Sales of zero- and low-emission cars highly unbalanced across EU, alerts auto industry

Brussels, 29 October 2019 – Sales of alternatively-powered vehicles are following a highly uneven pattern across EU member states, according to new findings from the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA).

Indeed, the consumer uptake of battery electric, plug-in hybrid and hybrid electric passenger cars, as well as those fuelled by natural gas or hydrogen, differs strongly from country to country as a recent report points out.

“Although the average EU market share of alternatively-powered vehicles is going up, the huge discrepancies across Europe are extremely worrisome,” stated ACEA Director General, Eric-Mark Huitema. “As we push ahead in the transition to zero-emission mobility, we need to ensure that no countries and no citizens are left behind.”

For instance, the number of battery electric cars and plug-in hybrids (electrically-chargeable vehicles, or ECVs) sold last year ranged from just 93 cars in Latvia (0.6% market share) to 67,504 in Germany (2% market share), ACEA’s data shows.

This picture is very representative, as the consumer uptake of electrically-chargeable cars is particularly low in Central and Eastern Europe, with Poland for instance selling hardly any (0.2% of total passenger car sales). An ECV market share of more than 1.5% is something that is exclusive to Western European countries.

When it comes to electrically-chargeable vehicles, the ACEA report highlights not only an east-west divide, but also a marked north-south distinction. Indeed, electric cars represented less than 1% of total sales in Italy and Spain last year – the third and fourth largest EU economies respectively.

Clearly, the uptake of electrically-chargeable cars is correlated to a country’s standard of living, with half of all EU member states having a market share lower than 1%. In only four EU countries electrically-chargeable vehicles make up more than 2.5% of the car market.

Huitema: “Mobility must remain affordable for all layers of society. That is why we are calling on governments to put in place more meaningful and sustainable incentive schemes to stimulate sales EU-wide.”

ACEA’s report also shows that sales of cars running on natural gas are mainly concentrated in Italy and Germany (74% of the EU total), and that fuel-cell cars account for a negligible share of total EU passenger car sales for the time being.

If the extremely ambitious 2025 and 2030 CO2 targets set by the EU are to be achieved, sales of all types of alternatively-powered vehicles will have to pick up rapidly in all member states.


Top 5: MOST ECVs sold (market share)

  1. Germany: 67,504 (2.0%)
  2. United Kingdom: 59,911 (2.5%)
  3. France: 45,587 (2.1%)
  4. Netherlands: 29,695 (6.7%)
  5. Sweden: 28,327 (8.0%)

Top 5: LEAST ECVs sold (market share)

  1. Latvia: 93 (0.6%)
  2. Estonia: 118 (0.5%)
  3. Lithuania: 143 (0.4%)
  4. Bulgaria: 220 (0.6%)
  5. Slovakia: 293 (0.3%)


Top 5: MOST HEVs sold (market share)

  1. Germany: 98,816 (2.8%)
  2. France: 91,815 (4.6%)
  3. Italy: 81,892 (3.2%)
  4. United Kingdom: 81,323 (4.0%)
  5. Spain: 75,768 (6.2%)

Top 5: LEAST HEVs sold (market share)

  1. Latvia: 672 (5.5%)
  2. Slovenia: 1,459 (4.7%)
  3. Estonia: 1,566 (4.3%)
  4. Bulgaria: 1,600 (4.3%)
  5. Lithuania: 2,351 (4.1%)


Top 5: MOST FCEVs sold (market share)

  1. Germany: 154 (0%)
  2. United Kingdom: 36 (0%)
  3. France: 36 (0%)
  4. Netherlands: 13 (0%)
  5. Belgium: 8 (0%)


Top 5: MOST NGVs sold (market share)

  1. Italy: 37,406 (2%)
  2. Germany: 10,804 (0.3%)
  3. Belgium: 3,987 (0.7%)
  4. Spain: 3,754 (0.3%)
  5. Sweden: 3,235 (0.9%)

Notes for editors

About ACEA

  • The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) represents the 15 major Europe-based car, van, truck and bus makers: BMW Group, DAF Trucks, Daimler Truck, Ferrari, Ford of Europe, Honda Motor Europe, Hyundai Motor Europe, Iveco Group, JLR, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Renault Group, Toyota Motor Europe, Volkswagen Group, and Volvo Group
  • Visit for more information about ACEA, and follow us on or


  • Cara McLaughlin, Communications Director,, +32 485 88 66 47
  • Ben Kennard, Content Editor and Press Manager,, +32 485 88 66 44

About the EU automobile industry

  • 12.9 million Europeans work in the automotive sector
  • 8.3% of all manufacturing jobs in the EU
  • €392.2 billion in tax revenue for European governments
  • €101.9 billion trade surplus for the European Union
  • Over 7% of EU GDP generated by the auto industry
  • €59.1 billion in R&D spending annually, 31% of EU total
Content type Press release
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