Hot on the heels of news of Tesla’s 2021 Sales success in the U.S., where it became the country’s second most popular luxury brand, data from Europe paints an equally grim picture for legacy OEMs.
New figures from Jato Dynamics reveal that Tesla shifted 141,429 Model 3s in Europe in 2021, making it the only EV to climb into the Top 50 best selling models, and giving it 17th place in the overall rankings. Skoda’s Octavia was just ahead at 143,268, and the stalwart VW Golf topped the list with a 205,408 tally, but the Model 3 claimed some very famous ICE scalps.
Tesla’s Model 3 Outsold The BMW 3-Series On Its Own Turf
The electric sedan beat the Peugeot 3008 crossover (140,015), Volkswagen Tiguan (133,558), Mercedes A-class (117,233) and even the mighty BMW 3-Series (116,250), which includes two bodystyles, sedan and the more popular in Western European markets, Touring (station wagon). Ford’s Focus, a European favourite in days gone by, couldn’t even muster 100k.
And comparing total marque sales figures for 2020 and 2021 suggests Tesla will figure even higher in the 2022 table due for release 12 months from now. While BMW Group’s sales grew just 1.3 percent, and VW Group’s sales actually fell 3.4 percent, Tesla’s volumes swelled by 70.9 percent. And that’s despite the Model Y SUV not hitting European showrooms until late 2021, and it only now landing in the UK in right-hand drive form.
VW’s Golf Was Europe’s Best Selling Model Overall
Looking again at the table-topping Golf, VW will be alarmed to see that sales of the iconic hatch (and wagon) in 2021 were almost 28 percent lower than their were in 2020, and a worrying 50 percent lower than in 2019. That trend is largely down to the public’s enthusiasm for electric cars and its increasing favour for crossovers. And while VW offers both of those attributes in cars like the ID.3 and T-Cross, it doesn’t offer either of them in the Golf line-up. While the midsize SUV sector (midsize in Europe meaning BMW X3) grew by 42.6 percent versus 2020, the compact car sector dominated by the Golf fell by 13.3 percent.
The Model 3 is, of course, a compact car, but with its electric powertrain, on-trend image and bold interior design, it’s a very different car to the Golf, which has helped make it unarguably the best-selling American-built car ever offered in Europe. Many others have tried and failed to tempt European buyers out of their VWs, Fords and BMWs over the years, including Cadillac with its BLS and Chrysler, with the Sebring. But they were given short shrift by both European road testers and buyers.
The question now is whether demand for Teslas will slow in Europe now that every other major European brand also has, or will soon have, a seat at the EV table.