Tesla remains on top of European EV market in July, but VW is recovering

20 September 2023


Electric vehicle (EV) registrations continued to climb in July, with Tesla leading the way. José Pontes, data director at EV-volumes.com, examines the numbers.

Consisting of battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), some 234,000 EVs were registered in Europe (encompassing the EU, UK and EFTA markets) in July. This is up 48% year on year, the region’s highest growth since August 2021.

This came on top of an increase in overall new-car registrations in the region, with July’s figures up 17%. EVs made up 23% of these registrations, and BEVs alone made up 15%. Therefore, between January and July, the plug-in vehicle share sat at 22%, with 15% for BEVs alone.

Pure-electric vehicles kept gaining momentum in July, growing 68% year on year, the powertrain’s biggest growth rate since February 2022. Up 22%, PHEVs recorded their highest increase so far this year, meaning both technologies are accelerating.

With these two powertrains rising, others must come down. The main technology that is falling rapidly is diesel. The fuel type now only commands 14% of the European passenger-car market, a far cry from the 50% share it had in 2015, or the 55% average it experienced before that.

VW picks up the pace

For the ninth month in a row, the Tesla Model Y was the best-selling EV in Europe. In July, the midsize crossover recorded 11,748 registrations. The BEV should continue to post similar results in the coming quarters in Europe. However, it is unlikely that volumes will increase significantly over current levels, as the Model Y has potentially reached its natural market limits.

Continued growth could also be limited by the refreshed Tesla Model 3, which might steal some sales from the Model Y. The crossover’s biggest European markets in July included the UK (2,280 units), Germany (2,067 units), and France (1,631 units).

The Volkswagen (VW) ID.4 won another podium position in July thanks to 8,681 registrations. With increased production availability, the model now has enough firepower to compete for second place by the end of this year, an improvement on its third-place finish in 2022.

However, production capacity is not a guarantee of market success, the VW ID.4 will also need to see strong demand. The BEV's main market in July was Germany (2,941 registrations), followed at a distance by the UK (1,050 registrations), and Norway (975 units).

The Skoda Enyaq managed to end July on the podium, with a record performance helping its cause. The model achieved 7,228 deliveries, which is an impressive result considering that July is a holiday month. Sales can be expected to stay strong in the coming months now production constraints seem to have lifted.

Regarding the Enyaq’s July results, the distribution of deliveries between markets was pretty balanced. Germany’s large market accounted for 1,896 units, followed by the Netherlands (742 units), Norway (724), and the UK (696).

With its original looks, good handling, and reasonable interior materials, the MG4 earned another top-five presence in July with 6,433 registrations. The model is well placed given the hole in the B and C-segments for mainstream hatchbacks with a focus on good handling and smart design.

The BEV saw great appeal in the UK (1,850 registrations), then Germany (1,193 registrations), and France (1,083 registrations), which incidentally are three big markets for hatchbacks. The remaining countries ended some distance behind, with Ireland recording the fourth-best score at 565 units. This could mean production is still not strong enough to satisfy demand and that SAIC needs to recognise secondary markets.

The Dacia Spring had a positive month, beating its arch-rival the Fiat 500e and winning the city car category in July. With 5,986 sales, the model is currently Renault Group’s best performer in the EV arena. The BEV recorded 2,127 registrations in France, 1,818 in Germany, and 828 in Romania, its home market.

Looking at the rest of July’s top 20, the highlights came from the second half of the table. In 15th, the Mercedes-Benz EQA celebrated a year-best performance of 3,673 registrations. This put the model above its rival, the BMW iX1, which came 16th with 3,454 registrations, again beating the i4 (17th) as the highest-placed BMW on the table.

Interestingly, the best-selling models from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi were compact crossovers, the iX1, EQA, and Q4 e-Tron. While this highlights a market trend, it also reveals how much pull Tesla models have in the midsize market, taking sales from the premium German carmakers.

Below the top 20, the VW ID.5 reached 2,477 registrations in July. In the full-size category, the Audi Q8 e-Tron remained in charge, thanks to 2,523 registrations. There was also good news in the Hyundai–Kia stable, with the Hyundai Ioniq 5 (2,801 units) and Kia EV6 (3,240) providing solid results. The BYD Atto 3 had its best score this year, with 1,643 registrations.

Within Stellantis, despite weak results from its best sellers — the Fiat 500e was eighth, while the Peugeot e-208 did not make the top 20 — the Jeep Avenger scored 1,455 deliveries in its third month on the market. The small BEV can be expected to start knocking at the door of the top 20 in a few months.

Three times the deliveries

Between January and July, the Tesla Model Y recorded three times as many deliveries as the new runner-up, the VW ID.4. However, the German BEV was able to jump two positions into second place, usurping the Model 3. But the refreshed version of the Tesla model could be very disruptive, particularly in terms of price.

The fourth-place Volvo XC40 is probably already suffering from comparison with the new EX30. Its seventh-place position in July could be an early sign of fatigue and future sales cannibalisation. The MG4 kept climbing up the table, claiming sixth place in the January to July rankings. It was followed by another value-for-money champ, the Skoda Enyaq, which jumped to seventh. The Ford Kuga PHEV took 11th, while its direct competitor, the Kia Niro, also climbed up the table to 14th.

The Polestar 2 rose to 17th and now has its sights set on the BMW i4 in 16th. This adds another model to the list that is challenging the German model, with the Tesla Model 3 also closing in. The Kia EV6 (21st) and Hyundai Ioniq 5 (25th) are not far behind either.

Still in the top 20, the Cupra Born was up to 18th. The Mercedes-Benz EQA also made it onto the table in 20th, but the model cannot rest on its laurels, as the BMW iX1 (22nd) is also climbing the rankings and could surpass it soon.

Tesla leads the brands

In the brand ranking, Tesla held a comfortable 12.31% share of the EV market, down from its 13.1% peak in June. VW was in the runner-up position with 8.6%, up from 8.5% in the previous month.

Third place BMW (8%, up from 7.9%) kept its lead over Mercedes-Benz (7.5%, up from 7.4%). But with only a small margin separating the two, a lot can still happen.

Volvo (6.1%, down from 6.2%) remains in fifth but is losing share by the day. So, sixth-place Audi (5.4%, up from 5.3%) could surpass it sometime in the future.

Looking at automotive groups, with brands coming together under their parent organisations, VW Group was up to 20.3%, from 19.9% in June, keeping a comfortable lead over runner-up Stellantis (14.1%). Off-peak Tesla dropped from 13.1% to 12.3%, but expect the carmaker to go after second-place in September.

Off the podium, fourth-place BMW Group was up to 9.6%. In fifth, Geely–Volvo suffered a small drop due to Volvo’s poor performance, down to 8.7%. With sixth-place Mercedes-Benz Group (8.4%, up from 8.3%) and seventh Hyundai Motor Group (8.3%) on the rise, Geely might be ousted from its fifth spot in the next few months.