title as Europe’s best-selling EV brand in 2023, accounting for 12.1% of all plug-in registrations. This was the carmaker’s third title in the region. It is likely to take the title again this year, despite an expected loss in market share.

BMW stayed in second with an 8.8% market share. The German manufacturer should keep its spot in 2024.

VW maintained third place thanks to an 8.2% share. Without many new models in 2024, the brand will hope to stabilise its share. A push for the title may be possible in 2025, helped by the introduction of the new ID.2.

Mercedes-Benz (7.8% share) came fourth ahead of Audi (5.8% share). Volvo (5.6% share) narrowly missed out on making the top five.

VW Group EV victory

When looking at automotive groups, with brands brought together under their parent companies, VW Group secured another victory. The OEM made up 21.2% of total EV registrations in Europe last year.

Stellantis managed a 13.1% share in second. The French side of the group struggled at the end of 2023. The OEM should recover some share in 2024, boosted by new EVs and refreshed models launching in the next few months.

Tesla took third thanks to its 12.1% share, beating BMW Group (10.4%). A close battle is expected between the two OEMs in 2024. Due to the potential growth of the BMW i4 and iX1, as well as new additions from Mini, the German group could be well-placed to break into the top three.

Mercedes Group (8.4% share) overtook Hyundai Motor Group (8.3% share) to retain its 2022 position in fifth. The former will have a tough task keeping its spot in 2024, with competition coming from the Korean OEM, Geely-Volvo and the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance. All three will have new affordable EV models in 2024.

Tesla’s December domination

In Europe, the Tesla Model Y was the best-selling EV in December, posting 25,041 registrations. The crossover had a diverse market spread, seeing the highest deliveries in the UK with 4,850 units taking to the road. France’s total was close behind, reaching 4,618 registrations.

Other top markets included Denmark (2,937 units), Germany (2,721 units), the Netherlands (1,504 units), Norway (1,366 units) and Sweden (1,098 units).

In second, the Tesla Model 3 reached 13,152 deliveries during the month. The crossover had a strong performance in France, taking 4,790 registrations. Germany (1,131 units) and Denmark (1,102 units) were the next biggest markets for the model.

Ending the year on a high note was the MG4 in third, thanks to a record 9,196 registrations. The hatchback can expect more months of positive figures with production fully ramped up.

Thanks to incentive changes pulling forward registrations, the MG4’s best market was France (4,138 units). Since January, buyers have not been able to access subsidies for the model, as it is built in China and exported into the market. Good figures in Germany (1,775 units) and the UK (1,390 units) added to the model’s total.

Fourth place went the way of the Skoda Enyaq, December’s best-selling VW Group model, with 8,377 registrations. It beat its sibling, the VW ID.4 in seventh (7,106 units). The Cupra Born (4,993 units) followed this trend, ahead of the VW ID.3 (4,652 units).

Germany was a positive market for the Enyaq, with 3,185 deliveries. This was followed by the UK (1,050 units) and Sweden (931 units).

In fifth was the BMW i4, with a record 7,731 registrations giving the brand its first position in the European EV top five in years. Just behind, the iX1 had a record result too, with 7,285 deliveries putting it in sixth place.

The sedan saw success in its domestic market of Germany, with 3,222 units accounting for almost half of its total deliveries. The midsize model had other strong showings in the UK (917 units) and France (655 units).

Record EV results

December’s best-selling PHEV was the Volvo XC60 PHEV, which posted a record 5,178 registrations, putting it in 12th. Another record in the category came from the Cupra Formentor PHEV in 16th, with 4,175 units.

Meanwhile, the Mini Cooper EV had its best result in two years, with 5,029 deliveries placing it in 13th position.

Outside the top 20, the Audi Q8 e-Tron took the full-size segment title in December thanks to 3,262 registrations. The model edged out the BMW iX, which was just 65 units behind, achieving its best result in 2023.

Elsewhere, the Hyundai Kona EV continued to ramp up deliveries, as 3,099 units took to the road in December.

Finally, two models which could feature in the 2024 table showed strong results, namely the Mercedes-Benz EQA (3,201 units) and the Polestar 2 (3,153 units).

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