2016 (Q3) Germany: Best-Selling Car Brands and Models

Volkswagen sales in Germany were down during the first three quarters of 2016 but VW remained the top-selling car brand and the Golf the favorite model.

New passenger vehicle registrations in Germany increased to just over 2.5 million (up 6.1%) during the first nine months of 2016. With the exception of Volkswagen and Seat, all the top-20 best-selling car brands in Germany increased sales in 2016.

The German Car Market in 2016 (Q1-3)

New passenger vehicle (PKW) registrations in Germany increased by 6.1% to 2,555,783 cars sold during the first three quarters of 2016. The total new motorized vehicle market grew by 6.4% to 3,002,621 vehicles. The sale of heavy goods vehicles (LKW) increased by a strong 12% and buses by 14%.

As before, electric cars are struggling to find buyers in Germany. In September 2016, sales of electric cars were up 76.6% to 1,641 cars but for the first nine months of 2016, the total comes to a rather embarrassingly low 7,678 cars. This figure includes all electric cars registered for the first time for use on German roads, i.e. also research and promotion vehicles. The German press also continues to speculate that many electric cars are registered only briefly in Germany for tax purposes before being exported second hand to more promising markets in neighboring countries.

Best-Selling Car Brands in Germany in 2016 (Q1-Q3)

New passenger vehicle registration data released by the KBA showed the following were the top-selling car marques in Germany during the period January to September 2016:

  Brand Q1-3/2016 % Share %Change
  Total Sales 2,555,783 100.0 6.1
         
1 VW 510,003 20.0 -1.0
2 Mercedes 235,828 9.2 10.1
3 Audi 227,684 8.9 10.0
4 BMW 196,584 7.7 6.8
5 Opel 185,738 7.3 8.0
6 Ford 183,456 7.2 11.5
7 Skoda 140,772 5.5 2.2
8 Renault 88,072 3.4 13.9
9 Hyundai 81,346 3.2 0.5
10 Seat 71,290 2.8 -1.0
11 Fiat 61,788 2.4 12.2
12 Nissan 56,412 2.2 5.8
13 Toyota 51,926 2.0 7.1
14 Mazda 49,904 2.0 11.6
15 Kia 46,458 1.8 11.8
16 Peugeot 42,629 1.7 2.6
17 Citroen 38,186 1.5 6.5
18 Dacia 37,752 1.5 9.6
19 Mini 33,755 1.3 13.9
20 Mitsubishi 28,805 1.1 9.3
21 Volvo 28,050 1.1 7.1
22 Smart 26,442 1.0 -4.7
23 Suzuki 23,791 0.9 -0.2
24 Porsche 23,053 0.9 2.0
25 Honda 19,967 0.8 31.9
26 Land Rover 17,253 0.7 28.8
27 Jeep 11,411 0.4 2.6
28 Jaguar 6,710 0.3 69.4
29 Subaru 5,408 0.2 5.9
30 DS 3,263 0.1 -21.7
31 Alfa Romeo 3,039 0.1 41.0
32 Ssangyong 2,692 0.1 46.8
33 Lexus 1,676 0.1 40.5
34 Tesla 1,415 0.1 29.7
50 Others 13,225 0.5 6.6
         

Top-Selling Car Brands in Germany in 2016 (Q1-3)

Only five major car manufacturers failed to increase sales in Germany in 2016 compared to the first nine months of 2015. This select group included Germany’s largest carmaker Volkswagen, Sales or market leader Volkswagen were down by 1%, or just over 5,000 cars, while the total new car market grew by nearly 100,000 cars. Volkswagen’s market share thus slipped from 21.4% to a still substantial 20% of the German new car market.

There were hardly any changes in the relative rank positions of the top 20 best-selling car brands in Germany during the first three quarters of 2016 compared to a year ago. Mixed fortunes for the French and Korean manufacturers: Renault overtook Hyundai while Kia overtook Peugeot. Smart was the worst performer of the German brands and slipped out of the top 20 list.

A few further salient features from the sales statistics of new cars in Germany thus far in 2016:

  • The most-improved brands were Jaguar (70%), Ssangyong (47%), Alfa Romeo (41%), and Lexus (41%). Honda sales were up by nearly a third.
  • Of the top-10 brands, Renault was the most improved while Ford, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi also had double-digit increases.
  • Only five brands sold fewer cars than last year: DS (-22%), Smart (-5%), Seat (-1%), VW (-1%) and Suzuki (-0.2%).
  • Although VW lost 1.4% market share in a growing market, VW still sold more cars than second-placed Mercedes-Benz and third-placed Audi combined, or Opel, Ford and Skoda combined.

Top 20 Best-Selling Car Models in Germany in 2016 (Q1-3)

The 20 most popular car models in Germany during the first three quarters of 2016 according to the KBA were:

Rank 2015 Rank 2016 Car Q3/2016 Q1-3/2015
1 1 VW GOLF 188,141 205,951
2 2 VW PASSAT 62,990 72,410
4 3 VW POLO 53,394 50,838
3 4 MERCEDES C-CLASS 51,443 52,661
8 5 AUDI A4, S4, RS4 49,371 42,093
9 6 OPEL ASTRA 48,624 42,035
6 7 VW TIGUAN 46,819 43,843
5 8 AUDI A3, S3, RS3 46,256 44,356
7 9 SKODA OCTAVIA 43,957 43,676
10 10 OPEL CORSA 42,189 39,480
11 VW TOURAN 41,990 26,264
15 12 BMW 2ER 39,650 32,838
13 13 SKODA FABIA 38,014 33,214
11 14 FORD FOCUS 37,026 38,597
18 15 SEAT LEON 35,674 31,546
19 16 MINI 33,755 29,633
14 17 BMW 1 SERIES 33,163 33,043
17 18 BMW 3 SERIES 32,986 31,872
16 19 AUDI A6, S6, RS6 32,298 32,752
20 VW TRANSPORTER 31,598 25,608
         

The Volkswagen Golf easily remained Germany’s favorite car model followed by the VW Passat. However, both models sold noticeably fewer cars than a year ago. Golf sales were down 8.6% – a major model update has been announced for November 2016. Sales of the more profitable Passat were down 13%.

In contrast, the aging VW Polo increased sales to regain third place from the Mercedes-Benz C Class. The newer Audi A4 and Opel Astra both moved up positions with stronger sales while the VW Tiguan, Audi A3, and Skoda Octavia all slipped down the rankings despite higher sales. The Opel Corsa maintained its tenth place.

The only new entries in the top 20 list were the VW Touran – at 11 after the introduction of a new model – and the VW Transporter minibus. The two cars slipping out of the top 20 from a year ago were the Ford Fiesta (15 to 21) and the VW Up (20 to 23).

Germany’s favorite imported car model was again the Skoda Octavia. The best-selling foreign branded car not owned by a German manufacturer was the Fiat 500 (26th most popular model).