Volvo shines in European EV market as Tesla deliveries drop

15 May 2024


The European electric vehicle (EV) market had mixed results in the first quarter. Volvo models excelled, while Tesla deliveries dropped. José Pontes, data director at EV Volumes (part of J.D. Power), explores the figures with Autovista24 journalist Tom Hooker.

A total of 295,980 EVs were registered in Europe during March, down 8% year on year. March’s figures were heavily impacted by a drop in Tesla deliveries, declining 35% compared to the same period in 2023.

Plug-ins models accounted for 21% of all new-car registrations in the month. Battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) alone accounted for 14% of the market with 196,068 units.

Looking at the first quarter of 2024, EVs achieved the same growth as the overall market, up 5% with 701,805 deliveries. Plug-in hybrid (PHEV) registrations climbed 10% across the first three months of the year, with 252,019 registrations. BEVs saw slower growth of just 3%, although this was a larger volume of 449,786 deliveries.

EVs recorded a 21% market share in the first quarter, as BEVs sat at 13%, dropping slightly compared to March’s total. Across the first three months of the year, BEVs held a 64% share of the plug-in market. This was a slump against the 66% share recorded at the same point last year.

The removal of incentives is still affecting BEV registrations in regions such as Germany. Furthermore, new mass-market EVs including the Renault 5 and Citroen e-C3 are still not on the road. This means significant growth for the technology is not expected until the second half of 2024.

Hybrids, including full and mild hybrids, were the fastest-growing powertrain in Europe in the first quarter, with deliveries surging 20% and accounting for 30% of the overall market.

Growth from BEVs, PHEVs and hybrids has come at the expense of diesel, which saw volumes fall 11% across the first quarter. Its current 11% market share is a stark contrast from its 50% hold in 2015.

Tesla total rule

Despite a drop in deliveries, Tesla once again topped Europe’s EV best-selling models chart. The Model Y took first in March, with 26,790 registrations.

However, the midsize crossover’s volume shrunk by 19% compared to the same period in 2023. Last year in March, the BEV was the best-selling model in Europe’s overall new-car market, yet in 2024 it has fallen to fourth.

The Model Y saw its highest demand in the UK with 5,590 deliveries, followed by Germany (3,244 units) France (3,045 units), the Netherlands (2,386 units) and Sweden (2,011 units). Furthermore, Norway (1,993 units), Belgium (1,717 units) and Switzerland (1,507 units) also posted four-digit figures.

One factor impacting the crossover is its sibling, the Tesla Model 3. Despite the market leader more than doubling the volume of the sedan in March, it has begun to cannibalise sales of the Model Y in some regions.

The Model 3 secured second in March with 12,011 deliveries, up 36% in the first quarter of the year. Its best-selling market was in the Netherlands (1,510 units), as France (1,388 units), the UK (1,375 units) and Belgium (1,362 units) also enjoyed positive performances.

Valiant Volvo performance

Third place went to the Volvo EX30, achieving 7,642 registrations in its third month on the market. Strong results are expected in the coming months, with deliveries possibly reaching five-digit figures.

The SUV is currently the brand's cheapest model, starting at €39,000. It is also Volvo’s smallest offering, sitting at the same size as a Volkswagen (VW) ID.3. The model was popular in the UK (1,510 units), followed by France (1,395 units) and the Netherlands (1,173 units).

In fourth place, the Audi Q4 e-Tron had a positive month, with 6,548 deliveries. Unlike its siblings using the MEB platform, the crossover is continuing to see demand. However, it could be pressured in the future by the upcoming Q6 e-Tron.

The compact model also sold well in the UK (2,113 units), followed at a distance by Germany (1,115 units) and Belgium (570 units).

Thanks to a record performance, the Volvo XC60 PHEV finished in fifth, reaching 5,752 registrations. Despite the SUV’s current generation dating back to 2017, it managed four-digit results in Germany (1,324 units). It performed well in its domestic market of Sweden (1,010 units) while the UK also boosted numbers (701 units). This result holds promise for the future Volvo EX60.

