2018 (Q3) Europe: Best-Selling Car Manufacturers and Brands

Q1- Q3/2018: The Volkswagen and PSA groups remained Europe’s largest carmakers while Volkswagen, Renault and Ford were the top-selling car brands.

Peugeot 308 GTi

January to September 2018: The largest car manufacturers in Europe were again the Volkswagen, PSA and Renault Groups while Volkswagen, Renault and Ford were the leading car brands. New emission rules led to some chaos and very low registrations in September 2018 – with PSA and Opel moving ahead of Volkswagen and VW for the month – but over the full nine months there were few surprised and no major changes in the relative rank position of Europe’s top carmakers. However, the leading German premium brands Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi all had weaker sales.

See also: 2018 (Q1-3) Car Sales per European Union and EFTA Country for more on the European new car market during the first nine months of 2018.

Best-Selling Car Manufacturers in Europe in 2018 (Q1 – Q3)

New passenger vehicle registration figures for the European Union and EFTA released by the ACEA showed the following as the largest car manufacturers in Europe during the first nine months of 2018:

CarmakerQ1-3/2018Q1-3/2017% Change 17/18
VW Group2,987,5412,842,086+5.1
– VOLKSWAGEN1,385,1571,302,697+6.3
– AUDI610,493639,012-4.5
– SKODA562,529536,755+4.8
– SEAT363,220302,643+20.0
– PORSCHE62,13157,058+8.9
PSA Group1,961,6541,321,967+48.4
– OPEL/VAUXHALL701,069146,814+377.5
– PEUGEOT753,473695,288+8.4
– CITROEN470,845444,104+6.0
– DS36,26735,761+1.4
RENAULT Group1,296,8701,219,621+6.3
– RENAULT885,733859,140+3.1
– DACIA405,619356,693+13.7
FCA Group825,377831,547-0.7
– FIAT580,081629,508-7.9
– JEEP131,31278,747+66.8
– ALFA ROMEO71,04966,044+7.6
– LANCIA/CHRYSLER35,45649,296-28.1
FORD Group777,919791,497-1.7
BMW Group777,823788,420-1.3
– BMW617,031628,065-1.8
– MINI160,792160,355+0.3
DAIMLER Group725,715762,507-4.8
– MERCEDES650,886688,611-5.5
– SMART74,82973,896+1.3
TOYOTA Group597,817566,879+5.5
– TOYOTA561,338532,229+5.5
– LEXUS36,48034,650+5.3
JAGUAR LAND ROVER Group162,183174,008-6.8
– LAND ROVER99,834118,876-16.0
– JAGUAR62,34955,132+13.1
Source: ACEA

Top-Selling Carmakers in Europe in 2018 (January to September)

The Volkswagen Group easily remained Europe’s largest carmaker during the first nine months of 2018 and regained some market share to again move closer to a full quarter of the European new car market. VW maintained its lead despite very weak sales in September due to many cars not being certified for registration according to WLTP rules.

Volkswagen brand alone added more than 80,000 cars while Seat sales increased by a fifth or more than 60,000 cars. Audi was the only Volkswagen Group brand with weaker sales thus far in 2018.

The PSA Group generally performed well, and in September 2018 actually led the registration tables – Volkswagen Group certainly produced more cars but many could not be registered until certification is completed. Peugeot and Citroen both improved sales strongly. However, Opel sales were actually down compared to a year ago if the around 600,000 Opels produced by GM until August 2017 are added to numbers.

The Renault Group also increased sales with Dacia performing particularly well. In contrast, sales by the FCA Group were weaker with Fiat sales down, as were Lancia, which was again in a seemingly never ending round of restructuring / rebranding. Jeep sales were up by two thirds.

The Ford Group outsold the BMW Group by less than hundred cars – both carmakers had weaker sales. Daimler performed even worse. Toyota, Hyundai, Kia and Volvo increased sales in Europe while Nissan, Jaguar Land Rover and Honda had weaker sales.

The ACEA figures for 2018 excluded Suzuki, Mazda and Mitsubishi.

Best-Selling Car Brands in Europe in 2018 (Q1 – Q3)

During the first three quarters of 2018, the top car brands in the European Union and EFTA Countries according to the ACEA were:

BrandQ1-3/2018Q1-3/2017% Change 17/18
22LAND ROVER99,834118,876-16.0
24ALFA ROMEO71,04966,044+7.6
31Source: ACEA

Top 20 Car Brands in Europe in 2018 (Q1 – Q3)

The rank order of the top six best-selling car brands in the European Union and EFTA during the first three quarters of 2018 remained unchanged from a year ago. Volkswagen remained in the clear lead and gained half a percentage point market share this year.

Renault narrowly outperformed the broader market while Ford sales were down. Peugeot had strong sales to shrink the gap to Ford from around 100,000 cars to less than 25,000.

The Opel / Vauxhall numbers are a statistical gain only. If the 600,000 cars listed under GM until August 2017 were added, Opel sales this year would be around 6% lower. However, in the chaos of the WLTP in September, Opel was actually the top-selling car brand in Europe in September 2018!

Mercedes was the worst performer of the German “premium” brands but maintained the lead over BMW. BMW moved ahead of both Audi and Fiat that each slipped one rank position.

Skoda narrowly maintained its tenth position ahead of Toyota.

With the exception of Nissan, all other top 20 brands in Europe managed to increase sales thus far in 2018. Lancia and Land Rover were the worst performing brands while Jeep and Seat gained the most thus far in 2018.

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.