Volkswagen struggled as Europe’s EV market improved in October

11 December 2023


Europe’s electric vehicle (EV) market continued to improve in October, but Volkswagen felt pressure from its rivals. José Pontes, data director at, studies the numbers.

During October, just over 260,000 EVs, made up of battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), were registered across Europe. This represented a growth of 24% year on year, with the overall market also improving, although at a slower rate of just 14%.

This meant the total EV market held 25% of the market in the month, with BEVs holding 16.3% alone. This meant the plug-in vehicle share for the year sat at 23.2%, with BEVs alone holding 15.6%.

Most of the EV growth came from BEVs, which were up 39% year on year, while PHEVs were up by just 3%. Within the EV market itself, BEVs accounted for 65% of registrations in October, against a 2023 average of 67%.

Tesla records a year on top

The Tesla Model Y has now spent 12 months at the top of the best-selling EV chart and was the only electric model to reach five digits, with 11,583 units registered. It is difficult to see any other EV breaking the crossover’s dominance.

However, the Model Y may have already reached its peak. While it could post similar results in the coming months, sales are not expected to increase significantly over current volumes, with the EV already likely reaching its natural limits.

Regardless of its future potential, the Model Y performed well in the UK, with 1,910 registrations. France was close behind, with 1,833 units delivered, followed by Germany with 1,649 units. Other markets were some way behind, but still offered enough for the Tesla to achieve its peak performance in the month.

Next on the list was the Skoda Enyaq, which secured a record month of deliveries in October, thanks to 8,463 registrations. Germany proved to be the model’s biggest market, with 2,579 units. With no more production restraints for the Enyaq, Skoda can meet demand, meaning strong sales are likely to continue in the months ahead.

Close behind in third was fellow Volkswagen (VW) Group brand Audi and its Q4 e-Tron, with 7,764 registrations making it the best month ever for the model. With increased production availability, the German EV is now only dependent on demand to improve its performance.

Regarding the model’s October performance, its main market was the UK (1,965 registrations), followed by Germany (1,867 registrations) and then at a distance by Belgium (778 registrations).

Fourth place went to the Tesla Model 3, which saw its first full month of deliveries of the refreshed version in Europe. It made a good start, with 7,149 units registered in October, which will likely be the start of a strong end to the year, with customers wanting to take advantage of the vehicle’s new generation.

With Tesla still delivering most of their vehicles at the end of the quarter, this fourth place may foreshadow what is to come, with the top spot in its sights for December. In the month, Germany (1,607 registrations) was its biggest market, followed by France (1,353 registrations) and the UK (758 registrations).

Rounding out the top five was the MG4, as the SAIC-backed model saw 6,951 units registered. The model appears to be the ultimate example of a budget BEV, sitting around €10,000 lower than its closest competition, the VW ID.3 and Renault Megane EV and is fast becoming a reference point for the continent’s compact hatchback class.

While the MG brand has historical British ties, the marque’s push into Europe is where it can improve its performance, which is showing. France (1,864 units) and Germany (1,722 units) were the leading markets, with the UK only third, thanks to 1,500 registrations.

The rest of the top 20 table saw several year-best results. The Dacia Spring ended October in sixth, with 6,150 registrations. As new French subsidies are expected to discourage the purchase of Chinese EVs, the Spring may benefit, thanks to its ties with Renault Group.

The BMW i4 also hit a record result for the year so far, with 5,311 registrations placing it in eighth. This made it the best-performing BMW Group model in what was a strong month for the manufacturer. In addition, the 11th-place BMW iX1 posted a positive 4,593 registrations and the Mini Cooper EV had a year-best score of 3,810 registrations.

The recently introduced BMW i5 ramped up fast, reaching 1,029 units in October. This is some way from the 2,702 units of the full-size category leader, the Audi Q8 e-Tron. However, the i5’s performance means it may make a bid for market supremacy in the next six months.

While the Q8 led the full-size category in the year-to-date figures, it faltered in October, with the Porsche Cayenne PHEV taking the top spot. With a big refresh, including a new 26kWh battery, the sports SUV scored 2,979 registrations, a new record.

