Europe's car industry is still struggling under the impact of the pandemic and the semiconductor shortage, and growth has slowed recently, despite previous signs of recovery.
There was a slight increase in electric and plug-in hybrid car sales in May 2021, and new car registrations increased by 13% over the same period last year, according to the latest data from Jato Analytics. But demand is still far from pre-pandemic levels: the 1,268,683 vehicles registered across the 26 European countries during the month was 14% down on June 2019.
The total volume for the first half of 2021 reached 6.41 million units, which is up by 27% year-on-year from 2020 but 23% lower than in the first half of 2019.
Jato said: “The conditions aren't yet ideal and far from a total recovery. In the mid-term, it's not clear whether the market will reach pre-Covid levels or not."
Electrified cars (EVs and PHEVs) performed well, making up 18.5% of the market, up from 8.2% in June 2020. EVs totalled 126,000 units, while 104,000 PHEVs were sold in the same period.
Fiat, Tesla, Skoda, Volkswagen and Ford gained the largest market shares in the EV market, while Cupra, Jeep, Volkswagen, Renault and Seat posted the highest market share gains in the PHEV market.
SUVs still dominate overall market share, claiming 44.2% of all sales, although that's slightly lower than the 44.6% figure posted last month.
The market has also been boosted by strong demand for individual models, such as the Volkswagen Golf and, most notably, the Tesla Model 3, which has risen 262% from June 2020. The electric saloon also topped the EV ranking, while the Ford Kuga PHEV retained its spot as the best-selling PHEV.
Here are the best-selling cars in Europe in June 2021:
1 Volkswagen Golf 27,247, +12%
The latest-generation Volkswagen Golf arrived in Europe last summer. The Golf has always been one of the region's best-selling cars, so it's no surprise to see it back at the top of the list. The quintessential family hatchback reclaimed the top spot from the Peugeot 2008 crossover. New variants, including the GTI Clubsport and R, should help it solidify its strong position in future months.
2. Tesla Model 3 25,697, +262%
Tesla's Model 3 saloon has leapt back into second place after a strong month. The EV specialist's smallest but most affordable model offers a range of 254 miles, or 348 miles if you opt for the Long Range variant. Its performance is enticing, too: it's capable of 0-62mph in 3.2sec, which is almost supercar-level acceleration.
3. Dacia Sandero 22,764, +10%
The Dacia Sandero is Britain's cheapest car, yet it now sports a stylish new look and is even packed with a few features some would consider premium, including LED headlights and an infotainment touchscreen on higher trim levels. It shares the same basic platform with the Renault Clio, and its affordability has no doubt played a huge part in positioning it in the top 10.
4 Renault Clio 22,254, -40%
The Renault Clio sold 40% fewer units than in the same period last year so drops to fourth position in the top 10. Despite this, the Clio is still a front-runner in the competitive supermini market, following its revitalisation in mid-2020, introducing a hybrid option in a bid to broaden its appeal and boost its green credentials.
5 Fiat 500 22,179, +64%
The small and stylish Fiat 500 drops to fifth place but maintains its place in the top 10 for yet another month. Sales are driven chiefly by demand for its new-generation electric variant. In mid-range trim, this car boasts 199 miles of range, which outperforms several of its same-sized EV rivals. Retaining the 500’s appealing retro look, it looks to be profiting, even 14 years later, from Fiat’s canny decision to revive its ‘people’s car’ in 2007.
6 Toyota Yaris 21,698, +112%
The Toyota Yaris received a 10% rise in sales over last June, with a total of 21,696 examples purchased. Expect another strong performance next month, driven by demand for the attractive new Mk4 model's frugal hybrid powertrain and promise of reliability. Recently winning the gong for the European Car of the Year 2021 won’t hurt its chances, either.
7 Volkswagen T-Roc 21,576, +35%
Volkswagen’s characteristic blend of ergonomics and practicality in a small crossover package was always going to be a hit in Europe. The T-Roc is still the best-selling crossover in Europe, with its sales having risen 35% over June last year.
8 Opel Corsa 21,124, +24%
Bringing a radically overhauled, sharper design, the new Corsa won plaudits when it was revealed in late 2019. Autocar’s testers were also impressed with its fresh engine and platform, which are shared with the new Peugeot 208.
9 Renault Captur 20,168, -9%
The Renault Captur crossover has edged its way back in to the top ten this month, depsite a 9% drop in sales compared to the same period last year. Its on-board technology and good safety equipment have proved popular with buyers, and it doesn't look half bad, either.
10 Volkswagen Polo 18,789, +16
The Volkswagen Polo supermini rounds off June's top 10, returning to the fray with a small 16% jump in sales. A new-look Polo was revealed back in April, with a front LED light strip and other Golf-inspired design features. Expect that model to be just as, if not even more popular than this current one.