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Tesla Model 3 was Europe's second-best selling car in March

New vehicle sales have plummeted across Europe, enabling the Tesla Model 3 to finish a remarkable second place behind the Volkswagen Golf in the sales race.

4 months ago
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Mike Costello
Comparisons Editor

The Tesla Model 3 was the second biggest-selling vehicle in Europe during March 2020, according to data analytics firm JATO.

The only car of any fuel type that outsold it was the Volkswagen Golf. Clearly in the time of COVID-19 quarantine and isolation, this highly digitised and online carmaker benefitted. 

March saw the lowest car sales across 27 European countries since data collection began 38 years ago. Registrations declined by 52 per cent to 848,800.

This result follows declines in January and February, taking volume for the first quarter of 2020 down to 3.04 million units.

Despite the decline, registrations of battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), and mild hybrids combined grew 15 per cent to 147,500 sales, equal to a record 17.4 per cent market share.

Moreover, the BEV tally was only 10,000 units less than that of the hybrids.

The 10 best-selling cars in the region called ‘Europe-27’ during March were the Volkswagen Golf, Tesla Model 3, Ford Focus, Renault Clio, Mercedes-Benz A-Class, Skoda Octavia, Nissan Qashqai, Toyota Yaris, Ford Fiesta, and Mini Hatch.

Showing Tesla’s dominance of Europe’s electric market in March, the 10 best-selling battery-electric vehicles in the now-included 21 countries were the Model 3, Renault Zoe, Volkswagen e-Golf, Audi e-tron, Nissan Leaf, Hyundai Kona Electric, BMW i3, Kia Niro, Volkswagen e-Up, and Mini Electric. 

Full sales figures are included in the table above.

The most popular PHEV in Europe-21 by a fair margin was the Mitsubishi Outlander, ahead of the BMW 330e, Volkswagen Passat GTE, Kia Niro, Volvo V60, Volvo XC60, Audi A3, Mercedes-Benz C300e, Volvo XC40, and Skoda Superb iV.

The top 10 mild hybrids were the Toyota Corolla, C-HR, and Yaris, ahead of the Range Rover Evoque, Toyota RAV4, Suzuki Swift, Ford Puma, Hyundai Kona, Kia Niro, and Suzuki Ignis.

In general, sales of electrified vehicles were significantly hit in Italy, France, Spain, Austria, Ireland, Slovenia, Greece, and Portugal, where combined volume fell from 634,600 units in March 2019 to just 161,800 units last month. That’s a cut of 75 per cent. 

The biggest market in Europe, Germany, accounted for 215,119 sales (down 37.7 per cent), according to data sourced from the Federal Motor Transport Authority.

BEV sales were 10,329 and PHEVs were 9426, meaning they combined for 9.2 per cent market share.

By comparison, the market share of PHEVs and BEVs in Australia during March was a meagre 0.3 per cent.

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