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Electric cars jolt Europe sales for 2023

Tesla's Model Y was the top-selling car in Europe last year
Tesla's Model Y was the top-selling car in Europe last year.

New car sales in Europe rebounded by 13.9 percent in 2023 as electric vehicles overtook diesel for the first time, an industry group said on Thursday.

Sales of new electric cars shot up by 37 percent year-on-year and accounted for 14.6 percent of overall sales, the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association said.

Elon Musk's Tesla saw sales of its electric cars nearly double in the region last year to 279,000, with its SUV Model Y taking the crown of the top-selling vehicle in Europe.

The figures marked a stark turnabout from 2022, when new vehicle registrations dropped to their lowest levels since 1993 as component shortages hindered .

In particular, sales in France, Italy and Spain posted double-digit increases, compared with 2022.

Sales were still far below pre-COVID levels, however.

Automakers face a 2035 deadline set by the European Union to phase out sales of new combustion engine vehicles.

Sales of hybrid cars also soared last year, up by nearly 30 percent.

However, —those equipped with a thermal engine and a small rechargeable electric battery—saw a sales decline for the first time, dropping seven percent, after many governments phased out state incentives.

Petrol cars remained a large part of the new vehicle market, at 35.3 percent of Europe-wide sales last year, representing 3.7 million cars.

Volkswagen remained in pole position among car manufacturers, with the group selling 2.8 million new cars in 2023, up by 18 percent on the previous year.

French auto maker Renault saw sales growth of 16.9 percent through the year, although Stellantis—whose vehicle brands include Fiat and Jeep—only saw sales climb by 2.9 percent.

© 2024 AFP

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