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Wait, what? Two of the three top selling cars in Europe last month were electric

Published Jan 27, 2021


LONDON - The Volkswagen Golf has been the top-selling vehicle in Europe for as long as many can remember, and that status quo remained throughout 2020, right up to the final sales month of the year.

However, it’s the second and third place rankings for December that make for interesting reading. Traditionally the Golf has had to fend off vehicles like the Renault Clio and Opel Corsa, but according to Jato Dynamics, last month saw the Volkswagen ID.3 and Tesla Model 3 electric cars complete the European sales podium.

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The ID.3, which is VW’s first high volume electric car, managed to find 27 997 homes in December, closing in on its Golf cousin’s total volume of 30 073 units. The Tesla Model 3 registered 24 567 sales and it was followed by a trio of combustion-engined compact hatches in the form of the Renault Clio (22 399), Peugeot 208 (20 690) and Toyota Yaris (20 465).

However, given that the VW ID.3 only came on stream later in the year, it was not the top-selling EV in the full year of 2020 - that honour went to the Renault Zoe with 99 261 registrations. The Tesla Model 3 was Europe’s second best-selling EV in 2020, with 85 713 sales, while the ID.3 followed in third place with 56 118.

“Europe is getting ready for an EV revolution and last month’s results are a clear indicator that when these cars have the right price attached to them, they can lure consumer demand away from popular petrol and diesel models,” said Jato Dynamics global analyst Felipe Munoz.

Other models which have benefitted from recent EV growth include the Fiat 500 (boosted by the pure electric version) the Peugeot 2008, the Hyundai Kona, the Opel/Vauxhall Corsa and the Renault Zoe.

As for the plug-in hybrid market, Mercedes recently overtook Mitsubishi as the go-to brand for these “best of both worlds” offerings.

“Plug-in hybrid registrations in Europe have, historically, been led by the Mitsubishi Outlander,” Jato Dynamics said in a statement.

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“It was the first model to offer this hybrid solution and remained to be the leading example until 2020. Mercedes now occupies this position due to the success of their PHEV A-Class, E-Class and SUVs. In 2020, Mercedes held an 18 percent share of the PHEV market.”

IOL Motoring