Peugeot 208 ends Volkswagen Golf’s 14 year reign as Europe’s best-selling car in 2022
- The European new car market recorded a third consecutive annual decline in 2022
- China’s OEMs, Hyundai-Kia, and Toyota emerged as the biggest winners
- Tesla outsold Seat, Suzuki, and Mini
- Puegeot’s 208 topped the rankings by model
The European new car market recorded another year-on-year decline in 2022. According to JATO Dynamics data for 30 markets (EU-26 + UK, Norway, Switzerland, and Iceland), volume totaled 11,309,310 units, down by 4.1% when compared to 2021, and the lowest level since 1985.
Last year, the market registered 674,000 fewer units than recorded in 2020 – when the Covid-19 pandemic hit Europe’s economies – marking a decline of 5.6%. Compared with 2019, total volume was down by 29% with 4.5 million fewer new vehicle registrations. Felipe Munoz, Global Analyst at JATO Dynamics, commented: “Shortages of new vehicles at dealerships, inflation, and the energy crisis, all proved to be major challenges for the already troubled market last year. The fallout of the pandemic, followed by the semi-conductor shortage throughout 2021 and 2022, was only compounded by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and subsequent energy price increases, impacting consumer confidence and spending.”
China’s OEMs gained ground
While they continue to play a minor role in terms of market share, Chinese brands – excluding Volvo, Polestar, Lynk & Co, (part of Geely Group) and including MG – made significant progress in 2022. Among all car groups, these brands gained the most market share, with registrations jumping from 66,100 units in 2021 to 152,400 units last year.
Combined, Chinese brands outsold established manufacturers including Mazda, Suzuki, and Jaguar Land Rover. A large proportion of sales corresponded to vehicles designed, and manufactuered by Chinese owned brand MG, which saw a volume increase of 116% to almost 114,000 units, outselling the likes of Jeep and Honda.
DR Automobiles, an Italian company that sells rebadged vehicles manufactured by Chinese brand Chery in Spain and Italy, outsold Smart and Subaru with an increase in registrations of 197% to almost 25,000 units. MG and DR vehicles accounted for 91% of the volume registered by all Chinese brands. BYD, Hongqi, Maxus, NIO, DFSK, and Aiways, all registered over 1,000 units.
Munoz, continued: “A competitive product offering and reasonable sales targets are allowing Chinese brands to make inroads into the European car market. The next step is to build awareness and encourage the shift away from the negative sentiment that has historically disuaded some consumers from buying Chinese products.”
Hyundai-Kia and Toyota shone
Hyundai-Kia and Toyota also perfomed well in 2022. The former saw an increase in volume of 3.8% to 1.05 million units – closing the gap on Renault Group which took third position in the OEM rankings. Kia was the main contributor to these results, outselling its sister brand, Hyundai. The latest generations of the Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson proved popular with consumers, outselling the SUV offering of other leading manufacturers such as the Volkswagen Tiguan, Peugeot 3008, and Nissan Qashqai.
Toyota’s results were owed largely to the successful first full year of the Yaris Cross – Europe’s fourth best-selling B-SUV. The Japanese carmaker secured a record second position in the ranking by brand, outsold only by Volkswagen.
Tesla keeps climbing
Tesla’s market share soared from 1.43% in 2021 to 2.06% in 2022, outselling Seat, Mini, and Suzuki, while trailing Nissan by 4,300 units. This growth was driven by the Model Y, Europe’s best-selling electric vehicle with just over 138,000 registered units. The fully-electric SUV was Europe’s 13th best-selling car in 2022, and as expected, the increasing popularity of the Model Y came at the expense of the Model 3 – Europe’s 17th most registered vehicle in 2021.
Stellantis, Suzuki, and Volkswagen decline
In contrast, OEMs like Stellantis, Suzuki, and Volkswagen Group saw their market share decline in 2022. The most significant drop was felt by Stellantis – down from 20.23% in 2021 to 18.22% in 2022. Registrations fell by 14% to 2.06 million units – the largest decline among Europe’s ten largest OEMs by volume. All four major brands under the Stellantis umbrella (Peugeot, Opel, Fiat, and Citroen) recorded double-digit drops due to supply issues arising and the availability of key vehicles such as the Peugeot 2008 and 3008 – alongside aging vehicles such as the Jeep Renegade, and Fiat 500X.
The Peugeot 208 dethrones the Golf
2022 marked the end of the Volkwagen Golf’s reign as Europe best-selling car. The hatchback has been the most popular vehicle in Europe since 2007. Munoz, added: “The success of the Golf is owed to the fact that it was able to meet the needs of a wide range of consumers without leading in any given parameter. But times change, and today consumer priorities are quite different from some years ago.”
In addition to challenges with software, Volkswagen faced a new wave internal competition with increasing appetite for SUVs, and the growing popularity of its siblings, the T-Roc, Tiguan, Karoq, Ateca, and more recently the Formentor. While not direct rivals, these vehicles sit near the Golf in terms of pricing. The Peugeot 208 emerged as the beneficiary of these challenges.The last time Peugeot led the European market was in 2007, with the Peugeot 207.
The Golf fell from 1st to 5th place in the general ranking by model between 2021 and 2022. The Dacia Sandero was Europe’s second most registered vehicle, holding its position achieved in 2021 thanks to continued strong demand in France. The Volkswagen T-Roc, Europe’s best-selling SUV, secured 3rd place and was followed by the Fiat 500 which again performed well thanks to its electric version.
Other notable performers include the Hyundai Tucson which entered the top 10 with over 150,000 units as the best- selling C-SUV; the Kia Sportage also impressed thanks to the new generation; the Opel/Vauxhall Mokka saw a volume increase (+34%) becoming Stellantis’ third best-selling SUV; with the new generation, Peugeot increased registrations of the 308 (+80%); the Cupra Formentor (+68%) outsold any Seat; Renault registered close to 82,000 units of the Arkana; Volkswagen registered 67,400 units of the Taigo during its first full year in market. Dacia registered 55,300 units of the Jogger while its sibling, the Spring, registered 48,800 units (+77%); the MG ZS saw its volume increase from 27,700 in 2021 to 46,100 units in 2022; BMW registered 41,100 units of the 4-Series (+36%); Hyundai registered 37,600 units of the IONIQ 5, ahead of the Cupra Born with 32,400 units, and the Polestar 2 with 32,300 units (+68%).
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