2018 (Full Year) Germany: Best-Selling Car Manufacturers and Brands

In 2018, Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz were the top-selling carmakers in Germany while BMW outsold Audi with Ford still the fifth best-selling brand.

In 2018, Volkswagen remained the leading car brand in Germany by selling double as many cars as second-placed marque Mercedes-Benz. BMW outsold Audi in Germany in 2018. Ford was the fifth largest car brand in Germany in 2018 followed by Opel. Skoda remained the largest foreign brands with Renault the best-selling foreign brand without German owners. Seat outsold Hyundai. Jeep and Mitsubishi were the most improved brands in Germany in 2018 while Tesla and Nissan were the worst performing car brands.

German New Car Market in 2018 (Full Year)

New passenger vehicle registrations in Germany in 2018 were 0.2% lower in 2018 at 3,435,778 cars – only 5,484 cars fewer than in 2017. 

See: 2018 Germany: Developments on the New Car and Motorized Vehicle Market for more details.

Best-Selling Car Brands in Germany in 2018 (Full Year)

New passenger vehicle registration data released by the KBA showed the following as the best-selling car marques in Germany in 2018:

Brand2018 (Full Year)2017 (Full Year)% Share% Change 17/18
Total Market3,435,7783,441,262100.0-0.2
26Land Rover18,14123,6560.5-23.3
30Alfa Romeo5,4366,0960.2-10.8
Source: KBA

Top Ten Best-Selling Car Brands in Germany in 2018 (Jan to December)

In 2018, Volkswagen easily maintained its traditional position as Germany’s leading car brand with sales increasing by 1.5% and a market share of 18.7%. However, VW was hit hard by unpreparedness for the new WLTP regulations: during the first eight months of 2018 VW still had a market share of 20.1%

VW clawed back only 0.3% market share in 2018. In 2016, in the aftermath of the diesel emission scandal, Volkswagen’s share of the German market slipped to 19.6% – the first time since 2008 that VW had less than a fifth of new passenger vehicle registrations in Germany. In 2010, VW’s market share was 24%.

Nevertheless, Volkswagen still sold more than double the number of cars in Germany in 2018 than second place Mercedes-Benz. Mercedes-Benz sales in Germany slipped by 2.2% in 2018.

BMW seemed more prepared than most carmakers in Germany for the new WLTP regulations and in September 2018 was actually the best-selling car brand in Germany. Although BMW sales in Germany increased by only 1.2% in 2018, BMW moved ahead of Audi.

Audi slipped to fourth place in Germany in 2018 as the worst performing car brand of the top manufacturers. Audi sales were down 10% over the year but in September dropped by 78% and in October by 64%.

Ford sold only 3,000 fewer cars than Audi in Germany in 2018 to maintain fifth place ahead of Opel that sold 6.5% fewer cars in Germany. Although Ford is US owned and Opel now part of the French PSA Group, both are still largely considered as German manufacturers.

VW-owned Skoda was again the seventh largest car brand in Germany in 2018 and the top-selling foreign brand. Renault sales were weaker but sufficient to keep eighth place and top non-VW owned car importer in Germany.

VW-owned Seat was the most improved of the top-ten brands and moved to ninth at the expense of Hyundai that slipped to tenth despite stronger sales in Germany in 2018.

Best-Selling Car Brands in Germany in 2018 (Full Year)

In 2018, Toyota increased sales by 3.5% in Germany to take 11th place from Fiat that slipped to 12th with weaker sales. Renault-owned Dacia improved sales in Germany by a strong 15% to take 13th place from Peugeot that had weaker sales.

Mazda and Kia maintained their relative rank positions from last year with stronger sales in Germany in 2018. Citroen moved up one position while Mitsubishi moved up from 20th to 18th with sales up 17% – the best performance of any top-20 car brand in Germany. Mini maintained 19th place with stronger sales.

Nissan was the worst performing top car brand in Germany in 2018 – sales were down 26% to slip from 14th to 20th. Only Tesla had a bigger drop.

Jeep was the most-improved brand in Germany in 2018 with sales up by 28%. Tesla was the worst performing brand in Germany in 2018 with sales down by 43%.

More on the German Car Market in 2018