Tesla dominated Europe’s EV market in first half of 2023

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Elon Musk said in April that Tesla would prioritise mass production over profit, in an attempt to spur demand and fend off competition — and the bold tactic seems to be working. 

Tesla’s Model Y was Europe’s best-selling car in all categories in the first half of 2023. You heard that right: the electric SUV even elbowed out combustion engine cars like the Dacia Sandero and Volkswagen T-Roc to take the top spot, the first time ever for an EV in Europe. 

Tesla sold 138,814 Model Y’s between January and June of this year, almost double the volume sold during the same timeframe in 2022. Musk’s firm also took second place with its Model 3 sedan. The Volvo XC40, VW ID.4, and VW ID.3 came in third, fourth, and fifth respectively.  

A graph showing the top 20 best-selling EV models in the first half of 2023

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Since the same period last year, Tesla’s market share has soared by 1.3 percentage points, rising from 1.53% to 2.82% – the biggest increase among Europe’s 116 car brands. 

Tesla has aggressively cut prices in Europe and other global markets including the United States and China since January, which has no doubt increased deliveries significantly. ​​In the UK, the EV maker slashed prices by as much as £8,000, while in Germany, the biggest reduction was €9,100.

“The increase in the availability of cars following the start of local production in Germany, as well as price cuts, explains Tesla’s rapid growth recently,” commented Felipe Munoz, global analyst at British automotive intelligence firm JATO Dynamics. “It’s also important to note that Tesla represents EVs for many all over the world, and today more and more people are turning electric.” 

The Tesla Model Y was Europe’s best-selling car in the first half of this year. Credit: Tesla

Elsewhere in the rankings, the Fiat 500e rose to sixth, putting distance between itself and the Dacia Spring, its direct competitor in the city car category. Renault’s Twingo EV and Zoe didn’t even make the top 20.

In the brand ranking for the month of June, Tesla was comfortably out in front with a 13.1% share, up 0.7% compared to May. VW took the runner-up spot with an 8.5% share, up 0.2% compared to the previous month.

Third-place BMW (7.9%) gained an advantage over Mercedes-Benz (7.4%, down from 7.7%), but with only a slim margin separating the two, a lot could still happen before the end of the year. Finally, Volvo (6.2%, down from 6.5%) was comfortable in fifth, with sixth-place Audi (5.3%) and seventh-place Peugeot (4.7%) some distance behind.

However, while the Tesla brand dominated Europe’s EV market in the first half of this year, VW Group — which includes the likes of VW, Audi, and Skoda — is still leading in the automotive group category, with a 19.9% market share.

Stellantis (14.3%) — the parent company of Fiat, Peugeot, Alfa Romeo, and others — comes in second with Tesla coming in a close third (13.1%). Nevertheless, with its rapidly growing market share, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Tesla nab second place in the later half of 2023.