2018 (Half Year) Europe: Best-Selling Carmakers, Brands and Models

During the first half of 2018, the Volkswagen Group was the biggest car manufacturer in Europe, VW the best-selling brand and the Golf the top-selling model.

VW e-Golf Geneva 2018

During the first semester of 2018, the Volkswagen Group strengthened its position as Europe’s largest carmaker by again approaching a quarter share of the total new car market. The PSA Group, aided by Opel, moved ahead of the Renault Group. Volkswagen, Renault and Ford were again the three best-selling car brands in Europe during the first half of 2018. The VW Golf remained Europe’s favorite car model followed by the Renault Clio, VW Polo and Ford Fiesta.

Best-Selling Car Manufacturing Groups in Europe in 2018 (Half Year)

The top-selling carmakers and brands in the European Union and EFTA Countries during the first half of 2018 according to the ACEA were:

HY2018HY2017% Change% Share 2018
VW Group2,064,3381,912,304+8.024.4
– VOLKSWAGEN965,471882,380+9.411.4
– AUDI421,179427,837-1.65.0
– SKODA387,100355,048+9.04.6
– SEAT246,656206,499+19.42.9
– PORSCHE41,58138,054+9.30.5
– OTHERS2,3512,486-5.40.0
PSA Group1,378,246834,573+65.116.3
– PEUGEOT535,478491,584+8.96.3
– OPEL/VAUXHALL4486,8225.8
– CITROEN329,775318,333+3.63.9
– DS26,17124,656+6.10.3
RENAULT Group906,925863,855+5.010.7
– RENAULT621,357618,469+0.477.4
– DACIA282,233242,890+16.23.3
– LADA2,7662,496+10.80.0
– ALPINE56900.0
FCA Group586,723599,751-2.26.9
– FIAT418,950460,352-9.05.0
– JEEP87,79252,232+68.11.0
– ALFA ROMEO48,07944,481+8.10.6
– LANCIA/CHRYSLER27,24437,503-27.40.3
– OTHERS4,6585,183-10.10.1
BMW Group520,594522,123-0.36.2
– BMW410,295414,950-1.14.9
– MINI110,299107,173+2.91.3
– MERCEDES438,670447,143-1.95.2
– SMART51,03351,252-0.40.6
TOYOTA Group400,536375,589+6.64.7
– TOYOTA376,198353,521+6.44.5
– LEXUS24,33822,068+10.30.3
VOLVO CAR CORP.160,959150,741+6.81.9
JAGUAR LAND ROVER Group109,910120,842-9.01.3
– LAND ROVER69,43481,494-14.80.8
– JAGUAR40,47639,348+2.90.5
Source: ACEA

Europe’s Top-Selling Carmakers in 2018 (First Semester)

The Volkswagen Group remained Europe’s largest carmaker during the first half of 2018 and once again approached a full quarter of the new car market. The VW Group was particularly helped by a strong recovery in sales of Volkswagen branded cars that added more than 80,000 units. Skoda and Seat also performed well while high-profit-margin Audi had weaker sales.

The PSA Group, aided by the addition of Opel sales, moved ahead of the Renault Group. Although Opel sales were down, Peugeot performed strongly and both Citroen and DS expanded sales. Renault brand sales were flat while Dacia sales were stronger.

Sales of the FCA Group were down with Fiat struggling with overreliance on the aging 500 model. Jeep sales were up by two thirds.

Ford sales were weaker and somewhat hindered by the replacement of the popular Fiesta model during the year. Sales of the aging Focus were also weaker with the model due for replacement later this year.

BMW Group sales were flat with BMW branded sales down and Mini sales slightly higher. The Daimler Group similarly had a weak performance with both Mercedes-Benz and Smart sales slightly weaker.

The Toyota Group saw stronger sales for both Toyota and Lexus brands while competitor Nissan was the worst performing manufacturer in Europe and slipped behind Hyundai for the first time. Kia and Volvo both had stronger sales.

Jaguar Land Rover had weaker sales in part due to the weak British market but also due to a reliance on diesel engines that are currently very much out of favor on the European new car market.

GM sales are basically down to a few Corvettes and other imports – Opel sales are part of the PSA Group since August 2017.