The Volvo XC40 recorded its best performance in 10 months with 5,595 deliveries. This meant three models from the Swedish manufacturer made the top six. The SUV is seemingly unaffected by the demand for its new sibling, the EX30.

VW’s top 20 return

Further down the chart, the VW ID.4 returned to the table in 11th place, posting 4,680 registrations.

Other positivity in the VW Group came from the Audi A3 PHEV, achieving a record 4,275 deliveries to take 16th place.

Meanwhile, Mercedes-Benz saw success with its GLC PHEV, finishing in 18th thanks to 4,051 registrations. This was the SUV's best result since December 2021, and a record figure for the model’s current generation.

These two PHEVs are likely benefitting from the end of BEV subsidies in some countries, namely Germany. Without all-electric incentives, some consumers are turning to PHEV offerings.

Returning to the top 20 was the VW ID.3, taking the last spot on the table and posting 3,955 deliveries. Outside of the chart, the Toyota bZ4X was less than 100 units away, reaching a record result of 3,868 registrations.

Elsewhere, the Porsche Cayenne PHEV (3,394 units) stretched ahead of the Audi Q8 e-Tron (2,322 units) for the full-size category lead. Meanwhile, the Mercedes-Benz EQE also challenged its domestic rival, posting a record 2,258 deliveries.

The Peugeot e-2008 (3,303 units) scored its best-ever total in March, while the Mercedes-Benz EQB (3,242 units) achieved record deliveries.

The Renault Twingo (2,694 units) reached its highest registration result since December 2022, likely helped by the new French EV incentives. More record totals in March came from the Honda e:Ny1 (2,283 units), the BMW i5 (2,184 units), the Opel Astra Electric (667 units) and the Peugeot e-208 (622 units). Finally, the Nissan Ariya (1,561 units) had its best delivery tally (1,516 units) in 15 months.

A commanding lead for Tesla

The Tesla Model Y took a commanding lead in the first quarter’s EV top 20. With 58,200 deliveries, it accounted for 8.3% of the plug-in market.

The crossover posted double the figures of its sibling in second, the Tesla Model 3, which reached 26,826 registrations. Its position was safe from the third-place Audi Q4 e-Tron, which was more than 11,300 units behind. Thanks to 15,443 deliveries, it moved ahead of the Volvo XC40 (15,180 units).

However, the Swedish carmaker could pose a threat to the top positions, behind Tesla. The Volvo XC60 moved up three positions to fifth with 14,080 registrations, while the Volvo EX30 jumped six spots in the table to eighth (13,569 units).

Also gaining ground was the BMW iX1 (10,915 units) which moved up three positions to 12th. The Fiat 500e (9,925 units) climbed one place into 15th while the Audi A3 PHEV (9,453 units) rose to 16th.

Both the VW ID.4 (9,226 units) and the Mercedes-Benz EQA (9,001 units) rejoined the table in 18th and 19th respectively. The VW ID.3 (8,498 units) is expected to reappear in the table soon, sitting just 235 deliveries behind the Porsche Cayenne PHEV in 20th place.

Tesla stretches ahead

Tesla stretched its lead in the best-selling plug-in brand table, accounting for 12.2% of all EV registrations. BMW remained in second with a 10.3% share, up 0.1 percentage points (pp) from the previous month.

Mercedes took third (8.7% share) but saw its gap over Volvo in fourth shorten (8.2% share, up 0.1pp). Rounding out the top five was Audi (7.1% share, down 0.1pp) which was comfortably ahead of VW in sixth (5.1% share). Behind, both Kia and Peugeot each made up 4.8% of the EV market.

Grouping brands under their parent companies, VW Group lost ground but stayed in first, falling from a 19.5% share to a 19.1% share. Tesla moved up to second place, surging to a 12.2% market share, up 0.6pp. This was at the expense of Stellantis, which dropped to third place (12.1% share, down 0.1pp).

Meanwhile, BMW Group finished fourth (10.9% share) and Geely-Volvo came fifth (10% share). The OEM could challenge for fourth in the coming months. Mercedes-Benz Group secured sixth (9.2% share), yet is struggling to recover ground.

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