Currently reading: Tesla Model 3 is Europe's best-selling electric vehicle
Recent arrival bucks overall market decline to lead two key segments in February

The Tesla Model 3 was Europe’s best-selling electric vehicle in February, in its first full month on sale outside the US. 

A total of 3657 were sold last month, according to data from industry analyst Jato Dynamics, putting it comfortably ahead of the Renault Zoe, which sold 2884. The Nissan Leaf, BMW i3 and Hyundai Kona Electric were next up on the European EV sales list.

European sales of the Model 3 began in late January, and Felipe Munoz, global analyst for Jato Dynamics, said such demand is usually not seen “until four or five months after a new car has hit the roads.”

As well as being the best-selling EV in Europe last month, the Model 3 was also the best-selling mid-sized saloon, outselling the conventionally fuelled Mercedes-Benz C-Class, BMW 3 Series and Audi A4.  

The Tesla Model 3 has been available to pre-order in Europe for several months, so buyers were already in place for all the cars imported from America, helping it to make an early impression.

According to Jato, the majority of European Model 3 sales have been made up of private registrations rather than business or fleet, which is unusual for a new model in this segment.


The Model 3’s success stands out against the European car market’s sixth consecutive month of overall decline; the 1.14 million vehicles registered in February represents a 1.3% drop compared to the same period in 2018. 

Political instability in Spain led to a 10% drop in new car sales in February, while Finland and Sweden were hit hard by the introduction of WLTP emissions testing, with falls of 11.2% and 14.9% respectively. 

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Elsewhere, Romania experienced a 36% rise in new car sales after the introduction of a government-backed vehicle scrappage scheme in late 2018, while strong EV and hybrid sales in Denmark contributed to a national increase of 8%. 

The Tesla Model 3’s success is indicative of the increasingly large market share held by EVs in Europe. 

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Despite only accounting for 1.9% of new vehicle sales in February, the EV segment experienced a 92% increase last month with 20,000 new registrations. In Norway alone, 40% of new cars sold in February were electric. 

New diesel-fuelled vehicles, conversely, continue to decline in popularity, their 34% market share representing a 5% year-on-year decline. Sharp declines in this segment in Italy, Spain, France and the UK were offset by an 8% increase in Germany. 

Also witnessing a decline were MPVs, hatchbacks and saloons, which experienced a 3.6% overall drop as demand rose for full-sized SUVs (10% YoY), compact SUVs (10% YoY) and small SUVs (13% YoY). 

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While the Model 3’s early success is notable, its sales were dwarfed by the best-selling conventionally fuelled cars. The best-selling car in Europe in February was the Volkswagen Golf, with 31,769 sold despite the impending arrival of the eighth-generation version next year. The Renault Clio (26,062) was second, ahead of the Volkswagen Polo (22,610).

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Felix Page

Felix Page
Title: News and features editor

Felix is Autocar's news editor, responsible for leading the brand's agenda-shaping coverage across all facets of the global automotive industry - both in print and online.

He has interviewed the most powerful and widely respected people in motoring, covered the reveals and launches of today's most important cars, and broken some of the biggest automotive stories of the last few years. 

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5cylinderT 26 March 2019


People camped outside tesla dealerships for weeks before just to get a reserve on a model 3.

Citytiger 28 March 2019

5cylinderT wrote:

5cylinderT wrote:

People camped outside tesla dealerships for weeks before just to get a reserve on a model 3.

FFS, peolpe do the same for the latest iPhone or console game, in my opinion, thats just strange, because the average person is at work.. Especially in the days of the internet and online shopping.

fadyady 26 March 2019

Tesla arrives in style

Good to see this in Autocar.
Citytiger 26 March 2019

I also wonder

how many of these were bought by speculators, to resell at a profit ala Porsche.. 

lambo58 27 March 2019

A prat by any other name part

A prat by any other name part 2...

Citytiger 27 March 2019

lambo58 wrote:

lambo58 wrote:

A prat by any other name part 2...

Cor, I bet your a lot of fun at parties, I suspect you are a vegan, enjoy wearing hemp underwear, sitting around camp fires singing kumbaya and think Jerermy Corbyn is a lovely bloke..