2012 (Full Year) Germany: Best-Selling Car Manufacturers and Brands

Volkswagen, followed by BMW-Mini, and Mercedes remained the top-selling carmakers in Germany during 2012.

Volkswagen Polo, Golf Plus and Tiguan LIFE models
Volkswagen remained Germany’s favorite carmaker.    © Volkswagen Media Services

In 2012, Volkswagen, BMW Mini, and Mercedes again topped the list of the best-selling car brands in Germany. Audi saw an increase in sales while Opel and Ford again suffered strong losses in market share. The German car market shrank by 2.2% in 2012 to just over three million new passenger vehicle registrations.

The German Vehicle Market in 2012

The German total vehicle market shrank in 2012 by 3.1% to 3,581,547 new vehicle registrations. New passenger vehicle registrations were down by 2.9% to 3,082,504 cars.

Mid-year 2012, the German car market was still growing by 0.7%. However, the market has weakened drastically in recent months with December 2012 sales down 16% compared to a year before.

Only 1.3% of new passenger cars in Germany use alternative energy sources. In 2012, a total of 21,438 hybrid cars and 2,956 electric cars were registered.

Best-Selling Car Brands and Manufacturers in Germany in 2012

The top-selling car marques in Germany in 2012 according to new passenger vehicle registration data released by the KBA were:

Car Marque Car Sales 2012 % Market Share % Change
  Total 3 082 504 100.0  -2.9  
1 VW  672 921 21.8 -2
2 BMW, Mini  284 494 9.2 -4.4
3 Mercedes  283 006 9.2 -0.9
4 Audi  266 582 8.6 6.3
5 Opel  213 627 6.9 -16.1
6 Ford  206 128 6.7 -10.7
7 Renault, Dacia  150 740 4.9 -6
8 Skoda  147 197 4.8 3.2
9 Hyundai  100 875 3.3 16.1
10 Toyota, Lexus  83 834 2.7 0.8
11 Fiat  72 755 2.4 -9.2
12 Peugeot  71 435 2.3 -13.7
13 Seat  68 109 2.2 15.4
14 Nissan, Infiniti  63 084 2.0 -11
15 Citroen  61 038 2.0 -8.5
16 Kia  54 798 1.8 30.3
17 Mazda  40 702 1.3 -1.5
18 Volvo  32 750 1.1 -3.4
19 Suzuki  30 843 1.0 -10.4
20 Chevrolet  28 794 0.9 -3.3
21 Smart  28 053 0.9 -4.8
22 Honda  26 306 0.9 -10.8
23 Mitsubishi  23 565 0.8 -21.6
24 Porsche  20 516 0.7 9.8
25 Land Rover  11 113 0.4 66.5
26 Subaru  9 457 0.3 52.3
27 Alfa Romeo  7 502 0.2 -28.4
28 Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge  7 033 0.2 35.8
29 Jaguar  3 197 0.1 3.3
30 Lancia  2 979 0.1 27.1
31 Daihatsu  1 263 0.0 -67.9
Others  7 808 0.3

Germany’s Favorite Car Brands in 2012

Volkswagen easily remained Germany’s favorite car brand in 2012. Although VW sales were down, Volkswagen still outperformed the overall market to increase its share of the German car market to 21.8%.

BMW Mini (-4.4%) saw a slump in sales but narrowly outsold Mercedes (-0.9%) to remain the second most popular carmaker in Germany. Competitor Audi (+6.3%) saw sales increase and took fourth place from Opel.

Opel had another bad year in Germany. Opel sales (-16.1%) were sharply down, as were sales of Ford (-10,7%) and Renault Dacia (-6%), which just managed to remain the most popular imported car brand in Germany.

Skoda and Toyota improved marginally but Hyundai (+16.1%) was the most improved major brand. Sister company Kia saw 30.3% growth. However, both South Korean companies were accused of ‚Äúday registration‚ÄĚ cars, i.e. self-registering cars to sell basically new cars cheaper as second-hand vehicles. (This practice is very common amongst all carmakers in Germany.)

Of the smaller carmakers, Land Rover and Subaru both enjoyed phenomenal growth. Both could take advance of the increasing popularity of SUV vehicles (+17.4%) in Germany. Daihatsu (-68%) has withdrawn from the German market at the beginning of 2012, leaving Alfa Romeo (-28%) and Mitsubishi (-22%) as the real strugglers in Germany in 2012.

Despite changing the model in November 2012, the VW Golf easily maintained its position as Germany’s best-selling car model in 2012.

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