Despite ongoing availability issues at dealerships, European consumers last year continued to shift from traditional vehicles such as hatchbacks, sedans and MPVs, to SUVs.
These vehicles have continued to perform well thanks to the arrival of new electrified models. Last year, registrations of SUVs totaled 5.34 million units, up by 11% when compared to 2020, and down by 12% compared to 2019.
The market share of these vehicles jumped from 38.2% in 2019, and 40.3% in 2020, to 45.5% last year. This is the highest ever market share for SUVs in Europe and closes the gap on the 52.3% recorded in the USA.
Last year Volkswagen Group was the leading seller of SUVs in the region, as one in four registered vehicles were made by the German manufacturer.
Compared with 2019, SUV volume only dropped marginally (-2%) whereas Volkswagen’s closest competitor Stellantis, saw its volume decrease by 24%. Volkswagen was in fact the biggest winner of market share between 2019 and 2021, followed by Hyundai-Kia and Daimler. In contrast, Stellantis posted the highest market share drop, followed by Renault Group and Nissan Group.
The SUV ranking by model was led by the Peugeot 2008, outselling the Renault Captur which led the market in 2020. The 2008 saw the largest market share growth of any SUV between 2019 and 2021, excluding models that were not available two years ago.
It was not however the only SUV to post double- digit growth since 2019: the Volkswagen T- Cross, Volvo XC40, Toyota RAV4, Kia Niro, and Nissan Juke, also climbed the rankings.
The overall rankings by model saw several significant changes but confirmed the Volkswagen Golf as the most popular new car in Europe. The compact narrowly held on to the top spot despite facing major challenges in terms of production and increasing internal competition.
Hyundai-Kia and Toyota were the biggest winners however and the electric models from manufacturers gained sales as their petrol and diesel stablemates struggled with shortages of semi-conductors in components not fitted to evs.