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European registrations surge by 21% in December with Tesla Model 3 the third best-selling car

Tesla Model 3 drives EV market growth and outshines competitors by becoming the third best-selling model

December was another unpredictable month for European new car registrations. Total volume grew by 21% to 1,258,412 units, the highest level ever recorded for the month of December. Monthly growth levels have not been this high since August 2018, when the impact of the WLTP regulation caused an artificial spike. Similarly to August 2018, December’s growth can be explained by looking at new regulations impacting the industry. Last month, car manufacturers took last minute action to replace gas-guzzling vehicles no longer deemed acceptable under EU emissions regulations which came into effect on January 1st 2020.

The new regulations bring in a 95 gm/km target, which is still a long way off for many manufacturers who rushed for last minute registrations, and triggered the unusual growth. “The spike in registrations may initially look like good news, but JATO’s latest data tells a different story as emission levels have not improved for the big 5 markets. In fact, their volume-weighted average CO2 emissions through October 2019 totaled 122.5 g/km, which is 1.2 g/km higher than the result for the whole of 2018. The December registrations are an indication of the ongoing regulatory challenges facing car makers in the year ahead,” commented Felipe Munoz, JATO’s global analyst.

The country rankings tell a similar story, with registrations increasing in all countries except Norway and Lithuania, and 23 of the 27 markets analysed recording double-digit growth. “The growth is most likely due to self-registrations from those hoping to resell the units as second hand in 2020. For example, in Spain, where total registrations increased by 6%, the business registrations increased by 23% while private ones fell by 7%. In Finland, the former volume increased by 40% while the latter recorded only 3% growth,” explains Munoz.

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