The first real slowdown in the European car market. After several months of double-digit growth, the market saw an increase of 6.7% in November compared to November 2022. New car registrations in the European Union reached 885,000 units just last month. , the Association of Manufacturers (ACEA) said in the press. release. This the progression remains lower compared to October, which reached +14.6%.
However, electric cars and hybrid cars especially stood out. Registrations of electric models thus jumped by 16.4% to 144,378 units. Year-on-year volume reached 1.4 million units, an increase of 48.2% compared to the previous year, mainly with Tesla sales. Overall, electricity represents 14.2% of the European market. The results were also driven by hybrids with models such as Renault Clio or Toyota Yaris. This engine exploded in 2023, gaining 27.4% market share (+29.9% in one year).
Gasoline: the majority energy in Europe
However, petrol remains the majority energy for cars in the EU: 3.5 million cars have been sold since the beginning of the year, or a 35.7% market share (+11.1%), with successes such as the Dacia Sandero.
Diesel sold better in Eastern Europe, but fell sharply in the West. Overall, it is slightly lower on the continent (-5.5%) with a market share of 13.7%. However, on the plug-in hybrid side (which can be plugged into a socket or terminal), sales continue to decline, particularly in Germany, representing 8.1% of the European market since the start of the year.
The result is still far from the pre-Covid level
Although the European car market has seen a clear recovery in recent months, with the end of shortages of electronic components, it remains far from the million vehicles sold in November 2019, before the Covid pandemic. During the first eleven months of 2023, the European market grew significantly (+16.7%), totaling almost 9.7 million units, but was more marked by the effects of inflation, which leads buyers to postpone their acquisitions. 2024 should not be a panacea either, as the European new car market should grow by only 2.5% to reach 10.7 million cars sold at the end of November, according to ACEA estimates.
Good sales in Italy (+16.2%) and France (+14%) in November contrasted with a decline in Germany, the continent’s biggest market (-5.7%), penalized by electricity models whose purchase support has dissipated since last year. At the end of last week, the German government decided to abruptly end aid for the purchase of an electric car, a removal that could deal a severe blow to the German car industry, which is already struggling with an ecological transition, experts and the trade press estimated on Sunday. The flagships of the German car industry are struggling to transition to eco-mobility in the context of a weakening global economy and weak demand. German manufacturers also face competition from their Chinese rivals, despite China being one of their main markets.
Electricity: European producers face international competition
In terms of manufacturers, sales were mainly driven by the European leader, Volkswagen Group (+19.8% in one year and 26.1% market share) and Renault-Dacia Group (+19.6% and 10.8% market share market). Number 2 Stellantis (Peugeot-Fiat) recovered more slowly (+4.8%) with 18.2% of the market.
But European manufacturers fear potentially unfair competition from cheaper Chinese electric cars. Luca de Meo, Carlos Ghosn’s successor at the head of Renault, is asking Europe for this “to ensure a level playing field of competition in the market for cars manufactured in Europe in a fair way” faces competition from Chinese and American electric cars, whether BYD or Tesla.
In October, the EU officially launched an investigation into subsidies that Beijing provides to Chinese manufacturers. In September, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen accused China of maintaining the prices of Chinese electric cars. artificially low thanks to huge public subsidies “.
The car industry is calling on Europe to slow down on standards
The European car industry lobby on Wednesday asked the future members of the European institutions, which must be renewed in 2024, to slow the pace of new regulations in the sector. The European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) calls on Europe to “ move beyond an approach focused on piling on new regulations and instead develop a coherent long-term strategy “.
With a ban on the sale of new cars with internal combustion engines from 2035, European institutions are calling for a historic shift in cars towards electric cars.
According to ACEA, European institutions must do more “conduct long-term planning” and “adopt a more reasonable regulatory pace”. “. It is also necessary to speed up the introduction of electric charging stations and hydrogen stations, but also to expand purchase bonuses and tax incentives for the purchase of less polluting vehicles, ACEA estimates.
While most manufacturers have committed to selling 100% electric cars by 2035, several brands are thinking that heat engines could be given a break. However, they broke already at the end of September, when EU member states ruled out further tightening of standards for passenger car exhaust gas pollution, believing that this would risk slowing down investment in electric cars.