2019 (Q1) Germany: Best-Selling Car Brands and Models

The top-selling car brands in Germany during the first quarter of 2019 were Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and Audi. The VW Golf was the favorite car model.

New passenger vehicle registrations in Germany during the first three months of 2019 were flat at 880,092 cars (+0.2%). Volkswagen was again the largest carmaker in Germany at the start of 2019. Despite loosing marketshare, VW still sold more cars than second-placed Mercedes-Benz and third-placed Audi combined. Nissan was the worst-performing major car brand in Germany during the first quarter of 2019. Electric cars took a record market share of 1.8% with Tesla sales increasing more than four fold. The VW Golf was again the top-selling car model in Germany thus far in 2019.

German New Car Market in 2019 (Q1)

New passenger vehicle (PKW) registrations in Germany during the first quarter of 2019 increased by only 1,481 cars, or 0.2%, from a year ago to 880,092 cars. The total German vehicle market grew by a stronger 2.3% to 1,034,866 motorized vehicles (Kraftfahrzeuge) including motorcycles, cars, buses, and commercial vehicles.

The market for electric cars expanded by 75% with 15,901 electric cars registered in Germany during the first quarter of 2019 for a market share of 1.8%. Diesel cars also gained some market share (+2.7% to 32.4%) while petrol engines were down 6.4% for a 60.2% market share.

Best-Selling Car Brands in Germany in 2019 (Q1)

The top-selling car marques in Germany during the period January to March 2019 according to new passenger vehicle registration data released by the KBA were

Q1/19BrandQ1/2019Q1/2018% Share% Change
Total880,092878,611100.00.2
1VW163,415166,66618.6-2.0
2Mercedes77,72677,9128.8-0.2
3Audi75,61570,2158.67.7
4Ford67,94164,5357.75.3
5BMW62,48164,7017.1-3.4
6Opel56,40757,7296.4-2.3
7Skoda51,80051,0265.91.5
8Renault32,29632,3543.7-0.2
9Seat29,76926,8893.410.7
10Hyundai29,70627,8953.46.5
11Fiat20,48620,7342.3-1.2
12Toyota20,32721,9672.3-7.5
13Dacia18,93917,0642.211.0
14Peugeot18,77118,9742.1-1.1
15Mazda18,07618,3892.1-1.7
16Kia16,29115,8611.92.7
17Citroen15,51914,8191.84.7
18Mitsubishi14,26413,3511.66.8
19Volvo12,1228,9171.435.9
20Mini11,73511,2311.34.5
21Smart11,0979,6641.314.8
22Suzuki10,5869,8791.27.2
23Nissan10,55017,5961.2-40.0
24Porsche5,4978,3660.6-34.3
25Land Rover5,1676,3880.6-19.1
26Honda4,2156,8180.5-38.2
27Jeep4,1533,8400.58.2
28Tesla3,5966660.4439.9
29Jaguar2,1722,5320.2-14.2
30Subaru1,8681,6890.210.6
31Alfa Romeo9911,4820.1-33.1
32DS7101,1110.1-36.1
33Lexus6186500.1-4.9
34Ssangyong4926740.1-27.0
Others4,6946,0270.5
Source: KBA

Top Ten Best-Selling Carmakers in Germany in 2019 (Q1)

Volkswagen easily remained the top-selling car brand in Germany during the first three months of 2019. Although VW sales were down by 2%, Volkswagen still sold more cars than Mercedes-Benz and Audi combined. This was the third consecutive year that VW had a market share of less than a fifth of the German new car market during the first quarter of the year – in 2015 VW had a market share of 22.3%.

Mercedes-Benz was again the second most-popular car brand in Germany thus far in 2019 with sales down by 0.2% or fewer than 200 cars. In contrast, Audi sales were up by 7.7% to narrow the gap to Mercedes to only a thousand cars.

For the second consecutive year Ford increased by a rank position to claim fourth place from BMW. Ford sales in Germany during the first quarter of 2019 increased by 5.3% while BMW sales contracted by 3.4%. Opel sales were down 2.3%.

VW-owned Skoda remained the top imported car brand in Germany while Renault was the top-selling foreign brand without a German carmaker link. (Both Ford and Opel are traditionally considered German carmakers despite foreign ownership.)

VW-owned Seat was the most-improved of the top car brands in Germany during the first quarter of 2019 with sales up 10.7% and one rank position. Hyundai slipped back to tenth despite sales increasing by 6.5%.

A few further salient statistics from the new passenger vehicle registration data for Germany during the first quarter of 2019:

  • Nissan was the worst-performing major car brand with sales down by 40%. Sales of Porsche, Honda, Alfa Romeo and DS were also lower by more than a third.
  • Tesla was by far the best-performing car brand with sales increasing by 440%. Tesla moved into the top 30 from 33rd a year ago.
  • Of the top-20 brands, Volvo, Dacia and Seat were the most-improved.

Best-Selling Car Models in Germany in 2019 (Q1)

The ten top-selling car models in Germany during the first three months of 2019 were:

ModelQ1/2019
1VW Golf50,895
2VW Tiguan20,709
3VW Polo18,556
4Ford Focus16,148
5Mercedes-Benz C-Class15,933
6VW T-Roc15,500
7Skoda Octavia14,764
8Audi A313,977
9Audi A413,149
10VW Passat12,688
Source: KBA

Volkswagen’s domination of the German new car market continued at the start of 2019. Not only did the VW Golf maintained its traditional position as Germany’s most-popular car model but the top three were all Volkswagen models. Half of the top ten most-popular car models in Germany were Volkswagen branded cars with a further three from the larger Volkswagen Group.

The Ford Focus and Mercedes-Benz C-Class were the only top-ten models in Germany thus far in 2019 not produced by the larger Volkswagen Group. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class is a regular amongst the top-five but the Ford Focus mostly benefited from the introduction of a new model. Ford has mostly struggled in Germany in recent years.

Although the VW Golf 7 is in its final year of production – the Golf 8 is due to be launched at the end of the year – it still sold more than the Tiguan and Polo combined. VW benefited from the move towards SUVs and crossovers with the Tiguan and T-Roc selling well – these models are often considered to be high margin earners too. Deliveries of the T-Cross should pick up too during the second quarter of 2019.