2013 (Full Year) Europe: Best-Selling Car Manufacturers, Brands and Models

In 2013, Volkswagen was the largest car manufacturer and best-selling car brand in Europe. PSA was the second strongest carmaker and Ford the second brand.

VW Golf VII rear view
The VW Golf was Europe’s favorite car in 2013 © Volkswagen Media Service

In 2013, the Volkswagen Group maintained its position as leading car manufacture in the European Union and EFTA countries. Despite strongly underperforming the broader market, the PSA Group remained the second strongest carmaker in Europe followed by a resurging Renault. Volkswagen brand underperformed the market but easily remained the best-selling car marque in Europe in 2013. VW was followed by Ford and Opel / Vauxhall. Mercedes was the only top-10 brand to grow in Europe in 2013. The Volkswagen Golf was again the best-selling single car model in Europe in 2013.

Full year 2013 saw new passenger vehicle registrations in Europe down by 1.8% to 12,308,215 cars.

Best-Selling Car Manufacturers in Europe in 2013

The top-selling car manufacturers and brands in Europe during the full year 2013 according to the ACEA were:

% Share 2013% Share 2012Sales 2013Sales 2012% Change
ALL BRANDS  12’308’21512’528’093-1.8
VW Group25.124.83’085’3683’110’056-0.8
Others (1)0.40.446’97648’134-2.4
PSA Group10.911.71’342’0611’465’996-8.5
RENAULT Group8.98.41’096’0271’053’510+4.0
GM Group7.98.1968’7811’011’719-4.2
GM (US)0.00.0444505-12.1
BMW Group6.56.4794’497799’460-0.6
FIAT Group6.06.4740’641798’924-7.3
ALFA ROMEO0.50.764’41589’976-28.4
Others (2)0.00.04’3634’783-8.8
TOYOTA Group4.44.3542’054543’195-0.2
VOLVO CAR CORP.1.91.8230’337231’197-0.4
JAGUAR LAND ROVER Group1.11.0136’159124’383+9.5
LAND ROVER0.90.8108’765100’698+8.0

Top Car Manufacturing Groups in Europe in 2013 (Full Year)

The Volkswagen Group maintained its dominant position on the European car market during 2013 with a market share of 25%. Volkswagen brand underperformed the market but Seat and Skoda both had positive growth.

The PSA Group maintained its second place in Europe but continued to weaken while fellow French manufacturer Renault saw some growth mainly through its budget Dacia brand.

The GM Group continued to weaken with Chevrolet – which will withdraw from the European market in 2014 – performing particularly bad. Ford also underperformed.

The BMW Group stayed ahead of the FIAT Group, which saw very weak sales for its smaller brands. The Daimler Group had a positive year despite Smart sales slipping ahead of a model replacement in 2014.

Sales for Toyota and Kia were flat while Hyundai and Nissan both underperformed the European market in 2013. Strong sales growth allowed Mazda to move ahead of Honda, which narrowly outsold Jaguar Land Rover.

Best-Selling Car Brands in Europe in 2013 (Full Year)

The top-selling car marques in Europe during the full year 2013 according to new passenger vehicle registration data released by the ACEA were:

% Share 2013% Share 2012Sales 2013Sales 2012% Change
 ALL BRANDS**  12’308’21512’528’093-1.8
18VOLVO CAR CORP.1.91.8230’337231’197-0.4

Top-Selling Car Brands in Europe in 2013 (Full Year)

There were very few changes in the top-ten best-selling car marques in Europe during 2013 compared to a year ago. Volkswagen and Ford both underperformed the broader market but maintained their positions as first and second best-selling car bands in Europe in 2013.

In contrast to recent form, Opel / Vauxhall and Renault both narrowly outperformed the broader market to maintain their third and fourth places from a year ago.

In 2013, Peugeot sales slipped further but leaving the French carmaker safely in fifth place. Even weaker sales by Citroen saw it slipped two places from seventh last year to ninth this year.

The so-called premium German luxury car brands did markedly better. Audi maintained its sixth place from last year despite weak sales while flat sales allowed BMW to move up one place from last year. Mercedes-Benz was the only top-10 brand to have registered growth in Europe in 2013 and moved up one position. All three German brands (as well as Porsche and Volkswagen) had a record 2013 worldwide and in China.

Fiat maintained its tenth place by narrowly selling better than the market average in 2013. The Fiat Group’s smaller brands – Alfa Romeo and Lancia – were the worst performers in Europe in 2013.

The strongest growth in 2013 was by Dacia (Renault’s budget brand), Mazda, Jaguar, and VW-owned Seat.

Top-Ten Best-Selling Car Models in Europe in 2013 (Full Year)

The ten most popular cars in Europe in 2013 according to JATO were:

RankMake & Model Cars Sold in 2013 Cars Sold 2012% Change
1Volkswagen Golf 470’229 431’7548.9
2Ford Fiesta 293’663 306’308-4.1
3Renault Clio 287’111 244’07617.6
4Volkswagen Polo 266’994 287’639-7.2
5Opel / Vauxhall Corsa 239’814 265’070-9.5
6Peugeot 208 239’102 160’15049.3
7Ford Focus 224’232 241’728-7.2
8Nissan Qashqai 202’593 208’049-2.6
9BMW 3 Series 201’224 175’29914.8
10Opel / Vauxhall Astra 194’683 230’237-15.4

The Volkswagen Golf was Europe’s favorite car for the fifth consecutive year in 2013. The new VW Golf VII was launched in most of Europe at the beginning of 2013 and managed to widen the gap to the second placed Ford Fiesta by another 50,000 cars.

The Ford Fiesta was again the second most popular car in Europe in 2013 – it took second place from the VW Polo in 2012. The Renault Clio was one of the most improved top models and moved up from fifth last year with an increase in sales of 17.6%.

The VW Polo slipped from third to fourth in 2013. The Polo is due a minor facelift in 2014. The Opel / Vauxhall Corsa slipped another place with weaker sales but a new model will be launched in 2014.

In its first full year on the market, the Peugeot 208 entered the top ten list at sixth place – the 50% increase over 2012 more reflecting the late introduction of the 208 in 2012 than a true reflection of the sudden popularity of the French car.

The Ford Focus slipped again back to 7th place – a position it held in 2011 – from 6th last year. The Nissan Qashqai maintained its 8 th place and with a new model being launched early in 2014 should expect to sell well again in 2014.

The new BMW 3 Series is the second new model on the top-ten list confirming that so-called premium does not equals exclusivity.

The Opel / Vauxhall Astra slipped from 7th place a year ago to 10th. In 2011, Opel / Vauxhall sold 100,000 more Astras than in 2013.

The Renault Megane – new model launched in 2013 – and the Volkswagen Passat – new model due in 2014 – were the two cars to have dropped out of the top ten in 2014.

2013 Car Sales per European Country

About the author:

Henk Bekker

Henk Bekker is a freelance writer with over 20 years of experience in online writing. His best-selling cars website has been reporting car sales statistics since 2008 with classic car auction prices focusing on the most expensive automobiles sold at public auctions in the past decade. He also owns the travel websites European-Traveler.com and Lake Geneva Switzerland. Henk holds an MBA from Edinburgh Business School and an MSc in Finance from the University of London.