2016 (January to June) Europe: Best-Selling Car Manufacturers, Brands and Models

Renault Megane at Geneva Auto Salon 2016During the first half of 2016, Europe’s largest car manufacturer and brand remained Volkswagen, despite loosing market share with the VW Golf top model. New passenger vehicle registrations in the European Union and EFTA increased by 9.1% during the first half of 2016. The Volkswagen Group and Volkswagen brand lost a percentage market share while Renault replaced Ford, as the second largest car brand in Europe. Despite weaker sales, the VW Golf easily maintained its position as Europe’s favorite car model followed by the Renault Clio, VW Polo and Ford Fiesta.

European Car Market in 2016 (First Half)

New passenger vehicle registrations in the European Union and EFTA increased by 9.1% to 8,090,870 cars during the first six months of 2016. This was the strongest first half of a calendar year in Europe since 2008.

In June 2016, the European new car market expanded for the 34th consecutive month.

Best-Selling Car Manufacturer in Europe in 2016 (First Half)

Europe’s largest car manufacturing groups during the first six months of 2016 according to new passenger vehicle registration data released by the ACEA were:

1-6/20161-6/2015% Change% Share 2016% Share 2015
VW Group1,924,7031,847,3814.223.824.9
PSA Group830,848784,7865.910.310.6
RENAULT Group818,144726,66212.610.19.8
FORD Group565,879537,2755.377.2
FCA Group550,851471,67416.86.86.4
-ALFA ROMEO33,04430,9436.80.40.4
OPEL Group542,388502,5907.96.76.8
BMW Group533,541467,938146.66.3
DAIMLER Group483,162419,57015.265.7
TOYOTA Group340,006314,0678.34.24.2
JAGUAR LAND ROVER Group118,12490,94329.91.51.2
-LAND ROVER85,85975,01514.51.11

Note: “others” and brands selling fewer than 20,000 cars are not included.

Top-Selling Carmakers in Europe in 2016 (Half Year)

The Volkswagen Group easily maintained its position as Europe’s leading carmaker during the first six months of 2016. However, the group as a whole, and the Volkswagen brand in particular, strongly underperformed the broader market. Both the Volkswagen group and marque lost a full percentage market share compared to a year ago. Seat was one of only four major brands with weaker sales in Europe thus far in 2016 while Audi and Skoda performed slightly above market average.

The PSA Group remained the second largest carmaker in Europe but during the first half of 2016 also underperformed. Peugeot and Citroen had stronger sales but increases were below market average while DS sales were slightly down.

The Renault Group increased sales by 12.6% and only narrowly failed to overtake the PSA Group. Renault brand sales were up 15%, or around 90,000 more cars than a year ago.

The FCA Group was the most improved of the top brands with sales up 17% to overtake Opel. Fiat, Jeep and Lancia/Chrysler had sales increases well above market average. Even Alfa Romeo – a brand written off as going extinct more than once in recent years – saw sales increase by 7%.

The Opel/Vauxhall Group had sales increases just below market average but not sufficient to stay ahead of FCA.

German “premium” car manufacturers BMW and Daimler both strongly outperformed the market with all brands – BMW, Mini, Mercedes-Benz and Smart – having sales well above market average.

The Toyota Group and Nissan Group once again swapped rank order with Nissan sales slightly down and Toyota sales improving just below the overall market average.

With the exception of Mitsubishi, which was the worst-preforming car manufacturer in Europe during the first half of 2016, all the remaining brands selling over 20,000 cars outperformed the market. Jaguar Land Rover was the most-improved carmaker with Jaguar sales nearly doubling due to the good reception of new models.

Honda sales were up by a third reversing some of the negative numbers it experienced in Europe in recent years. Mazda sales were also strongly up.

Best-Selling Car Brands in Europe in 2016 (Half Year)

The twenty best-selling car marques in Europe during the first half of 2016 according to the ACEA were:

BrandSales 2016Sales 2015% Change

Although Volkswagen easily remained Europe’s best-selling car brand during the first six months of 2016, VW was the worst performer of the top-ten brands and lost a full percentage market share. Volkswagen sold less than 7,000 more cars than a year ago.

In contrast, Renault sold nearly 70,000 more cars than during the first half of last year and became the second largest car brand in Europe at the expense of Ford that lost market share despite stronger sales.

There were no further changes in the rank order of the top-ten best-selling car marques in Europe during the first six half of 2016. Toyota and Citroen each moved up a position from a year ago largely due to Nissan’s weak performance. Seat was the only other top-20 brand to have lost sales.

Mazda was the most-improved brand with sales up by more than a quarter but no change in relative rank position.

Top 10 Best-Selling Car Models in Europe in 2016 (First Half)

The following were the ten most-popular car models in the European Union during the first half of 2016 according to JATO figures:

ModelHY 2016% Change
1VW Golf269,430-2
2Renault Clio173,4624
3VW Polo166,8945
4Ford Fiesta159,534-9
5Opel / Vauxhall Corsa147,494-2
6Peugeot 208138,36814
7Opel / Vauxhall Astra129,69126
8Nissan Qashqai126,1131
9Skoda Octavia121,2979
10Ford Focus120,534-6

The VW Golf easily maintained its traditional position as Europe’s best-selling car model although sales were down 2% from a year ago despite an expanding market.

The Renault Clio moved up from third to second most popular car in Europe while the VW Polo improved from fourth to third. The aging Ford Fiesta saw sales slump by 9% and as a result was down to fourth from second a year ago.

The Opel / Vauxhall Corsa maintained fifth place despite weaker sales while the Peugeot 208 improved two places.

The Opel / Vauxhall Astra was the best performer of the top-ten models: sales increased by more than a quarter allowing the Astra to reenter the list from 14th a year ago.

The Nissan Qashqai slipped one position but remained Europe’s favorite SUV despite flat sales. The Skoda Octavia improved one rank place with a strong 9% increase in sales.

The Ford Focus slipped from 6th a year ago to tenth in 2016 with sales down 6% – of the top sellers only the Ford Fiesta did worse.

The only model dropping out of the top ten list from a year ago was the VW Passat – down from 9th to 13th with sales virtually unchanged from a year ago.

See also: 2016 (Half Year) Sales per European Union 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.