Tesla’s Model 3 is the first electric car to top Europe’s sales charts

Driving up sales.
Driving up sales.
Image: Reuters/Stephen Lam
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Tesla is filling Europe’s roads with electric cars.

In September, the Texas-headquartered company sold nearly 24,600 units of the Tesla Model 3 across Europe to become the region’s top-selling car, according to data collated by JATO Dynamics.

“This is both first time that an EV (electric vehicle) has led the market and the first time that a vehicle manufactured outside of Europe has occupied the top spot,” JATO noted today (Oct. 25).

The 18-year-old automaker outsold establishment incumbents like Volkswagen and Fiat to capture 2.6% of the overall European market.

Tesla’s September rush

On Tesla’s part, September is typically its strongest month because of its production timelines. Even at the start of this one, CEO Elon Musk had said, “This month will be the craziest month for deliveries Tesla will ever have.” He wasn’t wrong. September sales accounted for 74% of Tesla’s total third-quarter volume.

In Europe, Tesla’s sedan (Model 3) and the mid-size SUV (Model Y) were the two most popular battery-operated EVs, giving Tesla the biggest combined market share of 24% in the segment. Volkswagen was at its heels with 22%, and Stellantis was a distant third, capturing 13%.

The era of EVs in Europe

Musk’s firm’s success signals a move away from combustion engines and towards EVs.

Government incentives have likely helped. Most European countries offer electric-vehicle owners perks like grants and exemptions from road tax.

“In addition to incentives, OEMs [manufacturers] have enhanced their offering with more models and better deals, and many are shifting their limited supply of semiconductors to the production of EVs, instead of ICE vehicles,” says Felipe Munoz, global analyst at JATO Dynamics.

Overall, sales of electric and hybrid vehicles accounted for 23% of total new sales in September—nearly double the proportion of the market in 2020.

Meanwhile, Tesla’s shares just reached record-highs after rental company Hertz announced plans to order 100,000 Teslas in north America.