For the first time in the history of Europe, over half of all new vehicles sold were SUVs. According to data from Automotive News Europe, sales of SUVs grew 23 percent in the first half of the year to 3.37 million. That gives them a market share of 51 percent — up from 48 percent at the same time last year.
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Demand for SUVs actually outpaced the overall market, which grew 17 percent over the same time period. Data reportedly shows that small SUVs are Europeans’ first choice, followed by compact SUVs. The number one SUV in Europe, though, was the Tesla Model Y. It reportedly accounted for 138,152 sales in the first half. That’s a 207 percent increase over last year.
Coming up behind that was the Volkswagen T-Roc (104,465), Toyota Yaris Cross (96,849), VW Tiguan (90,958) and the Dacia Duster (88,038) round out the top five. To put the Model Y’s dominance in more context, AutoNews says its aisles volume was more than triple that of the number two seller in the premium SUV segment, the Mercedes-Benz GLC. Because of Model Y sales, the SUV segment rose 44 percent on its own.
All that being said, the success of SUVs in Europe isn’t just down to a few models. AutoNews reports that a broad range of offerings is helping the segment. Twenty-two different SUVs recorded at least 10,000 sales in the first half of the year. By comparison, the small car market is shrinking. Only 16 small cars recorded over 10,000 sales, however, the majority of sales were concentrated toward the best sellers. Four of the six cars that topped 100,000 units in the first half came from the small car segment. It was led by the Dacia Sandero, Opel/Vauxhall Corsa, Peugeot 208 and Renault Clio.
Interestingly, according to the outlet, SUVs were also able to capture the top three sports in the exotic car segment. The BMW XM led with 1,173 sales. It was followed by the Lamborghini Urus and Bentley Bentayga. Altogether, the segment volume increased 10 percent to 10,388 vehicles. The best-selling supercar in that segment was the Ferrari 291 GTB at number four.
Europe’s most popular vehicle segments are as follows: Small SUVs (1,133,822 first-half sales), Compact SUVs (999,568), Small Cars (913,571), Compact Cars (760,032) and rounding out the top five are Premium Midsize SUVs (421,902).