27 Sep 21

Zero emission cars outsell diesel for first time

Electric and plugin hybrid cars hammered a further nail into the coffin of diesel models in August. Cars capable of driving with zero tailpipe emission outsold diesel for the first time ever, in a month when the automotive industry struggled with serious supply issues.

Total new car sales across 26 European markets were 18% lower in August compared to the same month of 2020, when lockdowns had closed many car dealerships; and they were 33% lower than pre-pandemic August 2019.  

In total, 713,714 new cars were registered last month, making it the lowest recorded volume in August since 2014. The decline in sales was not enough, however, for 2021’s year-to-date sales figures of 8,095,419 to slip below 2020’s January-August total of 7,192,839 units.

New car supply shortages

Felipe Munoz, Global Analyst at JATO Dynamics, said: “The chip shortage has been a major setback for OEMs still grappling with the effects of the pandemic. Production issues and delays in the delivery of new cars have been damaging to sales, and the lack of availability at dealerships is forcing many consumers to either look for used cars or simply delay their purchase.”

He added that the long lead times for new car orders once associated with luxury supercars were now common for regular models.

EVs and PHEVs delivered the only good news of the month, with their 151,737 sales achieving a market share of 21%. This strong performance represented a 61% year-on-year increase and elevated EV sales to 1.32 million units since January.

“We have seen a fundamental shift in buying habits as more appealing models have entered the market and consumers have become aware of the benefits attached to EVs,” said Munoz.

Overall, the combined sales of EVs, PHEVs and Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles outstripped diesel sales in August by 10,100, overturning a deficit of 158,300 in August 2020.

Leading the EV charge was the Volkswagen ID.3, which was also the 15th best selling car across the 26 European markets, followed by the Tesla Model 3 and Volkswagen ID.4.

The best-selling car overall was the Dacia Sandero, followed by the Volkswagen Golf and Toyota Yaris, with the BMW 3-Series topping the premium rankings.

Images: Volkswagen and JATO

Authored by: Jonathan Manning