Passenger car sales in Europe (26 European markets, monitored by JATO Dynamics) once again declined due to the chip shortage. The number of registrations amounted to 964,800 (down 25% year-over-year).

Because of a few weak months, the year-to-date number is now just 7% above the level of 2020.

Felipe Munoz, Global Analyst at JATO Dynamics, commented:

“Dealers continue to face issues with the availability of new cars due to the chip shortage. As a result, unwilling to wait more than a year for a new car, many consumers have turned to the used car market.”

Plug-ins, with 221,500 new registrations (up 44% year-over-year), are selling better and better, taking some 23% of the total market in September, compared to just 12% a year ago and 5% in 2019.

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So far this year, about 1.5 million plug-ins were sold in Europe. On the other hand, diesel is fading.

"OEMs with a large offering of pure electric and plug-in hybrid cars have been less impacted by the current crisis, as European consumers continue to take advantage of the various incentives and subsidies available for these vehicles. In stark contrast, both the chip shortage and the growing severity of the climate crisis has caused diesel vehicle sales to plummet. In September, low emission vehicles posted a monthly growth of 44%, to 221,500 units, while the registrations of diesels decreased by 51%, to 167,000 units."

"Before the pandemic, there were 10.3 new diesel cars registered for every electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle. Today, that ratio has decreased to just 1.3."

Another general finding is that customers in Europe are loving SUVs. In September, 46.5% of all car registrations were crossover/SUVs, which is a new record. It's expected that the market is on track to reach 50% in the not-too-distant future.

"Despite the current crisis faced by OEMs, these vehicles continue to gain traction thanks to the arrival of EV and plug-in hybrid alternatives, such as Tesla’s Model Y. Munoz commented: “If the trend continues, the roads of Europe could soon look similar to the US, where more than half of the new cars sold are SUVs.”"

Top 10 best-selling models with Tesla as #1

Thanks to a high number of deliveries in the last month of the quarter, Tesla has achieved unprecedented results in Europe.

The Tesla Model 3 has become not only the best-selling electric car, but the best-selling car overall for the month of September 2021 with about 24,512 registrations and 2.6% market share.

Not only that, for the first time a model manufactured outside of Europe is the best-selling car, which sounds like another warning signal for the local automotive industry.

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On top of all this, the Tesla Model Y - recently launched in Europe - was the second best selling electric car (8,926 registrations).

Those two outstanding results combined gave Tesla a very high 24% share in the BEV segment, above Volkswagen Group (22%), Stellantis (13%) and Hyundai Motor Group (almost 11%), and the brand even outsold such brands as Fiat, Nissan and SEAT.

But let's remember that Tesla usually stacks its deliveries in the last month of a quarter, which might give a false impression that all months are like that, while the quarterly average is lower.

"The strong performance of the Model 3 is in part explained by Tesla’s intensive end-of-quarter sales push. September has historically been a strong month for the US manufacturer’s registration results in Europe, on average accounting for 68% of its third quarter deliveries since 2018. Last month, registrations accounted for 74% of third quarter volume."

JATO Dynamics' data shows also a strong sales results of a few other models. The Volkswagen ID.3 noted 8,302 registrations, while the Renault ZOE is at 6,580 (but down 40% year-over-year).

The Skoda Enyaq iV (5,942) is fifth with a noticeable advantage over its cousin, the Volkswagen ID.4 (4,603), which was beaten by Kia Niro EV (5,516) and Fiat 500 electric (4,758).

Among plug-in hybrids, the Ford Kuga PHEV (Ford Escape PHEV in the U.S.) remains #1, but without any substantial advantage over a few other PHEVs.

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