European new car registrations in December 2019 painted an interesting picture of the industry, with various factors driving the monthly volume to a new record, according to JATO Dynamics.

Figures showed a 21 per cent increase in overall new registrations to nearly 1.26 million units. This was the highest monthly growth level since August 2018.

There were also positive signs for the Tesla Model 3 and the SUV market in Europe.

Last-minute action

The unusually high number of registrations in December was partly attributed to manufacturers acting at the last minute to replace gas-guzzling vehicles that are no longer deemed acceptable under EU emissions regulations.

These new rules, which set a target of 95g/km of CO2, came into effect on January 1st 2020.

As far as particular models and car types are concerned, JATO Dynamics said the Tesla Model 3 drove electric vehicle market growth and “outshined competitors” by becoming the third best-selling model.

Here’s the overall top ten, based on new registrations in December 2019:

  1. Volkswagen Golf
  2. Renault Clio
  3. Tesla Model 3
  4. Ford Kuga
  5. Dacia Duster
  6. Renault Captur
  7. Nissan Qashqai
  8. Dacia Sandero
  9. Volkswagen Polo
  10. Peugeot 208

The top ten manufacturer brands were:

  1. Volkswagen
  2. Renault
  3. Ford
  4. BMW
  5. Mercedes
  6. Peugeot
  7. Skoda
  8. Audi
  9. Dacia
  10. Toyota

SUVs maintained their strong performance during the month, with 524,500 units registered, representing 42 per cent of total volume.

Felipe Munoz, JATO’s global analyst, said: “As expected, Tesla continues to have an enormous impact on registrations at the end of each quarter and the Model 3 has put sedans back in the spotlight. The question is whether this trend is sustainable, or will electric SUVs hinder the popularity of the Tesla Model 3 in the coming months?”

Heather Stark, brand manager at The Fuelcard People, comments: “The introduction of new EU emissions standards at the start of this year clearly had an impact on new car registrations, so it’ll be interesting to see whether consumer preferences start to move in a more eco-friendly direction over the course of the year.”

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