There are fewer Belgians than Dutch, but they do buy more cars

There are fewer Belgians than Dutch, but they do buy more cars

In 2023, the Dutch saw an uptick of nearly 20 percent in new car purchases, totaling around 370,000 vehicles. However, this figure pales in comparison to the automotive acquisitions made by their Belgian neighbors the previous year.

Belgium, with a population of approximately 11.5 million—roughly 6 million fewer than the Netherlands—outpaced their northern counterparts in car sales. A substantial 476,675 cars were registered in Belgium in the previous year, exceeding the Dutch count by over 100,000. This discrepancy is consistent with the usual trend, and 2023 marked a particularly successful year for the Dutch, contrasting with a dip in Belgian car sales due to factors like the global pandemic. Prior to the pandemic, Belgium routinely saw an annual total of no less than 550,000 car registrations.

Despite the population disparity, Belgium’s car market is on the mend, experiencing a 30 percent increase in registrations compared to 2022. However, importers in Belgium aim for even better recovery.

The price discrepancy of new cars in Belgium, generally more affordable, is reflected in the choice of best-selling brands. BMW leads the pack with 50,579 cars, followed by VW (45,272), Audi (35,396), Mercedes (35,263), and Peugeot (29,348). In the Netherlands, the top five comprises VW (34,958), Kia (33,504), Toyota (25,576), BMW (20,529), and Skoda (20,498).

Turning to the model preferences, the BMW X1 claimed the top spot in Belgium with 11,531 registrations, closely followed by the Tesla Model Y (11,489). The third to fifth positions were secured by the Dacia Sandero (10,456), Volvo XC40 (10,221), and Toyota Yaris (8,962). In the Netherlands, the Tesla Model Y emerged as the favorite with 13,758 registrations, leaving the rest of the top five—Kia Picanto (10,530), Peugeot 208 (9,007), Volvo XC40 (8,323), and Kia Niro (7,412)—trailing behind the American electric vehicle.


While Belgium may have a smaller population compared to the Netherlands, their car-buying habits are quite remarkable. The fact that Belgians purchase more cars than the Dutch despite their lower numbers is certainly noteworthy. This trend could be attributed to various factors such as economic prosperity, infrastructure, and cultural preferences. Additionally, it raises interesting questions about consumer behavior and market dynamics within these neighboring countries. As the automotive industry continues to evolve, further research into these patterns and trends could offer valuable insights for businesses and policymakers alike. This underscores the importance of understanding regional differences in consumer behavior and adapting strategies accordingly.

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