• European car market down by 8.7% due to pre-WLTP spike in August 2018
  • Daimler, Suzuki and Ford were the biggest market share winners of the month
  • The Volkswagen Golf leads the rankings, followed by the Dacia Duster
  • Registrations of fully electric cars increased by 76% on August 2018, and 143% on August 2017


As expected, new car registrations in Europe fell in August 2019 in comparison to the same month last year. Last month’s volume totaled 1,070,276 units, down by 8.7% or 102,000 units compared to August 2018. The year on year drop can be explained by the introduction of WLTP in September 2018, which saw many carmakers and consumers push through their purchases (self-registrations and private registrations respectively) in order to get rid of the units that were not homologated or not making use of special discounts. This is even more apparent when compared to the previous year, as registrations in 2018 increased by 30% compared to August 2017.

Despite the expected drop, the results in August 2019 are not as bad as they seem. “After the impressive growth posted a year ago the drop could have been a lot bigger, so a single-digit decrease is better than expected. More importantly, last month was the second highest August of the last 10 years. In fact, the volume last month was 19% higher than in August 2017 and was the only time (excluding August 2018) that total volume exceeded 1 million units for the month,” commented Felipe Munoz, JATO’s global analyst.

For the country rankings, while the year on year comparison to 2018 may seem alarming, only four out of 27 posted a decrease compared to August 2017: Sweden, Norway, Ireland and Switzerland.

The results by segment reflect a similar trend. SUVs continued to lead the market, but their volume fell by 3% to 407,700 units. The only two segments to register a positive result were city-cars (+3%) and sports cars (+15%). However, the balance is relatively positive when compared to August 2017, when SUV volume totaled 266,000 units and had a market share of 30% compared to 38% last month. MPVs, midsize cars, executive cars and compact cars were the only segments to lose ground compared to August 2017.

The strong results for SUVs were mostly boosted by three models: the Dacia Duster, which topped the SUV ranking during the month and occupied the second place in the overall model ranking for the first time; the Volkswagen T-Roc, whose popularity doesn’t seem to fade; and the Volkswagen T-Cross, which has already sold more than 50,000 units since January.

Meanwhile, the rapid decline of diesel registrations isn’t slowing down. In August, diesel volume fell by 23% compared to the same month last year, and 16% compared to August 2017. Moreover, diesel market share has continuously fallen from 42% two years ago to 35% in August 2018 to 30% last month. While diesel is in freefall, electrified vehicles (BEV, PHEV and HEV) continued to gain traction with their market share jumping from 5.6% in Aug-17 to 6.0% in Aug-18 to 7.8% last month.

A total of 83,700 electrified cars were registered in August 2019. Hybrids counted for 56%, with Mercedes outselling Lexus and becoming the second largest brand by registrations volume. Registrations of fully electric cars totaled 23,200 units, up by 76% on August 2018, and 143% on August 2017. Tesla shone thanks to the Model 3, which was the top-selling BEV of the month.

“It’s clear that the diesel crisis is not going to stop anytime soon. We’re used to seeing registration peaks for Tesla in Europe at the end of each quarter. However, August showed an unusual result as there was a peak a month earlier. This indicates that the demand is stabilizing at very strong levels. However, while EVs are becoming increasingly popular, their high prices remain their biggest limitation for consumers,” explains Munoz.

The model ranking shows clear winners for the month. The recently launched Volkswagen T-Cross was the top market share winner hitting the top 20 in 18th. The Suzuki Jimny, Peugeot 508, Chevrolet Camaro, Peugeot Rifter, Smart Fortwo, Mercedes G-Class, Suzuki S-Cross, Ford S-Max, Suzuki Vitara and Volkswagen T6 all posted very high increases.

Notable highlights among the latest launches include 3,401 units registered of the Seat Tarraco; 4,737 units of the Citroen C5 Aircross, 5,258 units of the Tesla Model 3, 4,884 units of the Skoda Scala and 1,664 units of the Kia Proceed.