The European new car market continued to live through challenging times during the first half of this year. The latest data published by JATO Dynamics indicate that the new car registrations dropped by 14% over the same period of 2021, to 5.54 million units in 27 European nations. That’s quite different from the positive variation seen in China (+3.4%) but better than the results in USA, where the market dived 18.2%.

Among the safe havens that prevented a further drop were the SUVs and electric cars. The former recorded a moderated decrease of just 4% counting for almost 50% of the volume. The latter did much better, with their registrations increasing from 485,000 units in H1 2021 to 633,200 units in H1 2022, up by 31%. This means that the BEVs now count for 11.4% of total market, or almost four points above their market share a year earlier.

Tesla growth slows down

The increasing demand of BEVs did not benefit all the car makers equally. Tesla for instance was not able to make use of this growth and even if it registered more cars than ever, its growth lagged behind the overall market. As it faced issues with the availability of new cars due to the halt of production at its Chinese plant, the Silicon Valley company saw its market share within the BEV market decreased from 13.75% in H1 2021 to 13.33% in H1 2022.

European new car market H1 2022 graphic

The 0.42 points lost put Tesla as the third OEM with the highest market share lost during the period, only behind the Volkswagen group, down by 5.7 points, and Nissan Group, down by 1.4 points. Tesla was severely affected by a massive drop of the registrations of the Model 3 during June (-76%), a month that is usually very strong in terms of volume.

As the brand heads to the full utilisation of its new plant in Berlin, it still depends on products coming from its factories overseas. However, there are other reasons for the slowdown of its growth in Europe.

BEV registrations Europe H1 2021-2022 graphic

More competition than ever

The Model 3 is now facing more competition not only from the external but also at home. The BMW i4 and the Polestar 2 are two direct rivals that continued to gain traction in June. In addition, as it happened in USA and China, the Tesla Model Y has become a serious and more appealing alternative. Actually, the Model Y was the most registered electric vehicle in Europe during the first six months of this year.

The race for the electrification is involving almost all the brands available in Europe. The BMW Group for instance is the fastest growing maker within the segment, with its market share jumping from 5.76% in H1 2021 to 8.37% one year later. The latest products, such as the iX, iX3 and i4, are having a positive response from the public.

The Korean Hyundai-Kia is also growing faster than its rivals thanks to the strong results posted by the Hyundai IONIQ 5 and Kia EV6, in addition to the good position of the Hyundai Kona and Kia Niro. Hyundai-Kia has properly positioned itself as a serious EV maker with interesting products and competitive prices.

Stellantis is also a winner during this period. It consolidated its position as the second BEV seller in Europe, only behind Volkswagen Group. This was possible due to the very good results of the Fiat 500e, the third most registered pure electric car in Europe over the period. It seems that the iconic Fiat is repeating the formula of success of the ICE version: cute design, easy-to-ride and cheap to maintain.

Top 10 best selling b-cars in Europe H1 2022 graphic

The author of the article, Felipe Munoz, is an Automotive Industry Specialist at JATO Dynamics.