27 Jul 23

Tesla and MG top the charts in the first half of 2023

JATO released the results of its research into new car sales in Europe in the first half of 2023. With Tesla and MG winning market shares, growth is positive but still not back to pre-pandemic levels. 

Let’s look at what’s helping and hindering growth in new car sales. 

New car registrations rose 17% in the first half of 2023 and 18% in June alone. This is compared to the same period in 2022. Since January, Tesla has outperformed every other brand to be crowned the best-selling BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle). But despite major marketing and sales efforts, Chinese brands have struggled to keep pace with Western manufacturers. 

Across Europe’s 28 markets, the first half of 2023 witnessed the most new car registrations since the pandemic, with a total of 6.56 million units. This is an increase of almost a million units (976,000) compared to 2022. However, despite promising results, they are not as high as in 2018/19.

Felipe Munoz, Global Analyst at JATO Dynamics, said: “Although registrations are slowly rising again, difficulties with supply chain, as well as other post-pandemic factors, means that the market won’t return to the same state that it was in before 2020 for a while.” A major barrier to reaching those higher volumes is the accessibility of electric vehicles and their higher prices. 

Tesla’s dominance of BEV market

In that respect, Tesla was the best-seller within the BEV market in both June and the first half of the year, more generally, with 48,200 vehicles registered last month – doubling the volume recorded during the same previous period. The Tesla Model Y drove the brand’s continued popularity, becoming Europe’s best-selling passenger car in June and H1 2023 and reigning as the world’s most popular car in Q1 of the year. 

In June 2023, Tesla registered more new cars than other mainstream brands like Opel/Vauxhall, Citroën, or Fiat, with the Model Y and Model 3 growing by 95% and 117%, respectively. Tesla’s performance in June enabled the OEM to achieve the biggest market share increase. Munoz noted: “The increase in the availability of cars following the start of local production in Germany, as well as price cuts, explains Tesla’s rapid growth recently. It’s also important to note that Tesla represents EVs for many worldwide, and today more and more people are turning electric.” 

MG dominates competitors

MG had the second-highest market share increase. With 104,300 units registered in H1 2023, MG outsold other brands such as Mini, Cupra, and Jeep. Partly due to the success of MG 4, its volume grew by 128% since H1 2022.

Munoz, added: “MG is using both the notoriety of the brand in the West, and the competitiveness of the Chinese market, to its advantage. Its appealing, modern, and affordable electric cars in both Western and Eastern markets is a good showcase of how Chinese manufacturers can gain more traction and shift perceptions of their products.” 

Chinese brands struggle

At the end of 2022, analysts predicted an onslaught of Chinese brands dominating the European market, but it hasn’t materialised so far. Aside from MG, GWM (Great Wall Motors) and BYD have failed to do anything other than make traction. Earlier this month, MG’s parent company SAIC announced plans to build a European manufacturing facility for electric cars. 

JATO’s data shows that of the 26 Chinese-made cars that sell in Europe, 43,101 units have been registered between January and June 2023, amounting to just a 0.66% market share. Nonetheless, they still experienced growth on the 0.43% market share they had during the same period the year before in 2022.

Other brands

The Skoda Octavia also experienced a significant market share increase from H1 2022 to the same period in 2023. This was followed by the Dacia Jogger, Toyota Yaris Cross, Renault Clio, Volkswagen Tiguan, Renault Megane, MG ZS, Volkswagen ID.3 and ID.4, and Ford Focus. In contrast, the models that saw the most significant declines were the Toyota RAV4, Peugeot 208, Toyota Corolla, Opel/Vauxhall Crossland, Fiat Panda, Citroën C3, Peugeot 3008, Volksagen Golf, Renault Zoe, and Kia Niro. 

Images courtesy of JATO

Authored by: Alison Pittaway