The European car market has experienced its highest number of first-half registrations this century, with registrations up 2.4% on 2017 to a total of 8.66 million cars.
These figures are despite a trough in diesel registrations. Diesels are down by 17% over the first half of 2017 to now make up just 37% of the car market in Europe – the smallest share since 2001.
The backlash against diesel has been highest in the UK and Norway, with 30% and 32% drops respectively. Slovenia’s diesel car market declined 28% and those of Finland and Belgium fell by a fifth.
As Europe turns to SUVs, registrations of all other segments of car collectively fell by 4% to 4.865 million, while SUV registrations grew to 2.92 million – a leap of 24%, taking the models to their highest market proportion in history.
The Volkswagen Group was the most prolific SUV manufacturer across the first half of the year, experiencing a 42% rise in its SUV registrations. It was bolstered by the new Volkswagen T-Roc, which has become the 32nd best-selling car in Europe, as well as one of the best-selling SUVs, despite having only recently been launched.
The Nissan Qashqai remains atop the SUV pack, however, climbing to fifth overall from sixth previously. The Volkswagen Golf remains Europe’s best-selling car, with more than a quarter of a million examples registered so far this year.
Europe’s top 10 best-selling cars in 2018 so far
1 - Volkswagen Golf, 257,550 registrations2 - Renault Clio, 185,2343 - Volkswagen Polo, 163,9244 - Ford Fiesta, 157,2865 - Nissan Qashqai, 134,5476 - Peugeot 208, 132,7647 - Volkswagen Tiguan, 129,2378 - Skoda Octavia, 123,7109 - Renault Captur, 121,23510 - Vauxhall/Opel Corsa, 117,981