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Hybrid and Electric Cars Help Drive Up European Sales

According to Jato Dynamics, despite ongoing financial uncertainty within Europe, October was a very good month for car sales with 1,202,877 vehicles registered, a 5.6% improvement on October 2016's figures and the best October in terms of sales since 2009.

AFP Relaxnews

Updated:November 24, 2017, 12:23 PM IST
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Hybrid and Electric Cars Help Drive Up European Sales
The 2018 Range Rover Sport PHEV.New data suggests that if more SUVs were offered in Europe as plug-in hybrids or battery electric models then overall electric car sales could grow even faster. (Image: Land Rover)
Over the past month, demand for diesel has dropped, gasoline has found new fans, but the biggest news is that sales of alternative fuel vehicles -- the term used to denote hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric cars -- has surged across the European Union to represent 5.5% of all vehicle sales during October.

According to Jato Dynamics, despite ongoing financial uncertainty within Europe, October was a very good month for car sales with 1,202,877 vehicles registered, a 5.6% improvement on October 2016's figures and the best October in terms of sales since 2009.

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Furthermore, if sales continue at this rate then 2017 is shaping up to be another big year for car companies. Jato forecasts a 3.6% improvement over 2016.

However, it's the mix of vehicles making up those record sales that's the big news. After a 20-year+ love affair with diesel, European buyers are going through a messy divorce. Diesel sales dropped by 9.9% over the last month (compared with October 2016) across the continent, and by 12.2% in the UK.

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The void left by diesel being shown the door has been filled primarily by gasoline-powered cars -- registrations represented 51.5% of all October sales (a 5.1 percentage point increase) -- but also by cars with a battery on board.



Sales of electric and hybrid vehicles registered in Europe reached a remarkable 66,000 in October. That's a 5.5% share of the total market. To put that figure in perspective, in October 2007, alternative fuel vehicles represented 0.3% of European market sales.

"When looking at the AFV data, hybrids still lead the way, accounting for 59% of the total volume for the AFV category, compared to PHEV and fully electric vehicles, which accounted for 23% and 17% respectively," said Felipe Munoz, Global Automotive Analyst at JATO Dynamics.

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However, as well as fuel type, vehicle type is steering sales. Some 373,978 SUVs were sold over the course of October, or 31% of total vehicle sales for the month and a 21.3% increase compared with October 2016. And, as Munoz points out, the choice of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fully electric vehicle types is still small and that could be one of the reasons why alternative Fuel Vehicle sales aren't growing at an even greater pace.

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"Growth of electric and hybrid vehicles has accelerated during the last four months and consumers are more aware of the choices available. But, despite a series of launches, there's still limited AFV choice in categories such as the SUV segment," he said.

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