2021 was the record year for new car registrations

After 35 years, the record for new passenger car registrations from 1986 was broken. Of the 176 276 first-time registered new passenger cars in 2021, 113 715 were electric cars. If the sales pace continues, there could already be at least 500,000 electric passenger cars in Norway as early as March.

03.jan. 2022

Never have more new electric cars been sold in Norway than in 2021. Photo: Volkswagen

1986 has long been the record year in Norway with 167,352 first-time registered new passenger cars, but in 2021 the record was broken with 8,924 more new cars. In addition to 176 276 new passenger cars in 2021, there are also 18 283 second-hand imports, a total of 194 559 first-time registered passenger cars – also a historical record.

Car sales per month in 1986 and 2021

Approaching 20 percent electric cars

"Few had envisaged that 2021 would be a record year for new car sales in Norway. And no country in the world has had such a growth in electric car sales as Norway. With the registration rate we are seeing now, and a share of 64.5 per cent new electric passenger cars in 2021, we may already have half a million electric cars in total in the Norwegian fleet as early as March. This starts to approach 20 per cent of a total of 2.8 million passenger cars. This is quite formidable," says Øyvind Solberg Thorsen, director of The Norwegian Road Federation (OFV).

New passenger cars in 2020 and 2021– per fuel type

The long goodbye: Diesel and petrol cars

"At the same time, in 2021 we have seen about 100 000 older cars with petrol or diesel engines disappear from the fleet, while more than 100 000 electric cars have arrived. It points the direction for the future, where diesel and petrol cars are slowly on their way out," he says.

The average age of passenger cars scrapped in Norway is 20 years, but the average age of all Norwegian passenger cars is 10.5 years. It also means that even if the share of electric cars in the total fleet increases, it will still be many years before the entire fleet is completely dominated by zero-emission cars.

Almost nine out of ten new cars had charging cables

Despite the pandemic hitting the automotive industry with part-shortages and production challenges, new car sales did not look completely dark at the beginning of 2021. But many feared difficult times when new pandemic waves again turned society upside down. Nevertheless, it went the other way: the pace of new car sales remained at a high level in Norway, and 2021 was the new record year. Adding rechargeable hybrids to the number of pure electric cars, almost nine out of ten new passenger cars had charging cables.

Electric, SUV and 4x4

-The three words electric car, SUV and four-wheel drive give a brief summary of what kind of new cars very many Norwegians want. Preferably in combination," says Solberg Thorsen.

- Due to topography and seasonal variations, many people want four-wheel drive. But it is also about the fact that very many new electric car models come with the combination of electric, 4x4 and as SUV variants. In addition, many of these have a price level, equipment, and a size suitable for many.

While 26.4 per cent of new passenger cars in 2011 had four-wheel drive, the figure in 2021 was 54.4 per cent. And the arrow is pointing upwards. In number, 95 915 new passenger cars had four-wheel drive in 2021, of which 54 211 electric cars – a share of 56.5 per cent. The share of new electric cars with four-wheel drive has increased by 33.9 per cent compared to 2020.

2021 – a special car year

"Traditional car brands have a strong foothold in Norway, while there is noticeable growth in brands and models from both the American and Asian automakers, not least Chinese. A number of the car models that now top sales and order lists did not exist in Norway a year ago," says Øyvind Solberg Thorsen.

-2021 has been a very special year in Norwegian car history. We see a clear shift towards zero emissions for new passenger cars. In addition, more and more are ordering and buying cars online that they have never tried or sat in, and Asian carmakers are facing even greater interest from Norwegian car buyers than before," he says.

The 10 best-selling car brands in 2021 – amount:

The 10 best-selling car models in 2021 – amount:

New record number of changes of ownership

It was not only new car sales that reached new heights in 2021, but also the number of changes in ownership increased somewhat compared to last year, which had the highest ever used car sales. The increase in 2021 was 1.6 per cent, and a total of 527 799 changes of ownership last year. The most purchased used car in 2021 was the Volkswagen Golf, where as many as 30,250 cars gained a new owner.

Second-hand imports and electric cars

The number of used passenger cars imported in 2021 increased by 48 per cent compared to last year and ended at 18 283. Of these, 10 472 were electric cars, which corresponds to a share of 57.3 per cent. The number of second-hand imported electric cars in 2021 compared to 2020 increased by 93 per cent.

- Such a large number may indicate that instead of waiting for a brand new car delivered in Norway, many have chosen a second-hand import to get the car quickly. Often these are almost brand new cars," says Solberg Thorsen.

The 10 most used import car models in 2021

More vans – also electric

A total of 34 026 new vans were registered in Norway in 2021. This is 6.2 per cent more than the year before, and diesel vans make up the vast majority, with 26 162 vans. But there is also an increasing number of electric vans, and 5 425 were registered in 2021, an increase of 122 per cent. Even though the increase was large, there is still a long way to go until we reach the Parliaments 2025 target of only zero-emission vans in 2025.

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