2020 (Half Year) Germany Best-Selling Car Brands and Models

In the first semester of 2020, Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz were the best-selling car brands in Germany. The VW Golf was the top-selling car model.

White BMWs in Geneva 2019

During the first half of 2020, BMW was the third best-selling car brand after VW and Mercedes and ahead of Audi and Ford.

In June 2020, as for the first six months of 2020, new passenger vehicle registrations in Germany contracted by a third. All car brands had weaker sales in Germany during the first semester of 2020. Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz were again the best-selling marques but BMW moved ahead of both Audi and Ford. Despite some supply issues, the VW Golf maintained its traditional position as Germany’s favorite car model.

German Car Sales Statistics — 2022: Market Overview, Brands, Models, Electric; 2021: Market, Brands, Models, Electric; 2020: Market, Brands, Models, Electric; 2019: Market, Brands, Models, Electric

German New Car Market in 2020 (Half Year)

New passenger vehicle registrations in Germany during the first semester of 2020 contracted by 34.5% to only 1,210,622 cars — almost 640,000 fewer cars than were sold during the first half of 2020.

In June 2020, the new car market contracted by 32.3% but not too much should be read into the low post-lockdown figures. Many German carmakers — and potential buyers — were expecting government incentives and were holding out on buying. However, the German government shocked the automotive industry by refusing to offer special incentives for petrol or diesel cars. Currently, both domestic and foreign carmakers are mostly unable to supply for months the low-emmission vehicles that qualify for subsidies.


The German new car market had a weak start to the year with January and February 2020 sales already weaker than a year ago. However, since March the Coronavirus was the dominant influence with uncertainty remaining in the market. First-quarter 2020 car sales in Germany were down by a fifth.

Best-Selling Car Brands in Germany in 2020 (First Semester)

New passenger vehicle registration data released by the KBA showed the following as the best-selling car marques in Germany during the period January to July 2020:

BrandJan – Jun 2020Jan – Jun 2019% Change
24Land Rover6,6379,373-29.2
33Alfa Romeo1,2292,023-39.2
36Source: KBA

Top-Selling Car Brands in Germany in 2020 (Half Year)

During the first six months of 2020, all major car brands in Germany had weaker sales. The Coronavirus and the anticipation for post-lockdown incentives played a major role in the market in addition to general economic weakness and uncertainty.

Volkswagen, despite being unable to supply Golfs for a few weeks, easily remained the largest carmaker in Germany thus far in 2020. Despite slightly underperforming the broader market, VW lost only 0.2% market share at 18.4%.

Mercedes-Benz gained market share to easily maintain its second-place although with sales almost half of what VW managed during the first half-year. BMW also outperformed and leapfrogged both Audi and Ford to narrowly claim third place.

Skoda moved ahead of Opel, which was the worst performing brand among the top ten. Seat similarly outsold Renault. Fiat was the best-performing top-ten brand and moved up one position with sales down by only a fifth.

Hyundai slipped off the top-ten list in Germany. Other than VW and Mercedes, Toyota was the only top-20 brand with the same rank position as a year ago.

Dacia and Mazda were the worst-performing of the larger brands with sales down by a half.

Smart was the worst-performing brand with sales down by 89% and slipping from 20th to 29th. New electric models will only be available in a year’s time. The best-performing brand in Germany was DS with sales down by only 8.6%, although the number of vehicles involved is rather insignificant.

Best-Selling Car Models in Germany in 2020 (Half Year)

The following were the 20 best-selling car models in Germany during the first six months of 2020 according to the KBA:

BrandModelJan – Jun 2020
6BMW3 SERIES19,892
12AUDIA4, S4, RS417,519
18AUDIA6, S6, RS614,264
19AUDIA3, S3, RS314,158

Top 20 Car Models in Germany in 2020 (First Half)

No surprises at the top: the VW Golf remained Germany’s favorite car during the first half of 2020. However, Golf sales were particularly hard hit during the first semester, as Volkswagen were slow to introduce the new Golf 8 and had to briefly halt deliveries due to software issues. In contrast, during the first half of 2019 VW sold 106,366 Golfs.

The second-most-popular car model in Germany is usually a Volkswagen too, it is just a matter of which one. During the first half of 2020, as during the first semester last year, the VW Tiguan was the second-most-popular car in Germany. Worldwide this small SUV — although it is officially a Geländewagen in Germany — is Volkswagen’s single most important car.

The rest of the top ten models are all in new rank positions. The Ford Focus moved up from fifth to third while the VW Passat improved from eighth to fourth.

The Fiat Ducato — a camper van — is the surprise new entra at number 5 — up from 20th a year ago. Due to lockdowns, an increase in camping holidays in Germany in 2020 was widely expected. Ducato sales during the first half of 2020 was almost 1,500 vans more than a year ago.

The BMW 3 Series –helped by the introduction of a new model just before lockdown started — similarly increases unit sales from a year ago. BMW sold a full 9 cars of this popular series more than a year ago to move up the ranks from 22nd to sixth.

The VW Polo slipped from third to seventh, the VW T-Roc from sixth to eighth, the Skoda Octavia from seventh to ninth, and the Mercedes-Benz C Class from fourth to tenth.

The Audi A4 slipped from ninth to 12th and the A3 from tenth to 19th.

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.