2018 (Full Year) Germany: Best-Selling Car Models

In 2018, the Volkswagen Golf was again Germany’s top-selling car model followed by the VW Tiguan, Polo and Passat.

VW Tiguan All Space at Geneva Auto Salon
VW Tiguan Allspace

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. During the final four months of 2018, the German new car market was heavily affected by cars not yet certified as WLTP emission rules compliant – the outlook for the German new car market remains positive.

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

Top 30 Best-Selling Car Models in Germany in 2018 (Full Year)

New passenger vehicle registrations released by the KBA identified the following 30 cars as the top-selling car models in Germany in 2018:

BrandModelSales in 2018Sales in 2017Sales in 2016Sales in 2015
7AUDIA4, S4, RS453,34059,46961,59752,493
13AUDIA3, S3, RS345,90149,82057,17657,858
15BMW1 SERIES44,14345,69946,63246,340
19BMW5 SERIES42,35842,84030,05533,108
21MERCEDESGLK, GLC40,43839,39726,25516,503
23BMW2 SERIES38,18941,14450,68042,916
24AUDIA6, S6, RS637,17038,85641,34144,095
28BMW3 SERIES34,51438,34343,98644,637

Source: KBA

Top Ten Best-Selling Car Models in Germany in 2018 (Full Year)

The effect of the WLTP regulations, and the inability of most manufacturers to have cars certified in time for normal registrations during the final months of the year, led to quite a big number of changes in the rank order of the top-selling 30 car models in Germany in 2018. However, somewhat surprisingly, only two new models were among the top 30 favorite car models of the Germans in 2018.

The Volkswagen Golf easily remained the best-selling car model in Germany in 2018 despite weaker sales – Golf sales in 2018 were down almost 60,000 cars from the numbers achieved in 2015. The VW Golf has been Germany’s best-selling car since 1981 – in 1980 the Mercedes-Benz W123 model (E-Class) was the best-selling car model in Germany.

Although sales were weaker, and the Golf 8 is due towards the end of 2019, VW still sold more Golfs in Germany in 2018 than the next three most-popular models combined, which incidentally were all also produced by Volkswagen.

The VW Tiguan replaced the Volkswagen Passat as Germany’s second most-popular car model in 2018. Sales of the Tiguan increased steadily in recent years to testify to the increasing popularity of SUVs in Germany – a similar trend was seen in sales of for example the Ford Kuga and Mercedes-Benz GLK.

The VW Polo reclaimed its traditional third position after a model change hit sales in 2017 and temporarily place the Polo in fifth place.

After being the second most-popular car model in Germany for seven consecutive years, the VW Passat slipped to only fourth in 2018. More seriously for Volkswagen was the decline in sales numbers – down 27,000 since 2015 – as the Passat is traditionally a high profit margin vehicle popular with commercial travelers (and families on the second-hand market).

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class slipped to fifth after three years at fourth. The Skoda Octavia and Audi A4 swapped positions.

The Mini entered the top ten for the first time ever in Germany in 2018 with higher sales. In 2017, the Mini was the 14th most-popular car in Germany.

The Ford Focus entered the top-ten list in Germany from 16th as the second new entry on the top ten list in Germany with the Opel Corsa was apart from the VW Golf the only car model with the same sales rank position in Germany in 2018 and 2017.

The Opel Astra and VW Touran slipped out of the top ten.

Top 30 Best-Selling Car Models in Germany in 2018 (Full Year)

The Ford Fiesta improved from 19th in 2017 to 11th most-popular car model in Germany in 2018. The Ford Kuga similarly moved from 25th to 20th.

The Opel Astra slipped from 8th to 12th with sales sharply down in Germany in 2018. The Opel Mokka slipped out of the top 30 to 41st.

Although the four best-selling car models in Germany were Volkswagens, the fifth most-popular VW in Germany, the Touran, slipped from 9th to 18th in 2018. The VW Transporter and VW Up mostly maintained their relative positions from a year ago while the VW T-Roc – a small SUV / Crossover – is a new model and entered the German top-30 sales list at 26th. The VW Caddy, a regular on the top-30 list, dropped to 31st.

Five BMW models were among the top-30 most-popular car models in Germany in 2018 – only VW with eight cars had more models among the best-sellers.

The Mercedes-Benz A Class re-entered the top-30 list.

Although the Skoda Octavia at 6th was the top-selling imported car in Germany, the Fiat 500, which improved one rank position from a year ago, was the only top 30 car in Germany in 2018 that was not produced by a German owned carmaker or traditionally linked to the German automobile industry.

More on the German Car Market in 2018

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.