Q1/2019 Europe: Best-Selling Car Manufacturers and Brands

January to March 2019: The Volkswagen Group was the largest carmaker in the EU and EFTA with VW the top-selling brand followed by Renault and Peugeot.

Bentley Number 9 Edition at Geneva Auto Salon 2019

During the first quarter the Volkswagen Group remained the largest car manufacturing corporation in the European Union (EU) and EFTA countries. The French PSA and Renault groups remained second and third while the South Korean Hyundai Group moved ahead of Ford. Volkswagen was again Europe’s top-selling car brand during the first three months of 2019 while both Renault and Peugeot moved ahead of Ford. The VW Golf remained Europe’s favorite car model.

New passenger vehicle registrations in the EU and EFTA contracted by 3.2% to 4,146,152 cars during the period January to March 2019.

Best-Selling Car Manufacturers in Europe in 2019 (Q1)

According to new passenger vehicle registration data released by the ACEA, the following were the largest carmakers in Europe during the first three months of 2019:

Car ManufacturerQ1/2019Q1/2018% 18/19
EU + EFTA4,146,1524,282,134-3.2
VW Group989,2121,013,077-2.4
– VOLKSWAGEN458,500464,358-1.3
– AUDI198,956212,283-6.3
– SKODA194,344196,658-1.2
– SEAT123,186118,244+4.2
– PORSCHE12,69420,315-37.5
– OTHERS21,5321,219+25.7
PSA Group689,423697,454-1.2
– PEUGEOT263,491269,752-2.3
– OPEL/VAUXHALL239,717249,903-4.1
– CITROEN175,790166,242+5.7
– DS10,42511,557-9.8
RENAULT Group420,353417,833+0.6
– RENAULT272,199287,258-5.2
– DACIA145,582129,261+12.6
– LADA1,3061,275+2.4
– ALPINE1,26639
HYUNDAI Group273,085276,543-1.3
– HYUNDAI140,911145,109-2.9
– KIA132,174131,434+0.6
FORD262,502292,505-10.3
BMW Group260,148267,583-2.8
– BMW204,400213,518-4.3
– MINI55,74854,065+3.1
FCA Group259,733290,669-10.6
– FIAT178,900208,079-14.0
– JEEP45,90641,202+11.4
– LANCIA/CHRYSLER18,55413,750+34.9
– ALFA ROMEO14,72824,852-40.7
– OTHERS31,6452,786-41.0
DAIMLER Group238,296252,065-5.5
– MERCEDES214,307228,358-6.2
– SMART23,98923,707+1.2
TOYOTA Group200,988210,313-4.4
– TOYOTA 188,540197,491-4.5
– LEXUS12,44812,822-2.9
NISSAN Group117,083160,352-27.0
VOLVO 87,02380,055+8.7
JAGUAR LAND ROVER Group71,63170,306+1.9
– LAND ROVER46,85048,127-2.7
– JAGUAR24,78122,179+11.7
MAZDA65,53368,249-4.0
MITSUBISHI43,11236,912+16.8
HONDA38,27145,798-16.4
Source: ACEA

2Includes Bentley, Lamborghini and Bugatti 3Includes Dodge and Maserati

Top-Selling Carmakers in Europe in 2019 (Q1)

Although the European new car market contracted by a relatively mild 3.2% during the first three months of 2019, the lower sales were fairly evenly spread with all major carmakers selling fewer cars in Europe thus far in 2019. The only manufacturing groups with higher sales in Europe during the first quarter of 2019 were Renault, Volvo, Jaguar Land Rover and Mitsubishi.

The Volkswagen Group remained by far Europe’s largest car producer and gained market share despite weaker sales. VW Group sales were down 2.4% in Europe to just below a million cars but market share crept up from 23.7% to 23.9%.

With the exception of Seat, all other Volkswagen main brands had weaker sales in Europe. The Volkswagen brand gained market share despite weaker sales. High-earning Audi sales were weaker but similar to direct competitors BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Porsche was after Alfa Romeo the worst-performing car brand in Europe during the first quarter of 2019. Porsche continued to struggle with new WLTP certification. Sales of “VW Others”, including Lamborghini, Bentley and Bugatti, were up by a quarter.

The PSA Group was again Europe’s second largest car manufacturer and gained market share despite weaker sales. Peugeot sales were mostly flat while Citroen increased sales. Opel continued to weaken while DS sales were down by another tenth.

The Renault Group increased sales by 0.6% but that meant only around 2,200 more cars than a year ago. Renault sales were weaker while Dacia continued to expand. Lada sales were up but the Russian brand is expected to withdraw from the EU market due to emission regulations. Numbers for the new Alpine brand are now listed separately but remain very low.

The Hyundai Group moved ahead of Ford and the FCA Group with sales weaker but higher than market average. Kia sales were stronger and both brands gained market share.

Ford sales were down in Europe by just more than a tenth and just ahead of the BMW Group. BMW branded sales were weaker while Mini sales were up. BMW should gain from new models (3 and 1 Series) being launched during 2019.

The FCA Group saw sales contract by 10.6% – only Nissan and Honda performed worst thus far in 2019. Fiat sales were down by 14% while Jeep continued to gain from the popularity of SUVs and crossovers. Alfa Romeo was the worst-performing brand in Europe during the first quarter of 2019 while Lancia was the best-performing brand.

Sales of the Daimler Group were weaker with Mercedes-Benz branded sales down by 6.2% while Smart sales were slightly up. The Toyota Group also lost market share.

Nissan was the worst-performing carmaker in Europe during the first quarter of 2019 and the worst-performing major car brand too. Nissan sales were over 40,000 lower than a year ago – the numer alone accounted for nearly a third of the lower volume of cars sold the EU thus far this year.

In contrast, Volvo and Jaguar Land Rover were the most-improved carmakers in Europe during the first three months of 2019 with both groups gaining from the popularity of SUV and crossover models.

Best-Selling Car Brands in Europe in 2019 (Q1)

The ten top-selling car brands in Europe during the first quarter of 2019 were:

Car ManufacturerQ1/2019Q1/2018% 18/19
1– VOLKSWAGEN458,500464,358-1.3
2– RENAULT272,199287,258-5.2
3– PEUGEOT263,491269,752-2.3
4– FORD262,502292,505-10.3
5– OPEL/VAUXHALL239,717249,903-4.1
6– MERCEDES214,307228,358-6.2
7– BMW204,400213,518-4.3
8– AUDI198,956212,283-6.3
9– SKODA194,344196,658-1.2
10– TOYOTA 188,540197,491-4.5

Top Ten Car Brands in Europe in 2019 (Q1)

All of the top ten best-selling car brands in Europe during the first quarter of 2019 had weaker sales than during the first three months of 2018. Volkswagen was one of the best performers with sales down by only 1.2%

Both Renault and Peugeot moved ahead of Ford, as the second and third best-selling car brands in Europe thus far thus year. Renault sales were down by 5.3% while Peugeot gained market share with sales down by only 2.3%.

Ford was the worst-performing top ten car brand in Europe during the first quarter of 2019. Ford sales were down by 10.3%. (Fiat sales were down by 14% but its performance saw the Italian brand drop to 11th and out of the top ten for the first time in years.)

Opel, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi maintained their relative rank positions from a year ago with similarly weaker sales.

Skoda moved into the top ten (from 11th) with the best performance of the top brands.Toyota maintained its tenth place despite weaker sales.

The VW Golf remained Europe’s favorite car model.

See also: 2019(Q1) Europe: Car Sales per EU and EFTA Country for more on the European new car market at the the start of 2019.