New car registrations: -5.2% in March 2024; battery electric 13% market share

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In March 2024, the European Union car market experienced its first decline of the year, registering a 5.2% decrease to 1 million units.

The timing of the Easter holidays negatively impacted last month’s sales across most EU markets, including the four largest: Germany (‑6.2%), Spain (-4.7%), Italy (-3.7%), and France (-1.5%).

For the first quarter of the year, car registrations increased by 4.4%, reaching nearly 2.8 million units. The bloc’s major markets saw solid growth from January to March, with Italy and France each recording a 5.7% increase, followed by Germany (+4.2%) and Spain (+3.1%).

New EU car registrations by power source

Last March saw a shift in the car market’s composition: battery-electric cars slipped to a 13% share from last year’s 13.9%, while hybrid-electrics charged up to 29% from 24.4%. Petrol and diesel combined captured less than half the market (47.8%, from 51.8%).

Electric cars

In March 2024, battery-electric car registrations declined by 11.3% to 134,397 units, reflecting the broader market downturn. Consequently, their market share shrank from 13.9% in March 2023 to 13% in the same month of this year. Among the three largest BEV markets, Belgium (+23.8%) and France (+10.9%) enjoyed double-digit increases, while Germany faced a significant decrease of 28.9%. The first quarter of 2024 ended with a total of 332,999 new battery-electric cars registered, a 3.8% rise from the same quarter in the previous year.
Hybrid-electric cars stood out, achieving a 12.6% rise in registrations in March, despite the general market decline. France and Italy, two of the three largest HEV markets, registered significant increases of 29.6% and 8.3%, respectively. Meanwhile, Germany saw a marginal decrease of 0.3%. This segment reached sales of 299,426 units, capturing 29% of the market, up from 24.4% in March 2023.
On the other hand, plug-in hybrid registrations fell by 6.5% last month, with Germany and Belgium experiencing declines of 4.5% and 15.3%, respectively. France countered the trend with a modest increase of 3.6%. In March, plug-in hybrids made up 73,029 units sold, equating to 7.1% of the overall car market.

Petrol and diesel cars

In March 2024, out of all powertrain segments, petrol and diesel were the most significantly impacted by the overall market downturn. Petrol sales decreased by 10.2%, with notable reductions across most EU markets, including France (-17.7%), Spain (-10.1%), and Germany (-3.4%). In contrast, Italy posted growth, with an increase of 5.7%. As a result, market share declined from 37.4% to 35.4% compared to March of the previous year.
The downturn in the diesel market was even more severe, with a 18.5% drop in March. Substantial declines were seen in the largest markets: France (-32.1%), Spain (-38%), and Italy (-27.6%), while Germany experienced only a slight reduction of 0.5%. Diesel car sales totalled 128,227 units, accounting for a market share of 12.4%, a decrease from last year’s 14.4%.