The VW brand struggled again in October. Having performed well at the start of the year, the ID.4 came in ninth, with 5,193 registrations. The VW ID.3 dropped to 16th place, with 3,913 units. This meant it finished the month one place below the Cupra Born (4,027 units), a model that is effectively identical to the ID.3 in all but name.

When it comes to the PHEV market, the best-selling model was the Ford Kuga PHEV, which ended the month in 14th, followed by the Mercedes-Benz GLC PHEV in 17th, and the Volvo XC60 PHEV in 19th.

Another model that did not make the top 20 in October, but had a record month, was the Peugeot 308, which scored 2,227 registrations. However, only 150 of these deliveries could be attributed to BEV versions.

A clear winner

In the year-to-date figures, the Tesla Model Y looks to have already achieved the title, with nearly three times as many registrations as the current runner-up, the Tesla Model 3. The crossover sat at 220,310 units by the end of October, 146,925 ahead of second place.

However, with the Model 3 looking towards a bumper December, thanks to its refresh and Tesla’s quarterly delivery schedule, the BEV specialist may have second place sewn up as well. The model currently sits on 73,385 units, compared to the third-place VW ID.4’s 69,833 registrations in the first 10 months of the year. Yet VW has struggled in recent months, and demand issues seem to be impacting sales.

VW may be looking behind, rather than ahead when it comes to the ID.4 at the end of the year. However, the fourth-placed Volvo XC40 is not doing enough to close the gap, with its 64,270 units over 5,000 fewer than the German model.

The Swedish brand only outsold the ID.4 by around 500 units in October. With only two months of reporting left, and customers potentially waiting for the EX30, the gap looks too big to close. Instead, Volvo will be keeping an eye on the Skoda Enyaq which is quickly closing in.

Audi’s Q4 e-Tron was the biggest climber in October, jumping to seventh, surpassing the VW ID.3 in the process. The Q4 now sits below the MG4, which is proving popular on the continent.

The remaining position changes came in the second half of the table, with the BMW i4 climbing to 15th at the cost of the Cupra Born in 16th, and the BMW iX1 in 18th, confirming the crossover’s popularity.

Volkswagen struggles to maintain share

It should be no surprise that Tesla continues to lead the brand rankings, thanks to its dominance of the EV market in Europe over the year to date. The marque currently holds a 12.1% market share, but this has dropped from 12.7%, mainly due to drivers waiting for the refreshed Model 3. As October is the first month of a new quarter, Tesla should recover its lost share over the next two months.

VW, on the other hand, is continuing to lose its grip on the market. Thanks to another slow month for the ID.4 and ID.3, the brand ended October with 8.2% of the market, down from 8.4% the previous month, and 8.7% in August. This is an ongoing decline the carmaker needs to address.

Its domestic rival, BMW, benefitted from a stronger month, now holding an equal 8.2% share. Thanks to its slightly stronger results, it now commands second place, pushing VW into third.

Mercedes-Benz also improved its market share, holding 7.7%, up from 7.6% in the previous month. This means it could challenge VW for the top three. Yet while Volkswagen struggles, the same cannot be said for all the Group brands. Audi has now surpassed Volvo in the brand rankings, with its share rising to 5.6% in October, equal to the Swedish marque, but ahead by the benefit of 600 more registrations.

Bringing brands together under their respective parent companies, VW Group was able to offset the main brand’s losses thanks to strong performances from Porsche and Skoda. Meanwhile, Audi and Cupra helped towards the 20.6% market share, up from 20.2% in September. With Stellantis seeing its share drop (13.9%, down from 14%), the German manufacturing group managed to increase its lead at the top of the chart.

As a single-brand marque, Tesla’s 12.1% share kept it in third place, while BMW Group saw its share rise to 9.8%, up from 9.8%. A position change occurred in fifth, with Hyundai Motor Group (8.4% share) overtaking Mercedes-Benz, which suffered from a slow month. It achieved a share of just 8.3%, impacted by a transition taking place in the Smart brand.