The SUV is now the dominant body type across Europe. Figures for 2023 reveal that combined volumes for models such as the Tesla Model Y and the Volkswagen T-Roc accounted for more than half of all sales in region for the first time.
SUVs outpaced the market, with sales rising 19 percent last year to 6.63 million to take a 51 percent share of a European vehicle market that rose 14 percent overall, figures from market researcher Dataforce show.
The Model Y premium midsize SUV was the Europe’s No. 1-seller overall.
Small, compact cars fall
SUVs have eclipsed Europe’s traditional hatchback and wagon body styles.
The small SUV segment was Europe’s largest last year with nearly 2.2 million sales followed by compact SUVs at more than 1.9 million, according to the Dataforce figures.
The biggest growth among SUVs last year came from the premium segments.
Sales of premium midsize SUVs increased 31 percent to 843,939, which made it Europe’s fifth-largest segment. The biggest contributors were the Model Y, which grew 85 percent to 254,822, and the Mercedes-Benz GLC's 32 percent sales gain to 91,259.
Also seeing strong growth in the sixth spot was the premium compact SUV segment, which rose 27 percent to 721,376, boosted by the success of the best-selling Volvo XC40 and second-place BMW X1.
Both the midsize and compact premium SUV segments outpaced the minicar car segment, which fell to seventh largest from fifth in a reversal of fortune that indicates just how much the European market has shifted toward bigger cars (see table, below).