2013 (Q1) Germany: Best-Selling Car Manufacturers and Brands

Volkswagen, Mercedes, BMW and Audi were the top-selling car brands in Germany in a weak vehicle market at the start of 2013.

Red VW 1l Car at the Geneva Auto Salon 2013

The first quarter of 2013 saw a 12.9% decline in German new passenger vehicle registrations. Despite weaker sales, Volkswagen easily remains the market leader in Germany. Mercedes overtook BMW to become the second best-selling car marque in Germany during the first three months of 2013. Seat and Smart were the only top-twenty car brands to have increased the number of cars sold in German during the first quarter of 2013 compared to the start of 2012.

German New Car Market in 2013 (First Quarter)

The German new passenger vehicle market contacted by 12.9% during the first three months of 2013 compared to small growth of 1.3% during the first quarter of 2012. The total new passenger vehicle registrations were 673,957 during the first quarter of 2013, almost exactly a hundred thousand fewer cars registered compared to the 773,636 cars sold in 2012.

The total German motorized vehicles market – including cars, trucks, buses, and motorcycles – was 779,132 vehicles for the first quarter of 2013, down 13.3% from a year ago.

Car sales in March were down 17.1% compared to the same month a year ago – particularly worrying, as March is traditionally the strongest month for car sales in Germany.

Top-Selling Car Brands in Germany in 2013 (Q1)

The best-selling car manufacturers in Germany during the first three months of 2013 according to car sales statistics released by the KBA were:

Manufacturer Jan – March 2013% Market Share% Change from 2012
1VW 143,43821.3-17
2Mercedes 62,9099.3-3.6
3BMW 55,3768.2-2.7
4Audi 55,3388.2-6
5Opel 46,0296.8-15.5
6Ford 39,2635.8-28.8
7Skoda 35,4475.3-0.8
8Renault 25,7083.8-8.6
9Hyundai 23,8763.5-8.6
10Seat 18,2062.721.7
11Toyota 17,1622.5-22.3
12Fiat 16,7012.5-6.8
13Nissan. Infiniti 13,7742-27.9
14Kia 13,2862-1
15Citroen 12,6531.9-27.1
16Mazda 12,2871.8-6.5
17Peugeot 11,4651.7-37.7
18Dacia 9,9741.5-2.3
19Mini 7,9071.2-8.2
20Smart 7,3951.13.3
21Volvo 6,4491-22.5
22Chevrolet 5,5380.8-20.6
23Honda 5,4930.8-1.2
24Porsche 5,2820.8-2.7
25Suzuki 5,1990.8-37.9
26Mitsubishi 4,8480.7-30.7
27Land Rover 3,5400.516.1
28Subaru 2,2380.3-16.5
29Jeep 1,6090.27.5
30Jaguar 1,0050.17.9
31Alfa Romeo 9270.1-59.4
32Lancia 3840.1-61.1
33Lexus 3650.1-57
Others 2,8860.4
Total 673,957100-12.9

Source: Kraftfahrtbundesamt (KBA)

Changes in the Top-Selling Car Brands in Germany in 2013 (Q1)

Volkswagen remained the market leader in German but with almost 10,000 fewer cars per month sold at the start of 2013, VW lost a percentage market share. The Volkswagen Golf remained Germany’s favorite car for the first three months of 2013.

The so-called luxury or premium trio Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Audi all had weaker sales too but easily outperformed the overall market (and together increased market share by a percentage point). Despite performing the least worst of the three, BMW slipped from second last year to second due to Mini sales being listed separately from 2013 onwards. Mercedes thus become the second most popular car brand in Germany while Audi maintained its fourth position, only a handful of cars behind BMW.

Opel continues to weaken but sales slipped slower than Ford, which had a dismal start to 2013. Opel and Ford swapped rank positions but both manufacturers remain very weak in Germany selling only around a third of the number of cars Volkswagen manage to move.

VW-owned Skoda had flat sales, or around 12% stronger than the overall market, allowing it to grab seventh place from Renault and the title of Germany’s favorite imported car brand. Renault sales continue to slip but the rank position was mostly lost due to Dacia being listed separately from 2013 onwards.

Hyundai (and sister company Kia) saw sales slipping slightly but both outperformed the overall market and gained some market share. Hyundai maintained its ninth position while Kia improved from 16th.

Seat – another VW-owned brand – was the most improved brand with an increase of 21.7% in sales. Seat moved from 15th place last year to move Toyota off the top-ten list of best-selling car brands in Germany during the first quarter of 2013. Lexus sales are also listed separately from 2013 but even its inclusion would not have kept Toyota in the top-ten list.

Fiat for once outperformed the market but its sister brands Alfa Romeo and Lancia are slipping out of significance in the German new car market. Japanese car manufacturers generally struggled too.

Sales figures of Dacia and Mini are listed separately for the first time from 2013 and both companies entered the top-twenty list at the expense of Volvo and Suzuki. At 20, Smart was the only German car manufacturer to actually have managed to increase units sales during the first quarter of 2013 in Germany.

Land Rover, Jeep and Jaguar continue to perform well although the actual unit sales remain low. Porsche sales were not too shabby either, especially as the first quarter of 2012 saw strong growth for Porsche, which is now part of the Volkswagen Group.

With the exception of Great Britain, the larger European car markets remain very weak at the start of 2013 and are unlikely to improve during the second quarter of 2013.

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.