European new car registrations increased for the second month in a row in September, with the Tesla Model Y leading market share growth for battery-electric vehicles.
Registrations across 27 European markets totalled 1,038,481 units for a volume increase of 7.5%, according to Jato Dynamics, compared with 965,595 units in September 2021.
Europe registered 2.65 million units in the third quarter of the year, but this was a considerable drop compared with the same period in 2020, when 2.44m units were registered.
For the year to date, new registrations stood at 8,182,818 units, which is 3.6% lower than January to September in 2020, and 32% lower than the first nine months of 2019.
“The market lost one million units per quarter over the last three years,” said Felipe Munoz, global analyst at Jato. “While a catastrophe in terms of volume relative to production capacity, the majority of OEMs have now properly adapted to this new reality.”
The decline continues to be attributed to the ongoing global shortage of semiconductors and the war in Ukraine, as well as lockdowns in China caused by Covid-19 and frequent heatwaves.
Battery-electric vehicle (BEV) growth remained positive. With 160,869 units sold in September, volume increased by 15%, accounting for its second-highest monthly market share to date at 15.6% of all registrations.
Plug-in hybrid registrations, meanwhile, increased by 7% year on year, with 87,712 units sold.
Tesla performed well last month, continuing its string of strong finishes at the end of each quarter this year. The Tesla Model Y in particular became Europe’s best-selling car for the first time, with 29,367 registrations and a year-on-year growth of 227%.
In September, the Model Y accounted for around three in every 100 new cars in Europe, outselling even the Volkswagen Golf in its native Germany.
The Peugeot 208, Dacia Sandero, Skoda Octavia and Toyota Yaris rounded off the top five.
September's best-selling cars in Europe
1 Tesla Model Y, 29,367, +227%
The Tesla Model Y’s performance certainly made up for the 50% decline of the Model 3 in September. A total of 29,367 Model Ys were delivered in Europe, almost 10,000 more than the Peugeot 208 in second place. The crossover now outsells its saloon counterpart, and recently became available with a shorter-range, RWD variant at a lower price, but we think the long-range, AWD model is the one to go for.
2 Peugeot 208, 19,601, +41%
The Peugeot 208 dropped down to second in September with 19,601 sales. It’s still good news for Peugeot, though, because that figure represents a growth of 41% year on year. The popularity of the 208 is no doubt helped by extensive revisions in line with Peugeot's new design language. The car's versatility and affordable price remain attractive, as it's offered with petrol, diesel and electric powertrains.
3 Dacia Sandero, 17,773, -2%
Sales of the affordable Dacia Sandero supermini dropped 2% year on year, but it was still the month’s third most popular car. It became an even more appealing buy last year with the introduction of a new-generation model, featuring much-improved equipment such as LED headlights and a touchscreen infotainment system. It has previously topped this list, so expect it to challenge until the end of the year.
4 Skoda Octavia, 17,733, +196%
Sales of the Skoda Octavia increased by a substantial 196% compared with September last year. This year the model is celebrating 25 years since its initial launch, and with a host of powertrain and bodystyle options, it’s one of the most versatile models on this list.
5 Toyota Yaris, 16,275, +19%
The Yaris has been a mainstay in the top 10 this year, retaining its popularity four generations into its life. It’s still Toyota’s most successful and biggest-selling model in Europe, and a sporty GR performance variant continues to hold up as one of the finest hot hatches ever built.
6 Volkswagen T-Roc, 16,048, +60%
July’s best-seller on the continent, the Volkswagen T-Roc drops down for the second month in a row, this time settling in sixth place. It’s been around since 2017 but its continued popularity reflects its versatile mix of petrol and diesel powertrains, as well as the more recent introduction of a performance-oriented flagship R model. You can even get a convertible version.
7 Volkswagen Golf, 16,042, -8%
Now well into its eighth generation, the Volkswagen Golf continues to be one of the top-selling cars in Europe. The model secured seventh place in September's sales chart, proving that its popularity still endures. 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.
8 Renault Clio, 15,981, -13%
The Clio is Renault’s best-selling car for September and enters this list in eighth place. The supermini has plenty to offer, including petrol, diesel and plug-in powertrains, and its tech has only got better with each passing generation.
9 Nissan Qashqai, 15,852, +68%
Another stubborn showing for the Nissan Qashqai proves the model won’t leave the top 10 quietly. Recently updated, the Qashqai had another successful month in September, attracting 68% growth and outselling the likes of the Ford Puma and Hyundai Tuscon.
10 Fiat 500, 15,669, -4%
Is there a more recognisable small car than the Fiat 500? It’s been on sale since 2007 and it’s unlikely to be dropped any time soon. More recently, the model gained an electric variant with a battery size of up to 44kWh. Range is pegged at 199 miles, but mild-hybrid and petrol models remain on sale if electric isn’t your bag.