2012 (Q3) Europe: Best-Selling Car Brands and Manufacturers

Volkswagen remained the strongest car manufacturer and brand in Europe during the first nine months of 2012. VW was followed by Ford and Opel / Vauxhall despite weaker sales.

VW Polo Front View
Photo: Volkswagen Media Service

In a shrinking car market, Volkswagen increased it dominant position as Western Europe’s strongest car manufacturer and marque. Other major car manufacturers, including PSA, Renault, Ford, GM, and Fiat struggled with sales sharply down. German premium brands generally stole market share despite weaker sales. South Korean carmakers continue to see strong growth.

The West European car market (EU + EFTA) declined by 7.2% to 9,724,423 new passenger vehicle registrations during the first nine months of 2012.

Car Sales by Manufacturing Group in Europe in 2012 (Q3)

The best-selling car manufacturers in Europe during the first nine months of 2012 were as follows according to statistics published by ACEA:

   %Market  Share Units Units % Chg
  2012 2011 2012 2011 ’12/’11
ALL BRANDS* 100 100 9,724,423 10,473,838 -7.2
VW Group 24.8 23.2 2,411,087 2,427,899 -0.7
Volkswagen 12.8 12.3 1,244,076 1,289,216 -3.5
Audi 5.6 5.0 549,425 521,393 +5.4
Seat 2.1 2.3 200,460 238,012 -15.8
Skoda 3.9 3.6 379,307 377,578 +0.5
Others 0.4 0.0 37,819 1,700 +2124.6
PSA Group 11.8 12.6 1,147,092 1,316,671 -12.9
Peugeot 6.4 6.9 619,435 717,589 -13.7
Citroen 5.4 5.7 527,657 599,082 -11.9
RENAULT Group 8.3 9.3 807,132 978,753 -17.5
Renault 6.5 7.6 627,855 794,578 -21.0
Dacia 1.8 1.8 179,277 184,175 -2.7
GM Group 8.2 8.7 797,112 909,181 -12.3
Opel / Vauxhall 6.8 7.4 657,416 775,103 -15.2
Chevrolet 1.4 1.3 139,341 133,579 +4.3
GM (US) 0.0 0.0 355 499 -28.9
FORD 7.6 8.0 738,527 842,396 -12.3
FIAT Group 6.4 7.2 623,791 749,920 -16.8
Fiat 4.6 5.2 451,877 542,550 -16.7
Lancia / Chrysler 0.8 0.8 74,464 78,691 -5.4
Alfa Romeo 0.7 1.0 72,172 105,446 -31.6
Jeep 0.2 0.2 21,233 17,423 +21.9
Others 0.0 0.1 4,045 5,810 -30.4
BMW Group 6.2 5.9 602,020 612,948 -1.8
BMW Cars 5.0 4.6 482,092 486,405 -0.9
Mini 1.2 1.2 119,928 126,543 -5.2
DAIMLER 5.1 4.9 499,293 511,398 -2.4
Mercedes-Benz 4.6 4.3 444,721 449,614 -1.1
Smart 0.6 0.6 54,572 61,784 -11.7
TOYOTA Group 4.3 4.0 421,159 421,092 +0.0
Toyota 4.1 3.8 399,522 401,112 -0.4
Lexus 0.2 0.2 21,637 19,980 +8.3
NISSAN 3.5 3.4 339,009 357,513 -5.2
HYUNDAI 3.4 2.9 331,093 301,965 +9.6
KIA 2.7 2.0 257,760 213,898 +20.5
VOLVO CAR CORP. 1.8 1.8 171,493 193,507 -11.4
SUZUKI 1.3 1.3 121,899 137,368 -11.3
HONDA 1.1 1.1 111,257 116,072 -4.1
MAZDA 1.0 1.1 99,403 113,168 -12.2
JAGUAR LAND ROVER  1.0 0.7 95,763 72,409 +32.3
Land Rover 0.8 0.5 77,240 54,289 +42.3
Jaguar 0.2 0.2 18,523 18,120 +2.2
MITSUBISHI 0.6 0.9 60,512 91,147 -33.6
OTHER 0.9 1.0 89,021 106,534 -16.4

*ACEA figures exclude Malta.

Top-Selling Car Manufacturers in Europe in 2012 (Q3)

The Volkswagen Group further increased its dominance of the West European car market during the first nine months of 2012. Despite slightly weaker sales, VW outperformed the general market and increased its market share by another 1.6% to just shy of a quarter of the European new passenger vehicle market. The stellar performance of “others” in the Volkswagen Group is due to the inclusion of Porsche as a VW-owned subsidiary from August 2012.

Other major European car manufacturers, including PSA, Renault, GM, Ford, and Fiat all strongly underperformed the declining European car market and saw a drop in market share. German premium manufacturers BMW and Daimler gained market share despite slightly weaker sales.

South Korean carmakers continue to grow and increase market share to 6.1% in Europe. As Hyundai owns just less than half of Kia, the two brands are listed separately but together would be stronger than Daimler.

Apart from the South Korean manufacturers, only Jaguar Land Rover showed strong growth with both brands increasing sales.

Top-Selling Car Brands in Europe in 2012 (Q3)

The top ten best-selling car marques in Europe during the first three quarters of 2012 were:

  % Market    Share Units Units % Chg
    2012 2011 2012 2011 ’12/’11
1 Volkswagen 12.8 12.3 1,244,076 1,289,216 -3.5
2 Ford 7.6 8.0 738,527 842,396 -12.3
3 Opel / Vauxhall 6.8 7.4 657,416 775,103 -15.2
4 Renault 6.5 7.6 627,855 794,578 -21.0
5 Peugeot 6.4 6.9 619,435 717,589 -13.7
6 Audi 5.6 5.0 549,425 521,393 +5.4
7 Citroen 5.4 5.7 527,657 599,082 -11.9
8 BMW 5.0 4.6 482,092 486,405 -0.9
9 Fiat 4.6 5.2 451,877 542,550 -16.7
10 Mercedes-Benz 4.6 4.3 444,721 449,614 -1.1

Despite weaker sales, Volkswagen increased its market share and strengthened its position as Europe’s leading car marque. VW could expect to receive a sales boost from the introduction of the new Golf VII in Germany in November 2012.

In contrast, Volkswagen’s main competitors all bled sales and market share. Ford remained the second strongest car brand in Europe. Despite slow sales, Opel / Vauxhall moved into third place due to Renault’s even weaker performance. Peugeot maintained its position despite weak sales while Citroen slipped one position and Fiat two.

German premium brands continue to perform well despite the weak overall car market in Europe in 2012. Audi saw positive growth while both BMW and Mercedes-Benz outperformed the market to gain market share too.

See also Car Sales in European Countries in 2012 (Q3).