Tesla’s Model 3 is first electric vehicle to top monthly sales charts in Europe

By James Vincent

TESLA charging station Photo by Horst Galuschka/picture alliance via Getty Images

Tesla’s Model 3 has become the first electrical vehicle to top monthly sales of new cars in Europe, beating stalwarts like the Renault Clio and Volkswagen Golf to claim pole position.

Sales data shared by research firm Jato Dynamics and first reported by Bloomberg News shows Tesla with a healthy lead over its rivals, selling 24,591 Model 3s in September compared to the 18,264 sales for the Renault Clio in the number two spot. This also marks the first time that a car made outside of Europe has been a monthly best-seller there.

The sales data suggests that the automotive market is slowly but surely moving away from combustion engines to electric vehicles. This is helped in no small part by various government subsidies to reduce the price of EVs and hybrid cars and vans. According to Bloomberg, sales of electric and hybrid vehicles accounted for 23 percent of total new sales in September — nearly double the proportion of the market in 2020.

Top selling cars in Europe for September 2021.
Image: Jato Dynamics

However, the global chip shortage means that sales of new cars are down in general, with the EU market falling 25 percent year-on-year, with total sales in September 2021 of 964,800 vehicles. “Dealers continue to face issues with the availability of new cars due to the chip shortage,” Jato analyst Felipe Munoz told AM Online. “As a result, unwilling to wait more than a year for a new car, many consumers have turned to the used car market.”

September has typically been a strong month for Tesla, with the company often pushing sales hard for the end of the quarter. This year’s September sales accounted for 74 percent of Tesla’s total third quarter volume, reports AM Online, with the combined success of the Model 3 and Model Y giving it a leading 24 percent market share of electric vehicle sales, ahead of rivals Volkswagen with 22 percent and Stellantis with 13 percent.

That’s the hardware, but on the software side things are less smooth this month for Tesla. The company had to pull its latest self-driving beta after drivers complained about bugs including false crash warnings. An early morning tweet from Tesla CEO Elon Musk, though, suggests that the latest beta may have been restored, hopefully with those bugs squashed.