January marked a bad start for new car registrations and electric vehicles (EVs) provided the only driver of growth for the market, according to Jato Dynamics.
After the increase of European registrations experienced in December 2019, a total of 1,138,057 new passenger cars were registered in January 2020, representing a decline of 7.6% from January 2019.
Jato believes the reduction was caused by last minute purchases made in December, due to the introduction of the new CO2 emissions regulation. But despite the decrease in December, registration levels were the fourth highest In January.
Felipe Munoz, global analyst at Jato, said: “The European market is still showing signs of strength despite a tough environment. We believe that the market can adapt to meet new regulations and impending challenges. This is exemplified by the increase of EV registrations, which was a lifeline for many OEMs in January. Only two years ago not many in the industry would have predicted such high levels of demand for EVs.”
Data from the business has revealed that EVs provided the only driver of growth for the market in January. During the first month of 2020, total EV registrations increased by 72%, jumping from 87,100 units posted in January 2019 to 150,100 units in the same month of 2020. This is a market share of 13.3% compared to just 7.1% in the year prior.
Jato believes the increase in popularity of EVs is due to increasing incentives for consumers, greater awareness about the benefits of electrified vehicles and the growing concern about diesel and petrol cars.
All EV types contributed to growth as hybrids (HEVs) increased their volume by 36%, pure electric (BEV) by 91% and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) by 173%. For the first time, the hybrids counted for less than half of total EV registrations.
Munoz said: “Europe demonstrated that the widespread adoption of EVs is increasingly feasible and will become a likely reality once the cars become more affordable”.
SUVs also managed to increase market share due to the drop in overall vehicle sales in January, says Jato. Across Europe consumers bought 452,900 SUVs, down by only 1%, which allowed them to gain 2.6 points of share at 39.8% of total registrations.
Only 14% of all SUV registrations in January were powered by electrified engines, whereas 28% of luxury sedans were HEV, PHEV or BEV. Munoz said: “SUVs continue to gain traction. However, manufacturers need to produce more EV models if they want to keep up the momentum of growth moving forward”.
Among the latest launches, the Volkswagen T-Cross registered 12,880 units; the Skoda Kamiq 6,079 units; Ford Puma 6,036 units; Skoda Scala 5,646; Mazda CX-30 5,561; Kia Xceed 3,231; Audi Q3 Sportback 3,080; DS 3 Crossback 2,382; Lexus UX 1,894; Tesla Model 3 1,457; Toyota Camry 1,182.