Best-Selling Car Brands in Europe in 2018 (Half Year)

The following were the top-selling car brands in Europe during the first half of 2018 according to the ACEA:

HY2018HY2017% Change
22LAND ROVER69,43481,494-14.8
24ALFA ROMEO48,07944,481+8.1

Top-Selling Car Brands in Europe in 2018 (First Semester)

Volkswagen was again the top-selling car brand in Europe during the first six months of 2018. VW was helped by its enormous range of cars and having a model available for almost every niche. According to JATO, Volkswagen is now the largest manufacturer of SUVs and crossover models in Europe with further model launches in this sector due later this year.

Renault maintained second place despite flat sales and Ford third despite weaker sales. Ford is hampered by a lack of suitable SUVs and a decline in the popularity of its MPVs.

Peugeot moved ahead of Opel with stronger sales. Like VW, Peugeot is well positioned to cover a change in buyer tastes with a large range including several SUV models. Opel sales were down by 8%.

Despite weaker sales, Mercedes-Benz and Audi moved ahead of Fiat. Fiat is struggling with a too small range. Although the aging 500 remained popular, Fiat has few other models of interest to the car buying public.

BMW had sales slightly weaker while Skoda sales increased by 9%.

The top-performing brands in Europe during the first half of 2018 were Jeep (+68%), Seat (+19%) and Dacia (+16%).

The worst performing brands (excluding GM) in Europe during the first half of 2018 were Lancia (-27%), Land Rover (-15%) and Nissan (-11%).

Best-Selling Car Models in Europe in 2018 (First Half)

According to JATO the following were the top 25 best-selling car models in Europe in 2018 (first six months):

ModelHY2018% Change 17/18
1VW Golf257,5508
2Renault Clio185,2341
3VW Polo163,924-4
4Ford Fiesta157,2861
5Nissan Qashqai134,547-1
6Peugeot 208132,7641
7VW Tiguan129,2371
8Skoda Octavia123,7103
9Renault Captur121,2358
10Opel / Vauxhall Corsa117,981-15
11Ford Focus117,692-1
12Citroen C3116,5130
13Dacia Sandero115,27610
14Toyota Yaris115,26213
15Peugeot 3008111,99043
16Fiat 500110,5852
17Peugeot 2008100,602-4
18Dacia Duster97,28631
19Skoda Fabia96,3560
20VW Passat93,252-2
21Fiat Panda91,592-17
22Opel / Vauxhall Astra89,938-33
23Peugeot 30889,025-4
24Ford Kuga86,79411
25Audi A384,171-7

Europe’s Favorite Car Models in 2018 (Half Year)

The VW Golf easily maintained its position as Europe’s favorite car model with sales up 8% during the first half of 2018. The Renault Clio maintained its second place with flat sales – a new model is due next year.

Sales of the VW Polo that were replaced early this year in most markets were slightly down while sales of the Ford Fiesta that were replaced mid-year were slightly higher.

The Nissan Qashqai remained Europe’s best-selling SUV but sales were weaker largely due to increasing competition from new models by other brands.

Sales of the aging Peugeot 208 were flat – a new model is expected early in 2019.

The VW Tiguan was the second best-selling SUV in Europe during the first half of 2018. However, the Tiguan may expect stronger in-house competition for sales from the T-Roc and soon to be launched T-Cross. As is often the case with VW, the German manufacturer is slow to respond to new trends but when its does, it appears in force. According to JATO, VW has taken the lead as the top brand for SUVs in Europe with the larger group also having plenty of SUV models on sale.

The Skoda Octavia and Renault Captur both increased sales in Europe.

The big looser among the top models in Europe thus far in 2018 was the aging Opel Corsa. A new model based on the Peugeot 208 is expected early 2019. Sales of the Opel Astra were down by an even bigger percentage, although it still outsold the Peugeot 308 on which the next Astra is likely to be based.

SUVs generally performed well: Peugeot 3008 (+43%), Dacia Duster (+31%), Ford Kuga (+11%) and Renault Captur (+8%).

See also: 2018 (First Half) New Car Sales per European Union and EFTA 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.