European vehicle market statistics, 2014

Published: 2014.11.12

Peter Mock

EU Pocketbook, 2014 (cover)

The annual European Vehicle Market Statistics Pocketbook offers statistical portrait of passenger car and light commercial vehicle fleets in the European Union from 2001—and, beginning with the 2014 edition, of the heavy-duty fleet as well. The emphasis is on vehicle technologies, fuel consumption, and emissions of greenhouse gases and other air pollutants.

See the EU Pocketbook online,, for interactive charts and underlying data.

Selected highlights of the 2014 edition

  • After declining for several years, new passenger car registrations in the EU remained steady at about 12 million in 2012 and 2013. That number is about 20% below where it was before the economic crisis, when there were about 15.6 million cars sold annually in the EU.

  • Average carbon dioxide emissions from new passenger cars fell below 130 g/km, reaching the target established for 2015 two years early—a demonstration of the effectiveness of the 2009 legislation setting that binding target. According to the European Environment Agency, the exact value was 127.0 g/km. The annual rate of reduction in CO2 emissions from new cars has increased from about 1% prior to 2008 to about 4% since then.

  • Diesel cars accounted for 53% of all new registrations in 2013, slightly less than in 2012 but still much higher than in other major car markets, all of which (with the important exception of India) are dominated by gasoline-powered cars.

  • The market share of hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs) in the EU continued to increase, and reached a level of 1.4% of all new car sales in 2013—still relatively low, but more than twice as high as in 2011. Their share of the market is significantly higher in the Netherlands (5.7%) and France (2.6%).

  • A stunning 4.1% of all new-car sales in the Netherlands were plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) in 2013, and another 1.4% were battery-electric vehicles (BEVs). The underlying reason is the CO2-based vehicle taxation scheme there, which features high rebates for vehicles that emit less than 50 g/km of CO2.

  • For the first time in years, the average mass of new cars in the EU dropped slightly, to around 1,390 kg in 2013 from 1,400 kg in 2012. Average vehicle engine power and average vehicle size (footprint) remained constant, while engine displacement and average number of cylinders were further reduced. Thus, the trend to squeeze the same amount of power, or more, from smaller engines continued in 2013.

  • The Euro 6 emission standard took effect in September 2014, setting limits that range from 68% (gasoline carbon monoxide) to 96% (diesel particulates) lower than those established under Euro 1 in 1992. In 2013, about 4% of all new car sales were Euro 6 vehicles, though the variation among manufac- turers is wide: from some manufacturers as much as one-quarter of sales are Euro 6-compliant vehicles, while others have as yet no significant Euro 6 fleet.

  • Evidence continues to accumulate indicating that "real world" emissions performance—that is, achieved when driving on-road under normal conditions—does not match the official values measured during type-approval testing. In an ICCT meta-analysis of on-road driving data for Euro 6-equivalent diesel vehicles, the vehicles tested showed on average NOx emission levels seven times the Euro 6 limit. Another recent ICCT analysis of driving data from more than half a million vehicles in the EU showed that the discrepancy between official CO2 emission values and actual, on-road performance had risen from around 8% in 2001 to approximately 31% for private cars, and as high as 45% for company cars.