European vehicle market statistics, 2013

Published: 2013.10.28

Peter Mock

Update: The 2014 edition of the EU Pocketbook is now available here.

The European Vehicle Market Statistics Pocketbook offers an annually updated, statistical portrait of passenger car and light commercial vehicle fleets in the European Union from. 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 2013 edition

New passenger car registrations continued on the generally downward path started in 2007; since that year they have fallen from 15.6 million to 12.0 million, a decline of 23%. The trend reflects the close relationship between vehicle sales and the economic climate. It is most pronounced in southern Europe. In contrast, in Germany the number of vehicles sold in 2012 was about the same as in 2007.

European Union legislation setting binding targets for CO2 emissions from passenger cars continues to demonstrate its effectiveness. In 2012, the average emission level was 132 g/km, very close to the 130 g/km target established for 2015. That translates to about 5.3 liters/100 km and 5.2 liters/100 km for the 2015 target.

With respect to power train technologies, the picture remains unchanged from previous years. Europe’s new cars are powered by gasoline or diesel motors for the most part. Diesel cars still account for 55% of all new registrations, gasoline cars for 42%. Alternative powertrains mostly remain niche products. Hybrids account for about 1% of registrations in EU Member States.

The average mass of new cars in 2012 was 1400 kg, up slightly from 2011, continuing the recent historical pattern of annual increases. The trend remains concerning because of the relationship between vehicle mass, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. It bears repeating: had average new car mass remained constant for the last 10 years, the EU’s CO2 emission level would be close to 120 g/km, rather than the current level of 132 g/km.

in 2014, the Euro 6 emission standard will enter into force, setting limits that range from 68% (gasoline carbon monoxide) to 96% (diesel particulates) lower than those established under Euro 1 in 1992. In 2012, fewer than 1% of new vehicles complied with the Euro 6 standard, while 91% of all cars sold complied with Euro 5. Real-world emissions—that is, emissions as measured outside a vehicle laboratory—have not yet decreased to the extent suggested by the Euro standards. This is particularly true for NOx emissions from diesel cars. The limits for these emissions decreased by 64% between Euro 3 in 2000 and Euro 5 in 2009. But real-world emissions over this period improved by only 18%, a continuing disparity that contributes to persistent air-quality problems.