European new car registrations dropped by 10% year on year in July, but the uptake of electric vehicles continued to grow, taking an increased market share at the expense of plug-in hybrids.
Registrations across 27 European markets totalled 866,038 - down from 966,453 in July 2021, according to Jato Dynamics.
For the year to date, new registrations stood at 6,398,609, a year-on-year decline of 13%, and a level comparable with January to July of 2020 - when the pandemic’s impact on the industry was most severe.
“The impact of the chip shortage and current lack of consumer confidence is proving to be just as damaging to the market as the arrival of Covid-19,” said Felipe Munoz, global analyst at Jato.
The decline had previously been attributed to the ongoing global shortage of semiconductors and the war in Ukraine. Electric vehicle production in particular has been affected by the supply crisis, after sustaining promising levels of growth in previous months.
Plug-in hybrid sales were hit particularly hard in July, dropping 22%, likely because they no longer qualify for certain incentives in various European markets.
“PHEVs are losing regulatory favour and this is already impacting their position within the market,” Munoz said. “While governments are trying to steer the industry towards pure-electric vehicles, hybrids still have an important role to play if we are to see widespread uptake of low-emissions vehicles across Europe.”
Meanwhile, battery-electric vehicles posted growth of 20% year on year to 90,139 units, accounting for 10.4% of all registrations in Europe.
The Volkswagen Group was said to be hit particularly hard by global parts shortages. Jato said the firm was “struggling to deliver its electric cars”, particularly the Volkswagen ID 3 hatchback.
The group's delivery stagnation allowed Stellantis and Renault to grow vital market share. Stellantis increased sales by 41% year on year, while Renault posted gains of 66%.
Chinese manufacturers also recorded positive results, with the likes of MG selling 3000 units - an increase of 56% year on year.
“China’s manufacturers are slowly climbing the rankings, becoming a credible alternative for those looking for an affordable and appealing electric car,” Munoz said.
The Volkswagen T-Roc topped the sales rankings for July, becoming the first car in three months to knock the Peugeot 208 off the top spot. Volkswagen sold 19,938 units of the popular crossover, for 15% growth year on year.
It was followed by the Dacia Sandero (16,632) and the 208 (16,317). Here's the full top 10 list of Europe’s best-selling models.
1 Volkswagen T-Roc, 18,938, +15%
The Volkswagen T-Roc has been around since 2017 and its popularity reflects its versatile mix of petrol and diesel powertrains, as well as the more recent introduction of a performance-oriented flagship R model. You can even get a convertible. It was July’s most popular car in Europe.
2 Dacia Sandero, 16,632, -19%
Sales of the affordable Dacia Sandero supermini dropped 19% year on year, but it was still the month’s second-most popular car. It became an even more appealing buy last year with the introduction of a new-generation model, featuring much-improved equipment such as LED headlights and a touchscreen infotainment system. It has previously topped this list, so expect it to challenge until the end of the year.
3 Peugeot 208, 16,317, +51%
The Peugeot 208 dropped down to third in July with 16,317 sales. It’s still good news for Peugeot, though, because that figure represents a growth of 51% year on year. The popularity of the 208 is no doubt helped by extensive revisions in line with Peugeot's new design language. The car's versatility and affordable price remain attractive, as it's offered with petrol, diesel and electric powertrains.
4 Toyota Yaris, 14,923, -21%
Last month’s 10th-place car, the Yaris moved up six places in July. The supermini remains popular in its fourth generation, and it’s still Toyota’s most successful and biggest-selling model in Europe. Its GR performance variant, meanwhile, was one of the best cars we tested last year.
5 Dacia Duster, 14,920, -21%
The Dacia Duster, the affordable SUV based on the Sandero, finished middle of the park in the top 10 in July - just three units behind the Yaris. Like the Sandero, the Duster has gained a style overhaul and some comprehensive equipment upgrades that, partnered with four-wheel drive, offers a well-packaged proposition for many buyers.
6 Fiat 500, 14,859, +20%
Is there a more recognisable small car than the Fiat 500? It’s been on sale since 2007 and it’s unlikely to be dropped any time soon. The model recently gained an electric variant with a battery size of up to 44kWh. Range is pegged at 199 miles, but mild-hybrid and petrol models remain on sale if electric isn’t your bag.
7 Hyundai Tucson, 14,339, -3%
The Hyundai Tucson regularly appears in these top 10 lists, and It continues to state its claim to be one of the best-selling SUVs on the continent. A refresh in 2021 brought a new front end and an eye-catching lighting set-up.
8 Volkswagen Golf, 14,374, -26%
Now well into its eighth generation, the Volkswagen Golf continues to be one of the top-selling cars in Europe. July wasn’t so positive for the model, with a year-on-year drop of 26%, but it was still enough to see the hatchback finish in eighth place - proving its popularity is still rife. Its latest line-up features pure-ICE, mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains, with performance models ranging from the Golf GTE to the four-wheel-drive Golf R.
9 Opel/Vauxhall Corsa, 13,992, +12%
Despite growth of 12% in July, the Corsa finishes the month in ninth place, having previously held the top spot. The revamped Corsa had a successful 2021 and continues to remain popular at the halfway point of 2022, its pre-Stellantis PSA-developed underpinnings and mix of petrol, diesel and electric powertrains proving attractive.
10 Kia Sportage, 12,698, +37%
The Kia Sportage is the latest car in the model range to receive a total visual overhaul. It’s now in its fifth generation and is once again proving a smash hit for the firm, thanks to its eye-catching design, on-trend powertrains and strong value for money. It’s July’s 10th best-selling car in Europe, with encouraging sales growth of 37%.