In the third quarter of 2019, EU demand for passenger cars running on diesel continued its downward trend to reach a market share of 29.1%, whilst registrations of petrol cars increased, now accounting for 59.5% of the EU market, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association.

During the same period, electrically-chargeable vehicles (ECV) made up 3.1% of total new car sales across the region. All alternatively powered vehicles combined had a market share of 11.3% last quarter.

Petrol and diesel cars

From July to September 2019, the number of diesel cars registered across the European Union declined by 14.1% to 1 million units. As a result, diesel's market share fell below 30%. Four of the five largest EU markets recorded double-digit declines, with Spanish diesel sales dropping by 34.7%, Italian demand contracting 24.5%, UK sales down 20.8% and French demand falling 12.6%. Germany, however, recorded a modest increase of 4.7% last quarter.

Petrol car sales inevitably benefited from this decline in diesel demand, increasing by 6.1% (or 121,216 units) compared to one year ago. With the exception of Spain (-2.8%), all major EU markets – France, the United Kingdom, Germany and Italy – recorded growth in petrol sales. Italy posted the highest percentage gain (+35.6%). Looking at the entire region, petrol expanded its market share from 57.4% to 59.5% in the third quarter of 2019.

Alternatively-powered vehicles (APV)

During the third quarter, registrations of alternatively powered cars in the European Union saw strong growth (+46.2%). Some 110,630 electrically-chargeable vehicles (ECV) were registered, up 51.8% compared to the same period last year. The battery electric vehicles (BEV) segment was the main driving force behind this growth – BEV sales more than doubled (+126.3%), while demand for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) declined by 7.6%. Hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) posted a significant gain (+47.0%), with 223,868 cars registered from July to September.

Looking at the EU’s five major car markets again, each of them saw a significant increase in total registrations of alternatively-powered vehicles during the third quarter of 2019. Germany posted the highest percentage gain (+71.4%), boosted by strong demand for battery and hybrid electric vehicles, followed by the UK (+46.5%), France (+35.7%), Spain (+31.9%) and Italy (+28.6%).