2014 (Full Year) Europe: Best-Selling Car Models

White VW Golf TSi
In 2014, the Volkswagen Golf extended its lead as the most-popular car model in the European Union. It was followed by the Ford Fiesta, Renault Clio and VW Polo. The Skoda Octavia and Audi A4 were the first new models in the top-ten list in three years and entered at the expense of the BMW 3 Series and the Opel / Vauxhall Astra.

Top 10 Best-Selling Car Models in Europe in 2014 (Full Year)

The ten most-popular car models in the Europe in 2014, as calculated by JATO were:

Make & Model Cars Sold in 2014 Cars Sold in 2013 % Change Cars Sold 2012
1 Volkswagen Golf 520,958 470,229 11.1 431,754
2 Ford Fiesta 308,999 293,663 5.3 306,308
3 Renault Clio 300,924 287,111 5.1 244,076
4 Volkswagen Polo 280,378 266,994 5.2 287,639
5 Opel / Vauxhall Corsa 252,420 239,814 5.2 265,070
6 Ford Focus 222,834 224,232 -0.6 241,728
7 Peugeot 208 215,312 239,102 -9.5 160,150
8 Skoda Octavia 206,362 22.1
9 Nissan Qashqai 204,200 202,593 1.2 208,049
10 Audi A3 200,157 19.3

Top-10 List of Europe’s Favorite Car Models in 2014

After two year without change, the composition of the list of the top 10 most popular cars in Europe altered with two new entrants – the Skoda Octavia and Audi A3 at the expense of the Opel / Vauxhall Astra and BMW 3 Series.

VW Golf – Europe’s Top-Selling Car Model in 2014

The Volkswagen Golf remained Europe’s favorite car in 2014 for the seventh consecutive year. The Golf was last outsold by a different car model over a full calendar year in 2007 when it was 2,500 cars behind the Peugeot 207.

In 2014, the Volkswagen Golf consolidated its lead by selling 11% more cars than in 2013. Of the top 10 best-selling car models in Europe, only its sister models – the Skoda Octavia and Audi A3 – improved more. Golf sales in Europe increased by 50,000 cars in 2013 and up 90,000 from two years ago.

Evergreen Small Cars in Europe in 2014

The second to fifth most-popular car models in Europe in 2014 remained superminis with the ranking unchanged from a year ago. All four saw increases in sales by just over 5%.

The Ford Fiesta was again Europe’s second most-popular car model. Although sales improved from a year ago, the numbers hardly increased from 2012.

The Renault Clio was again third for the second year in a row and outsold the Fiesta at the end of 2014. Renault sold over 50,000 Clios more in 2014 than two years ago, the year the current model was launched. The Renault brand also surpassed Ford and Opel towards year-end.

The VW Polo maintained its fourth place for the second year running despite receiving only a minor update at the beginning of the year. Like the Fiesta, the Polo was launched in 2008.

The Opel / Vauxhall Corsa managed to hang onto fifth place for a second year despite the original 2006 model only being replaced towards the end of 2014. Although the new car has much in common with the older model the visual parts are all changed and should help Corsa sales in 2015.

Ford Focus and Peugeot 208 Less Popular in Europe in 2014

The Ford Focus and the Peugeot 208 were the only car models on the top-ten list to have sold fewer units in 2014 than in 2013. Peugeot’s decline was sharper than Ford’s allowing the Focus to take sixth place from the 208.

The Ford Focus was Europe’s top-selling car in 2006 but it has been overshadowed by sales of the smaller Fiesta since. The current model was launched in 2010.

The Peugeot 207 was the last car to have outsold the Golf in Europe in 2007 but the replacement 208 model launched in 2012 has never seen similar popularity, although it did outsell the Golf in December 2012. A sixth place in 2013 seems likely to remain its best result over a full calendar year.

Changes in the Top Ten Most-Popular Car Models in Europe

After two unchanged years, the composition of the list of the ten best-selling car models in Europe altered with two new entrants. The Skoda Octavia – a sister model of the VW Golf – entered the list at eighth place with an increase in sales of 22%.

The Nissan Qasqai slipped one position. The number of Qasqai cars sold in Europe has hardly changed in two years.

The Audi A3 is the second new car model and the second sister car of the Golf to have entered the top ten list of best-selling car models in Europe in 2014. Audi A3 sales improved by nearly a fifth in Europe in 2014.

The BMW 3 Series – a regular for years on the list of the ten most-popular cars in Europe – slipped off the list from ninth last year. The change is largely due to decision by BMW to create a 4 Series out of some cars that were previously part of the 3 Series model line. For a brand aspiring to promote exclusivity and premium not appearing on a top-ten best-sellers list is probably not too damaging.

The Opel / Vauxhall Astra also dropped off the list from 10th in 2013 and 7th in 2012. The Astra was launched in 2009 and never seriously threatened the top-selling car models. A new model is expected towards the end of 2015.

Volkswagen remained the strongest carmaker and brand in Europe in 2014 with the European Union car market in 2014 expanding for the first year since 2007.

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.