Tesla Inc.’s Model 3 was the top-selling vehicle in Europe last month, the first time an electric car has outsold rival models with gasoline engines.
The U.S. automaker’s most affordable vehicle beat out cars including Renault SA’s Clio and Volkswagen AG’s Golf, according to Jato Dynamics. The Model 3’s performance partly reflects “Tesla’s intensive end-of-quarter sales push,” the research firm said in a report released Monday.
Taking the monthly sales crown is a major milestone for EVs and another sign that the automotive industry is accelerating its pivot away from the combustion engine. It’s also the first time a car made outside of Europe has claimed the region’s top spot.
Governments are offering generous incentives to entice buyers to trade in combustion-engine cars, with fully electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles accounting for 23% of the market in September, a near doubling from 2020.
Still, the development comes against a grim backdrop for European auto sales because the global semiconductor shortage is crimping production and delaying shipments to customers. New-car registrations dropped by a quarter last month and dealers are struggling to fill lots.
“The growing popularity of EVs is encouraging, but sales are not yet strong enough to offset the big declines seen across other segments,” Jato said.
Tesla shipped 24,591 Model 3s to customers in September, a 58% increase from last year.