European buyers, once vocal critics of North America’s seemingly insatiable appetite for SUVs and crossovers of every imaginable type and form, have now come full circle, embracing the body type themselves over traditional hatchbacks, sedans, wagons and MPVs.

This shift, driven by many factors like evolving family needs and the rise of electrified options, has seen SUVs reach critical mass in Europe, becoming the dominant force not only in their respective segments, but also across the overall market.

More: Europe’s SUVs Are Getting Too Wide, Outgrowing Roads And Parking Spaces

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The continued rise in the popularity of SUVs and crossovers shows no signs of abating with the popular body style accounting for 51% of all new vehicles sold in Europe throughout 2023.

Data from Europe indicates that approximately 6.63 million SUVs were sold across the continent last year, marking a significant 19% increase compared to 2022. The small SUV segment emerged as the largest, boasting 2,159,427 sales, representing a 14% rise from the previous year. Compact SUVs followed closely behind as the second-largest segment, with 1,904,669 sales.

European Car Sales By Segment

According to Dataforce figures published by Auto News, SUVs now constitute half of Europe’s 10 largest vehicle segments. Trailing the small SUV and compact SUV segments were small cars, with 1,730,015 sales, and compact cars, with 1,508,061 deliveries. The premium midsize SUV and premium compact SUV segments followed closely behind, with 834,939 and 721,376 units , respectively.

Demand for premium midsize SUVs outpaced all other market segments, primarily driven by the Tesla Model Y, which experienced an 85% surge in sales, totaling 254,822 units. The Mercedes-Benz GLC also saw a significant increase in popularity, with sales rising by 32% to reach 91,259 units. Notably, 48% of all premium midsize SUVs sold last year were Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs), largely due to the influence of the Model Y.

Read: Americans Love Full-Size SUVs And The Pandemic Helped Turbocharge Sales

Strong BEV penetration can be seen across many other vehicle segments. For example, 58% of all luxury sedans sold in Europe last year were electric with the Porsche Taycan leading the charge with 19,965 examples sold, more than double the Mercedes-Benz S-Class in second position with 9,992 sales. In addition, 47% of midsize/large SUVs sold were electric with the VW ID.4 leading the way.

Segments with the highest EV shares; top-selling EV in each segment

  • Luxury sedan: 58% (Porsche Taycan)
  • Premium midsize SUV: 48% (Tesla Model Y)
  • Midsize/large SUV: 47% (VW ID4)
  • Midsize premium: 38% (Tesla Model 3)
  • Minicar: 24% (Fiat 500e)
  • Compact: 20% (MG4)
  • Premium compact SUVs: 23% (XC40)
  • Premium small: 16% (Mini EV)
  • Premium large SUV 11% (BMW iX)
  • Large premium: 11% (Mercedes EQE)

Source DataForce

Vehicles from the VW Group topped 12 of the 21 different segments tracked by Auto News, coming out on top in the compact, midsize, coupe/convertible, small SUV & crossover, compact SUV & crossover, midsize/large SUV & crossover, compact vans, midsize vans, compact premium, large premium, luxury sedan, and premium coupe segments.

SUVs Conquer Europe, Now Account For Over Half Of All New Car Sales