“It is positive to see a return to growth in the EU car market following the contraction experienced in December 2023, particularly with January traditionally being a slower month” said Sue Robinson, Chief Executive of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), commenting on the latest European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA) figures.

January saw a return to growth in new passenger car registrations, following a -3.3% contraction in December. New car registrations in the EU witnessed an increase of 12.1% year-on-year, reaching 851,690 units for January 2024.

All major markets in the EU witnessed significant growth with high single-digit or double-digit gains including Germany (+19.1%), Italy (+10.6%), France (+9.2%), and Spain (+7.3%).

Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) captured 10.9% of the EU car market share with 92,741 units, up from a market share of 9.5% in January 2023.

Hybrid-electric cars made up 28.8% of the EU car market share, with 245,068 units, whilst petrol and diesel cars combined totalled almost 50% of the market share, marking a decline from 54% one year ago.

Sue Robinson concluded: “These numbers build on figures released last week by JATO Dynamics*which noted that Europe saw its highest new vehicle registrations since the pandemic in 2023.

“It is also positive to see that electric vehicles have captured a higher market share of the EU car market than at this point last year. This comes amidst positive news regarding EVs from Europe. Last week, the French government announced that it was halting its subsided EV lease programme due to strong demand with plans to resume it again next year.

“In contrast, the UK remains the only major market in Europe without upfront price incentives for private buyers of electric vehicles. This issue has been brought to the attention of the UK Chancellor in NFDA’s budget submission. The upcoming Spring Budget on March 6 presents the UK government with an opportunity to remedy this and drive demand to avoid EV sales from flatlining.

“The outlook for the industry remains positive with both UK and EU car markets experiencing a strong start to 2024.”