2012 (Q3) Germany: Best-Selling Car Manufacturers and Brands

Volkswagen remained the top-selling car brand in Germany during the first nine months of 2012. Mercedes was the second most popular car make followed by BMW and Audi.

Yellow Volkswagen Beetle
Photo: Volkswagen Media Services

Volkswagen, despite slightly weaker sales, was again the best-selling car manufacturer in Germany from January to September 2012. VW was followed by Mercedes, BMW, and Audi. The German car market was significantly weaker during the third quarter of 2012 to push the market down by 1.8% year to date. Japanese and French carmakers generally had weak sales in Germany while South Korean brands Kia and Hyundai continue to enjoy strong growth. Opel and Ford continue to weaken in Germany.

The German Car Market in 2012 (January to September)

The German new car market started to weaken during the third quarter of 2012. Total new passenger vehicle registrations for January to September 2012 were 2,358,798 (-1.8%) cars. The first half-year 2012 results were still positive with a small 0.7% increase in new car registrations.

Germany’s total new-vehicle market for the first three quarters of 2012 saw 2,756,642 (-1.9%) new registrations.

During the first nine months of 2012, 2,023 electric cars and 15,771 hybrid cars were sold in Germany. Although the overall numbers are small, the increase is significant over the 1,786 electric (+13%) and 9,214 hybrid cars (+70%) registered during the same period in 2011.

Best-Selling Car Manufacturers in Germany 2012 (Q3)

Car sales statistics released by the KBA on October 2, 2012 show the most popular car makes in Germany during the first three quarters of 2012 as:

January to September 2012
    Car Sales % Market Share % Change from 2011
  Total German Car Market 2,358,798 100.0 -1.8
1 VW 514,986 21.8 -2.2
2 Mercedes 212,376 9.0 0.5
3 BMW, Mini 211,792 9.0 -3.7
4 Audi 201,223 8.5 8.4
5 Opel 167,945 7.1 -13.2
6 Ford 158,663 6.7 -8.8
7 Renault, Dacia 113,785 4.8 -5.3
8 Skoda 113,696 4.8 4.6
9 Hyundai 75,938 3.2 15.2
10 Toyota, Lexus 64,305 2.7 6.0
11 Fiat 57,038 2.4 -12.0
12 Peugeot 56,858 2.4 -12.5
13 Nissan, Infiniti 49,705 2.1 -9.9
14 Seat 49,594 2.1 9.1
15 Citroen 49,000 2.1 -5.9
16 Kia 41,818 1.8 44.0
17 Mazda 32,194 1.4 -5.0
18 Volvo 25,188 1.1 -0.9
19 Suzuki 24,209 1.0 -2.7
20 Chevrolet 22,450 1.0 0.1
21 Smart 22,069 0.9 -3.3
22 Honda 20,598 0.9 -5.2
23 Mitsubishi 18,514 0.8 -22.0
24 Porsche 16,225 0.7 13.6
25 Land Rover 8,283 0.4 81.1

Source: Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt

Top-Selling Car Brands in Germany in 2012 (Q3)

Volkswagen easily remained Germany’s most popular car brand during the first nine months of 2012. Although sales were slightly down, VW is in no danger of losing its top position in Germany any time soon. With the top-selling VW Golf due for replacement by the end of the year, Volkswagen sales can be expected to remain under pressure for the rest of the year.

Mercedes-Benz moved back into second place by narrowly outselling BMW Mini, which was in second place mid-year. Mercedes will expect to increase volume during the fourth quarter of 2012 following the launch of the new A-Class in September.

Audi continues to register positive growth despite a weakening overall market. In stark contrast, Opel and Ford continue to weaken in Germany. Only Mitsubishi saw sales slipping faster than Opel.

Despite weaker sales, Renault Dacia narrowly maintained its position as Germany’s favorite import car brand ahead of Skoda. Sales by all French carmakers were weaker but sales in Germany were far less disastrous than on the French car market.

Hyundai solidified its position on the top-ten list of most popular car brands in Germany. Only sister South Korean carmaker Kia and Land Rover had a larger increase in car sales.

Toyota, at tenth place, was the only Japanese car manufacturer to have increased the number of cars sold in Germany during the first nine months of 2012.

Although the German car market remains fairly strong compared to other major European car markets such as France, Italy, and Spain, the trend is clearly downwards. Mid-year, the German car market was still in slightly positive territory, but sales were down around 5% year-on-year in July and August and accelerated to -11% in September.

As seemingly always, the VW Golf remains Germany’s most popular car by far.

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.