Currently reading: Best-selling cars in Europe so far in 2023
The Tesla Model Y tops the charts and is predicted to finish the year as Europe's best-seller

New car registrations increased by 20% year on year in August, with demand led by a growing appetite for electric vehicles, according to industry analyst Jato Dynamics. 

Some 900,000 cars were sold across 28 European markets, with 22% of that total – some 196,000 – being battery-powered. In total, EV registrations increased by 102%. 

Petrol-powered cars are still Europe’s most sought-after, though, representing 53% of registrations. 

Registrations for EVs increased dramatically in Belgium (+224%), Greece (+183%) and Luxembourg (+164%). Demand in Germany alone, which increased 171%, accounted for 44% of Europe’s total EV registrations in August. 

“Although the current industry debates often point towards a slowdown in growth for EVs, our data shows that growth in demand remains strong, due to their increasingly competitive pricing and continuous support from governments across Europe,” said Felipe Munoz, Jato’s global analyst.

For the month of August, Tesla secured both the top spot for registrations. The Tesla Model Y sold 21,549 units for a year-on-year increase of 208%. The Model Y is also the continent’s highest-selling car of the year so far, with 169,420 sold. 

“It’s likely that the Model Y will become Europe’s most popular new passenger car by the end of the year. As a non-European model leading in Europe, it will be a remarkable and historic moment,” said Munoz.

The related Tesla Model 3, meanwhile, sold 11,943 times, increasing by 307% year on year. 

Tesla’s surging sales come after the US firm slashed prices for the Model Y and Model 3. In the UK, Tesla cut prices of the SUV by £8000 in January this year, while the saloon's price was reduced by as much as £6500. 

The discounts were introduced to stimulate sales after the firm’s supply dramatically outstripped demand by 34,000 units in the final quarter of 2022. 

The top five for August was rounded out by the Pegueot 208 (21,549), Volkswagen T-Roc (15,198), Fiat 500 (14,469) and Dacia Sandero (14,428). 

Read below for Europe’s top 10 best-sellers so far in 2023.

The top 10 best-selling cars in Europe

1. Tesla Model Y, 169,420 sales so far, +216% year on year

Tesla model y front quarter cornering 0

Tesla’s stranglehold on the global EV market continues, with the Model Y appearing to be a shoo-in for a podium finish in this year’s European sales charts. It ended the first six months as the year’s best-selling car. Can it hold its place until the end of 2023?

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2. Dacia Sandero, 154,538 sales, +20% year on year

8 Dacia sandero 2021 uk official images front

Last year’s second best-seller, the Dacia Sandero, is still very much in with a shout of taking the top spot in 2023. Its appeal is bolstered by its exceptional value for money, which will have resonated with buyers as the cost of living crisis continues to hit across Europe. That it’s also a competitive supermini with a spacious interior and decent handling makes it an especially compelling buy.

3. Volkswagen T-Roc, 145,131 sales, +19% year on year

Volkswagen t roc tsi 4motion 2022 tracking front

The Volkswagen T-Roc is always a popular choice in Europe, and that looks set to continue for the foreseeable future. It ranked third last year, and its sales even outnumber those of the venerable Volkswagen Golf. A recent facelift boosted its interior quality, addressing one of the few criticisms of this well-rounded crossover.

4. Peugeot 208, 135,187 sales, -5% year on year

9 Peugeot 208 2020 rt hero front

The Peugeot 208 supermini was 2022’s best-selling car in Europe, but it has yet to hit that pace in 2023. Don’t count it out yet, though: expect it to challenge for a podium spot once again later this year, as Stellantis works to resolve widely reported problems with logistics.

5. Opel/Vauxhall Corsa, 130,757 sales, +14% year on year

6 Vauxhall corsa 2020 rt hero front

The cheaper sibling of the Peugeot 208 enjoys strong demand. A refreshed model is due in the coming months – adding Vauxhall’s signature Vizor front end and bringing a range boost for the Corsa Electric, which could catalyse a rise up the charts. 

