2018 Germany: Total Number of Registered Cars

The total number of passenger vehicles registered for road use in Germany on 1 January 2018 increased by 1.5% to 46,474,594 cars. VW, Opel and Mercedes-Benz remained the most-popular car brands.

The total number of motorized vehicles registered in Germany on 1 January 2018 increased by over a million from a year ago to 63.7 million vehicles. Passenger cars increased by 1.5% to 46.5 million cars registered in Germany. Volkswagens remained the most common car brand in Germany with a market share of more than a fifth. Nearly every tenth car on German roads is either an Opel or a Mercedes-Benz. French cars are less frequent in Germany in 2018 than a year ago.

Total Number of Vehicles Registered in Germany in 2018

The total number of motorized vehicles (Kraftfahrzeuge / Kfz) that were registered in Germany on 1 January 2018 increased by 1.7% to 63.7 million vehicles – an increase of 1.1 million vehicles from the start of 2017.

The composition of the total number of motorized vehicles in Germany (Fahrzeugbestand) on 1 January 2018 according to the KBA was as follows:

TypeTyp2018% Change
Motor CyclesKrafträder4,372,9781.4
Trucks / LorriesLKW3,031,1394.1
Tractor UnitsZugmachinen2,204,4821.6
TrailersKfz Anhänger7,254,4432.9

All forms of motorized vehicles in Germany increased in numbers at the start of 2018 but the strong increase of heavy commercial vehicles reflects the continued strength in the German economy.

Passenger Vehicles Registered in Germany in 2018

Passenger cars (PKW) remained by far the largest components of the motorized stock of Germany at the start of 2018. A few statistics released by the KBA relating to this category only:

  • Compact cars (e.g. VW Golf) remained the largest group of vehicles on German roads with a share of 25.9% (+0.5%), followed by small cars (e.g. VW Polo) with 19.2% (+0.2%) and mid-size cars (e.g. VW Passat) with 14.5% (-2.9%).
  • The fastest growing categories were SUVs (Geländewagen, e.g. VW Tiguan) and mobile homes (Wohnmobile) with an increase of 8.2%.
  • Most cars are petrol (65.5% / +1.6%) followed by diesel (32.8% / +0.9%).
  • The number of electric cars registered in Germany on 1 January 2018 increased by 58% to 53,861 cars. This is around 5,000 fewer electric cars than could have been expected given the sales number of electric cars in Germany in 2017. Either electric cars are written off at an enormous rate, or more likely, many electric cars are still sold on to neighboring countries.
  • The number of hybrid cars increased by 43% to 236,710 cars, including 44,419 plug-in hybrids (+112%). As with electric cars, a far lower number than could be expected from 2017 sales numbers.
  • The average age of cars registered for use on German public roads increased to 9.4 years (up from 9.3 years in 2017).
  • In Germany, 674,978 registered cars (+12.2%) were older than 30 years for a market share of 1.5%. Of these, 477,386 cars were registered with historic number plates (+10.9%).

Cars Registered in Germany by Brand in 2018

The most-common marques of cars registered in Germany on 1 January 2018 according to the KBA were as follows:

 T2018% ShareIn 2017% Change

Ten Most-Popular Car Brands in Germany in 2018

As the average age of vehicles registered for use on German roads at the start of 2018 was over nine years, it is not surprising that the rank order of the most-common brand of cars in Germany changes only rarely. The top nine brands remained unchanged from a year ago.

Volkswagens are easily the cars most frequently seen on German roads. However, the number of VWs increased by a below market average 1%. Volkswagen’s market share of all cars registered in Germany was 21.5% in 2018 compared to only 18.4% of the new car market in 2017.

Opel maintained its second position but it was the only top brand with a lower number of cars registered in Germany in 2018 compared to a year ago. Mercedes-Benz maintained third place but it was the best performer of the top brands. Mercedes halved the distance to Opel from a year ago. In 2014, the gap from Mercedes-Benz to Opel was still around 800,000 cars compared to less than 150,000 in 2018.

Ford was again the fourth most-popular car on German roads but both Audi and BMW are catching up fast.

VW-owned Skoda was the best performer of the top-ten brands with a 7% increase. The number of Seats, another VW-owned brand, also increased by a strong 6.7%. The number of Skodas in German increased by more than 130,000 – no other brand added as many cars.

The top three French brands all had a lower number of cars on the road in Germany in 2018 than a year ago. While Renault and Citroen could maintain their relative rank positions, Peugeot slipped out of the top ten in Germany.

Despite underperforming, Toyota maintained ninth place and Fiat increase by one rank position to tenth.

Popular Car Brands on German Roads in 2018

A few further salient features from the German car stock statistics for 2018 released by the KBA:

  • Both Hyundai (+8.1%) and Seat (+6.7%) performed well in their second year with more than a million cars on German roads.
  • The best-performing brands were Dacia, Jeep, Mini and Hyundai.
  • The worst performing brands were Lancia, Chrysler, MG Rover, Daihatsu and Chevrolet, and Saab – all brands no longer represented in the new car market in Germany.
  • Sachsenring (Trabi) registrations increased by nearly 3%.