Who goes up and who goes down, plus sign and minus sign. Numbers and percentages, when strung together in the rankings, often prove deceptive, almost always failing to explain the reasons for a trend. However, in their framing of the facts, the data from ACEA, the Association of European Automobile Manufacturers, are solidly reliable.

And what emerges from these figures in the covering of 'enlarged' Europe (EU+EFTA+UK) last year? Among the biggies, the Volkswagen Group and Renault Group did very well, whilst for Stellantis 2023 was subdued. The group led by Carlos Tavares grew yes, but by 3.7% (to 2,128,625 registered vehicles), i.e. much less than the market as a whole which rose by 13.7%.

Stellantis vs Volkswagen

It is, however, in comparison to its direct competitors that Stellantis sets the pace with a percentage increase that is five times lower than that of Volkswagen (+18.5%) and with more than 1.196 million fewer registered cars than the Germans' 3,324,705. In 2022 the gap between the two groups was less than one million cars at 751,978. Which means that in 2023 it was up 59 per cent.

Schermata 2024-01-19 alle 11.17.23

A partial screenshot of Acea data with 2023 sales (EU+EFTA+UK)

Declining market share

Not much better is the comparison with Renault, the third largest European player in terms of number of units sold (1,242,293), which showed a sales increase of 16.9% in 2023, i.e. more than four and a half times that of Stellantis. Finally, to find a lower growth in ACEA's ranking than that of the multinational merged PSA and FCA, one has to reach Ford's eighth position (+0.4%).

If we then talk about market share, Stellantis has dropped from 18.2% in 2022 to 16.6% in 2023, while Volkswagen and Renault have risen to 25.9% (from 24.8%) and 9.7% from 9.4% respectively.

Fiat Tipo Hybrid - Point of Review

Fiat Tipo Hybrid 

Fiat, DS and Citroën with a minus sign

The trend for individual brands, again in the case of Stellantis, presents lights and shadows. Let's start with the latter: it is somewhat shocking to see that in the European Association's ranking the only three brands with a minus sign among the top 34 are Fiat (+Abarth) at -3.4% over 2022, DS at -3.1% and Citroën at -1.5%. To find other negative performances one has to go to the last three places in the ranking with Jaguar (-0.4%), Honda (-9.8%) and Mitsubishi (-25.1%).

The rebirth of Alfa Romeo

The satisfactions for the group chaired by John Elkann come from Jeep (+22.6%), the brands classified as 'other', i.e. mainly Maserati (+22.9%), and above all Alfa Romeo, which continues to increase sales at record rates: +52.1%, not only exceeding 50 thousand registered cars (50,088), but also surpassing its direct competitor 'at home', i.e. DS, which stopped at 48,444 units.

Alfa Romeo Tonale

Alfa Romeo Tonale

Alfa Romeo is on the podium of the brands recording the largest increases (but it should always be kept in mind that percentage changes reflect the size of the underlying numbers). Leading the way as usual is Tesla at +56.9 per cent and with over 366,000 cars sold, followed by Lexus at +53.6 with 60,286 units and, of course, Alfa Romeo.