6. Renault Clio, 129,115 sales, +44% year on year

4 Renault clio 2019 rt hero front

Renault’s popular supermini is now a bigger seller than the Volkswagen Golf. Who’d have thunk it? Renault also announced the model’s fifth generation would be sold exclusively with a hybrid powertrain in the UK, but all of Europe will benefit from a wider mid-life refresh and design overhaul. A new interior and a simplified range of options are also on the way. 

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7. Toyota Yaris Cross, 118,893 sales, +48% year on year

Kris culmer s lt yaris cross 10 copy

It’s easy to see why the Yaris Cross is a hit. Not only is it a relatively affordable car, but it’s also backed by Toyota’s legendary reputation for reliability and, as a hybrid, can easily average 60mpg under a careful right foot. 

8. Volkswagen Golf, 118,351 sales, +2% year on year

Volkswagen golf 2020 front quarter tracking

The ubiquitous Volkswagen Golf has been a long-time favourite in Europe, but it was leap-frogged by the smaller (and cheaper) Peugeot 208 last year. Its slide down the charts doesn’t appear to be slowing, based on its latest sales.

9. Abarth/Fiat 500, 112,469 sales, +4% year on year

Nuova 500 22 0 1

Is there a more recognisable small car than the Fiat 500? It has been on sale since 2007 and it’s unlikely to be dropped any time soon. More recently, the model gained a next-generation electric sibling with a battery size of up to 44kWh. Its range is pegged at 199 miles, but mild-hybrid and petrol models remain on sale as well. An electric development of the Abarth 500 hot hatch is also on the way, with sales beginning later this year.

10. Dacia Duster, 109,804 sales, +10% year on year

Dacia duster 2023 front quarter tracking 0

The second Dacia to feature in the top 10, the Duster is a capable, hardy and – most importantly – cheap model, capturing a significant share of the booming crossover market. It will soon be joined by the Dacia Bigster, a C-segment SUV spearheading Dacia’s push into larger, more profitable segments.

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LP in Brighton 2 October 2023

Confusing headline gives the impression these are year to date figures. Yet the quoted figures are I believe for the month of August. Even so, it's hard to comprehend that Europe's top seller is a Chinese built model and not a single Ford appears in the top 10. So it seems that the Tesla Model Y is in fact the new Fiesta. Or was this August just a blip? 

scotty5 2 October 2023

There's something really weird about this.

Historically the best selling cars in the EU have alsways been the smaller cheaper cars built by European manufacturers. And if you break those cars down, unlike the UK, it's often the more basic versions of those cars. Unlike the UK, mainland Europe don't place as much emphasis on badge snobbery.

I say weird because when the Dacia Sandero was the previous chart topper, that's totally believable. But we've gone from one of the cheapest cars on the market to a Tesla Model Y?

Oh come on. I can understand stats being a tad unrealistic given the production shut downs around Covid, how is it possible for a car that expensive to be the best seller?

I don't believe it, there has to be more to this story.

You can also see why the EU lawmakers are panicing. That Tesla Y is built in China, the prices of which the EU commissioner has asked to investigate. No wonder they want to slap an extra 10% import duty. EU top sellers have been dominated by cars build in the EU. Up until now, I can't think of any that haven't.

xxxx 2 October 2023

So you don't believe the stats yet PSA, VW, BMW etc don't pipe up. The Model Y is taking big chunks from BMW, Audi, Mercedes and when you combine them you get a big Number 1 seller. 

Unless you've some actually evidence you'll begin to sound like one of those conspiracist types.

jagdavey 2 October 2023

If you read the article, it states the best sellers in 28 european markets. The EU has 27 countries, so that means the 28th market is the UK. I would imagine a lot of those Teslas making up number one were sold in the UK, & therefore perhaps the Dacia was in fact in number one slot in the EU.

Miha Leban 28 July 2023

I don't understand why people would buy it instead of a VW Golf. Which is nicer and runs on petrol instead of electricity.