New car registrations in Europe fell 13% year on year in May, as 15 countries including Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the UK recorded double-digit declines in growth.
Registrations across 27 European markets totalled 935,854, according to Jato Dynamics. The market analyst said it was the second-lowest May result since 1985 and just ahead of 2020, which was severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Year to date, new registrations moved to 4,482,463, a year-on-year decline also of 13%.
Jato attributed the drop in May to the ongoing global shortage of semiconductors and the war in Ukraine.
Electric vehicle production, which had sustained promising levels of growth in previous months, has been impacted by the supply crisis, claimed Jato.
“The EV boom continues, but it seems that the industry has reached a peak in terms of what it can supply in the current climate,” said Jato global analyst Felipe Munoz.
EV and PHEV registrations rose by 3.6% from May 2021 to 179,000 vehicles, while EV market share increased from 16.2% to 19.2%.
Jato said that the overall sales standings for May were affected by reduced vehicle availability, with shortages meaning some brands are currently producing more cars than others are able to.
“Due to ongoing shortages, availability is having a significant impact on the composition of the rankings and brands that are producing more vehicles are seeing this reflected in their sales performance,” said Munoz.
Hyundai-Kia retained a high market share, at 10.1% of the total. The company sold 94,800 units in May, representing a 10% rise compared with 2021, thanks to the continued success of the Hyundai Tucson.
“It’s remarkable to see Hyundai-Kia secure such an impressive result while other OEMs are struggling to absorb the combined impact of surging inflation, the geopolitical situation in Ukraine and an ongoing chip shortage,” added Munoz.
The Peugeot 208, meanwhile, was Europe’s best seller for the second consecutive month. The small hatchback achieved 15% growth year on year, shifting 18,254 cars across the continent.
The top 10 best-selling models in Europe are listed below.
The best-selling cars in Europe in May 2022
1 Peugeot 208, 18,245, +15%
The Peugeot 208 retained the top spot in May with 18,254 sales. Its popularity is no doubt helped by extensive revisions in line with Peugeot's new design language. Its versatility and affordable price remain attractive, as it's offered with petrol, diesel and electric powertrains.
2 Opel/Vauxhall Corsa, 18,166, +16%
The revamped Opel/Vauxhall Corsa had a successful 2021, finishing as the UK’s best-selling car. It continues to remain popular as we approach the halfway point of 2022, its PSA-developed underpinnings and mix of petrol, diesel and electric powertrains proving attractive.
3 Fiat 500, 17,790, +1%
The Fiat 500 has been on sale since 2007, and it’s unlikely to be dropped any time soon. The model recently gained an electric variant with battery sizes up to 44kWh. Range is pegged at 199 miles, but mild-hybrid and petrol models remain on sale if electric isn’t your bag.
4 Volkswagen T-Roc, 16,971, 0%
Volkswagen sold nearly 17,000 examples of the T-Roc in January. That’s almost equal to this time last year. The small crossover has been around since 2017, and its popularity reflects its versatile mix of petrol and diesel powertrains, as well as the recent introduction of a performance-oriented flagship R model.
5 Volkswagen Golf, 14,937, -35%
Now well into its eighth generation, the Volkswagen Golf continues to be one of the top-selling cars in Europe. May wasn’t so positive for the model, with a year-on-year drop of 35%, but it was still enough to see the hatchback finish in fifth place. Its latest line-up features pure-ICE, mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains, with performance models ranging from the Golf GTE to the four-wheel-drive Golf R.
6 Hyundai Tucson, 13,883, 0%
The Hyundai Tucson regularly appeared in the top 10 last year, following an overhaul that introduced a new, imposing design language and electrified powertrains. It continues to stake a claim as one of the best-selling SUVs on the continent, with 13,883 units sold in May.
7 Fiat Panda, 13,806, +16%
Almost a decade on from its launch, the third-generation FIat Panda continues to perform. May proved positive for the popular model, with 16% year-on-year growth. That’s good enough to move up to seventh place, up three from last month.
8 Ford Kuga, 13,762, +47%
The Ford Kuga achieved the biggest growth figure for May, with a 47% increase year on year and a total of 13,762 cars sold. The model is the US firm’s entry into a crowded segment currently led by the Nissan Qashqai, Volkswagen Tiguan and Peugeot 3008. It was updated in 2020, with a softened design, a more spacious interior and economical plug-in powertrains.
9 Ford Puma, 13,418, -5%
The Ford Puma’s driving dynamics and attractive pricing are key draws for owners, and it's looking to carry on last year’s success. Despite a slight drop year on year, the model continues to attract healthy interest. The range has swollen recently with the addition of a plush Vignale trim and a warm-blooded ST version.
10 Toyota Yaris, 12,448, -28%
The Yaris supermini remains popular in its fourth generation, but it was hit heavily in May with a sales drop of 28% year on year. It remains, however, Toyota’s most successful and biggest-selling model in Europe, and for good reason. Its GR performance variant, meanwhile, was one of the best cars we tested last year.