The global pandemic has played havoc with many businesses and industries throughout 2020, and the motor trade industry has been no exception.
European new car sales have seen a sizeable drop in the first three quarters of the year, down some 29% on 2019 sales.
Industry body JATO monitor trends in the automotive sector and has noted that in September 2020, sales of electric and hybrid cars outstripped those of diesels, the first time this has ever happened; not only is this a sign of an increasing demand for greener vehicles, it’s further evidence of the decline of the diesel motor vehicle.
When the actual sales figures were analysed, approximately 1.3 million cars were purchased across Europe during September, with the sales of electric vehicles reaching an all-time record of almost 328,000 units and a market share of around 25%.
Not only is this the first occasion in which sales of such cars has gone over the 300,000 mark, it represents an increase of more than 135% on September 2019; by contrast sales of both petrol and diesel cars were down by more than 10% on the same period last year.
The decline of diesel is even more stark when compared to a decade ago; in 2010 diesel cars accounted for half of all newly registered cars, but by September 2020, this has now fallen to under a quarter.
Unsurprisingly, the sales of electric vehicles in 2010 accounted for less than 1% of the total market share.
There’s no doubt that the influx of new electric and hybrid vehicles onto the market, and the accompanying decrease in price has helped to galvanise vehicle sales, but despite strong numbers from the likes of VW and Toyota, costs still remain high for many motorists.
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Charging infrastructure continues to improve, albeit not at a huge rate, and many governments are now seeking to incentivise the purchase of greener vehicles through cash grants and reduced vehicle taxes and associated insurance policy premiums.
It’s also interesting to note that hybrid vehicles continue to gain a strong share of the market, with many consumers clearly seeing this as a logical step in the switch from traditionally powered vehicles.
With an increasing number of manufacturers now producing electric vehicles, following the strong pioneering work of Tesla and others, the marketplace for electric vehicles will undoubtedly continue to develop over the next few years; with some countries seeking to place a ban on new diesel and petrol car sales by the mid 2030’.
As always, an increase in demand and ever-improving technology in areas like vehicle battery life and range, should help consumers finally make the greener switch to cleaner, more efficient transportation going forward.