2021 was far from being a regular year for the automotive industry as the semiconductor shortage severely hampered production. Even in these less-than-ideal market conditions, the BMW Group managed to set a new all-time record by selling 2,521,525 cars. The BMW brand alone accounted for 2,213,795 – yet another absolute record.

However, JATO Dynamics numbers show the 3 Series was eclipsed by the Tesla Model 3 in Europe. Sales of the German sports sedan dropped by 1.9% compared to the year before and by 4.9% vs 2019. BMW sold a total of 116,250 units in the last twelve months whereas the EV found 141,429 new homes. America’s idea of an M3 was an absolute hit on the Old Continent, with sales jumping by 64% compared to 2021.

The numbers don’t reflect the entire continent as JATO Dynamics did the math for 25 countries part of the European Union. In addition, markets from the United Kingdom, Norway, and Switzerland were included when generating the rankings. The Model 3 was the best-selling EV and made it to the overall top 25 by finishing in 17th place. As for the BMW 3 Series, it ended 2021 on the 25th spot.

Tesla On The Rise

One explanation for the gap has to do with the aforementioned microchip shortage. EV buyers last year had shorter lead times than those who were in the market for a combustion-engined car. The longer waiting times for an ICE car convinced some buyers to switch to zero emissions. The lack of semiconductors was a blessing in disguise for Tesla since it had fewer issues securing the necessary microchips. Add into the mix government incentives for electric vehicles, and the end result is not so surprising.

Tesla’s market share doubled between 2019 and 2021, with this year already shaping up quite nicely. The company will soon begin deliveries of the Model Y crossover from its new factory in Berlin, which should give the likes of the BMW iX3 and Audi Q4 E-Tron some serious headaches.

[Source: JATO Dynamics]