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European car market grows 21% in August

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BM. GE
20.09.23 17:39
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In August 2023, the EU car market expanded by 21%, reaching 787,626 registered units, marking the thirteenth consecutive month of growth. Despite August typically being a slower month for car sales, double-digit gains indicate that the EU market is rebounding from last year’s component shortages. There were double-digit percentage gains in most markets, including the three largest: Germany (+37.3%), France (+24.3%), and Italy (+11.9%), the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) said in a statement.

From January to August 2023, new EU car registrations grew substantially (+17.9%), totalling 7.1 million units. Despite this year-to-date improvement, the market trails the pre-COVID-pandemic level of 9 million units sold in 2019. Notably, most markets experienced double-digit percentage gains in this eight-month period, including the four largest: Spain (+20.5%), Italy (+20.2%), France (+16.6%), and Germany (+16.5%).

New car registrations by power source

In August, the market share of battery-electric cars exceeded 20% for the first time (up from 11.6% in August last year), overtaking diesel for the second time this year and becoming the third-most-popular choice for new car buyers. Hybrid-electric cars held their position as buyers’ second choice, with a 24% market share. While petrol cars are still the most popular choice, market share decreased from 38.7% in August last year to 32.7%.

Electric cars

In August 2023, EU battery-electric car registrations surged by 118.1%, reaching 165,165 units, accounting for 21% of the market. Except for Malta (-22.6%), all EU markets saw double- and triple-digit percentage growth, with Germany, the largest market by volume, growing by a remarkable 170.7%. Belgium recorded the highest growth rate of 224.5%. Overall, battery-electric car sales increased by a significant 62.7%, with nearly 1 million units registered from January to August.

In August, new EU hybrid-electric car registrations expanded by 29%, primarily driven by robust growth in three of its four largest markets: Germany (+59%), France (+38.7%), and Spain (+21.5%), while Italy recorded a slight decline (-2.3%). This resulted in a cumulative 28.6% increase, with nearly 1.8 million units sold between January and August, equivalent to a quarter of the market.

Last month, new EU plug-in hybrid car registrations grew by 5.5%, totalling 58,557 units. Strong performance in major markets such as the Netherlands (+44.7%), France (+40.5%), and Sweden (+24.9%) helped offset the decline in Germany (-41.1%), the largest market for this power source. Despite this growth, the market share of plug-in hybrid cars decreased from 8.5% to 7.4% in August this year.

Petrol and diesel cars

In August, the EU petrol car market slightly increased by 2.1%, although its market share decreased from 38.7% to 32.7% compared to August last year. A solid performance in Italy (+25.3%) and France (+21.5%) primarily drove this growth, while most of the bloc’s markets declined.

Conversely, the EU’s diesel car market continued its decline in August (-6%), despite growth in Germany (+9.2%) and Central and Eastern European markets, notably Slovakia (+22.6%) and Romania (+19.4%). Diesel cars now have a market share of 12.5%, down from 16.1% in August of the previous year.

EU automobile industry

13.0 million Europeans work in the automotive sector
11.5% of all manufacturing jobs in the EU
€374.6 billion in tax revenue for European governments
€101.9 billion trade surplus for the European Union
Over 7% of EU GDP generated by the auto industry
€59.1 billion in R&D spending annually, 31% of EU total.