New passenger car registrations in Bulgaria in first quarter of 2024 up 46.8% y/y

There were 11 528 new passenger car registrations in Bulgaria in the first quarter of 2024, an increase of 46.8 per cent compared with January-March 2023, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association, ACEA, said on April 18.

This was by far the largest increase in percentage terms in the European Union in the first three months of 2024. The next-largest was 13.6 per cent, in Croatia.

Of the new passenger car registrations in Bulgaria in the first three months of 2024, a total of 8533 were petrol cars, 1948 diesel, 411 battery-electric, 224 hybrid-electric and 133 plug-in hybrid.

A total of 279 were in the category “others”, which includes fuel-cell electric vehicles, natural gas vehicles, LPG, E85/ethanol, and other fuels.

In March 2024, there were 3944 new passenger car registrations in Bulgaria, an increase of 29.2 per cent compared with March 2023.

ACEA said that in March 2024, the EU car market experienced its first decline of the year, registering a 5.2 per cent decrease to one million units.

The timing of the (Protestant and Roman Catholic) Easter holidays negatively impacted last month’s sales across most EU markets, including the four largest: Germany (-6.2 per cent), Spain (-4.7 per cent), Italy (-3.7 per cent), and France (-1.5 per cent), ACEA said.

For the first quarter of the year, car registrations increased by 4.4 per cent, reaching nearly 2.8 million units. The bloc’s major markets saw solid growth from January to March, with Italy and France each recording a 5.7 per cent increase, followed by Germany (+4.2 per cent) and Spain (+3.1 per cent).

Last March saw a shift in the car market’s composition: battery-electric cars slipped to a 13 per cent share from last year’s 13.9 per cent, while hybrid-electrics charged up to 29 per cent from 24.4 per cent. Petrol and diesel combined captured less than half the market (47.8 per cent, from 51.8 per cent).

In March 2024, battery-electric car registrations declined by 11.3 per cent to 134,397 units, reflecting the broader market downturn.

Consequently, their market share shrank from 13.9 per cent in March 2023 to 13 per cent in the same month of this year.

Among the three largest BEV markets, Belgium (+23.8 per cent) and France (+10.9 per cent) enjoyed double-digit increases, while Germany faced a significant decrease of 28.9 per cent.

The first quarter of 2024 ended with a total of 332 999 new battery-electric cars registered, a 3.8 per cent rise from the same quarter in the previous year.

Hybrid-electric cars stood out, achieving a 12.6 per cent rise in registrations in March, in spite of the general market decline.

France and Italy, two of the three largest HEV markets, registered significant increases of 29.6 per cent and 8.3 per cent, respectively.

Meanwhile, Germany saw a marginal decrease of 0.3 per cent. This segment reached sales of 299,426 units, capturing 29 per cent of the market, up from 24.4 per cent in March 2023.

On the other hand, plug-in hybrid registrations fell by 6.5 per cent last month, with Germany and Belgium experiencing declines of 4.5 per cent and 15.3 per cent, respectively.

France countered the trend with a modest increase of 3.6 per cent. In March, plug-in hybrids made up 73,029 units sold, equating to 7.1 per cent of the overall car market.

In March 2024, out of all powertrain segments, petrol and diesel were the most significantly impacted by the overall market downturn, ACEA said.

Petrol sales decreased by 10.2 per cent, with notable reductions across most EU markets, including France (-17.7 per cent), Spain (-10.1 per cent), and Germany (-3.4 per cent). In contrast, Italy posted growth, with an increase of 5.7 per cent. As a result, market share declined from 37.4 per cent to 35.4 per cent compared to March of the previous year.

The downturn in the diesel market was even more severe, with a 18.5 per cent drop in March.

Substantial declines were seen in the largest markets: France (-32.1 per cent), Spain (-38 per cent), and Italy (-27.6 per cent), while Germany experienced only a slight reduction of 0.5 per cent.

Diesel car sales totalled 128,227 units, accounting for a market share of 12.4 per cent, a decrease from last year’s 14.4 per cent.

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The Sofia Globe staff

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