Car sales in Europe last month aren’t reflecting what the politicians are peddling

You’re not ready to save the planet just yet, according to JATO Dynamics’ report on the European Car Market in May. 1.44m vehicles were registered, 6.91m for the year so far – and not many were EVs.

And whilst people claim they don’t like SUVs – they’ve lying. SUVs were the only segment to post double-digit growth – up by 10% with over 530,000 sold, SUVs constitute the largest market segment at 37.2%.

No surprise then that manufacturers appear to be frantically churning out tall-body motors in every conceivable niche right now. Make them small though, because 81 of SUV buyers are opting for the compact or crossover kind.

The good news is that despite a slow down in the car market this year, May was the best its been since 2007. But a moment’s silence please for hatchbacks, saloon cars and MPVs – remember those? – as sales show declining interest.

Although it might be a bit early to count out hatchbacks – Volkswagen’s Golf whilst down by 11.8% is still the biggest seller overall, followed by the Renault Clio and Dacia Sandero (James May has a lot to answer for). And the new Toyota Corolla is doing well too.

So what of electric vehicles? The plug-in motorised machines all the legislators expect us to be piloting – or perhaps auto-piloting – by 2030/40 or so onward. Well Alternative Fuel Vehicles (AFV) saw 94,000 units registered in 18 European markets. Impressive, but that’s only 7.1% of the total number of vehicles sold, an increase of just 1.8 from last year.

And most of these were hybrids, although sales of pure electric vehicles (BEVs) has shot up by 85% to 22,300 units with the Renault Zoe leading the way, though this year it will be getting a ton of new competitors which should see EV sales increasing faster in the second half of the year.

Most of the top five manufacturers saw their sales decline though Peugeot lifted by nearly 3%. BMW on the other hand finally had something to celebrate with sales up 14.9%. Biggest gainer in May however was Mitsubishi at 24.6% followed by Volvo with 15.3% putting it just ahead of BMW.

The German company better watch out as arch nemesis Mercedes might make a comeback with its A-Class scoring the biggest single model range growth percentage at 48.4%. VW’s T-Roc is up 38.4% followed by the Duster at 21.6%.

So small, tall and petrol is the way to go. For now at least.

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