In the large premium SUV class, 49 percent of sales of the segment-leading Mercedes GLE were plug-in hybrids, the majority being diesel plug-in hybrids, with the gasoline version of the powertrain being less popular.
The plug-in hybrid version of the segment’s No. 2-seller, the BMW X5, represented 54 percent of the model family’s sales for the year, according to the Dataforce.
Full-electric models have been slower to arrive in the premium SUV segments, but models such as the BMW iX and the forthcoming Mercedes EQE are expected to play a greater role in 2022.
In total, plug-in hybrids were just behind full-electric models in sales last year, resulting in an 8.9 percent share in Europe. Plug-in hybrids also managed to cross the 1-million sales threshold for the first time in Europe.
Combined, vehicles with a plug just missed overtaking diesels, which suffered a 33 percent decline to 2,078,022, resulting in a 20 percent market share, down from a 28 percent share in 2020, according to ACEA figures.
Small cars remain Europe's No. 1 segment
Small cars maintained a slender lead over small SUVs to remain Europe’s best-selling car type with a volume of 1,864,641 million, down 7 percent on the year before. Small SUVs rose 9.8 percent in 2021, led by the Peugeot 2008, to record 1,860,166 million sales.
Compact SUVs overtook combined sales of compact hatchbacks, wagons and sedans by posting an 8.8 percent gain to 1.56 million compared with a 14 percent drop to 1.48 million for regular compacts.
The new-generation Hyundai Tucson rose to the top of the compact SUV ranking because of a 65 percent sales increase to 149,559, putting it ahead off the Peugeot 3008, VW Tiguan and Toyota C-HR in the process.