2020 (Q3) Germany: Best-Selling Car Brands and Models

2020 (Q1-Q3) — Volkswagen was again the best-selling car brand in Germany but Mercedes-Benz and BMW gained market share. The VW Golf remained the top-selling model.

2020 (Q1-Q3) -- Volkswagen was again the best-selling car brand in Germany.

Volkswagen Golf 8 inspected in Wolfsburg, Germany

The VW Golf remained Germany's best-selling car model in 2020 (Q1-Q3)
© Volkswagen AG

January to September 2020: new passenger vehicle registrations in Germany contracted by 25% to just over two million cars. Volkswagen remained the largest carmaker in Germany but both Mercedes-Benz and BMW gained market share. Opel was the worst-performing major car brand in Germany thus far in 2020 while Tesla was the only brand to register an increase in sales.

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 (Q1-Q3)

2020 Q3 Germany Best-Selling Car

New passenger vehicle registrations in Germany in 2018 to 2020 September.

2020 (Q1-Q3) -- Volkswagen was again the best-selling car brand in Germany but Mercedes-Benz and BMW gained market share.
New passenger vehicle registrations © KBA

The German new car market contracted by 25.5% during the first nine months of 2020 to only 2,041,831 cars — nearly 700,000 fewer than during the same period in 2019. Although sales increased by 8.4% in September 2020, this was the exception (and partly due to weak sales a year ago) and the only month this year with sales markedly stronger than last year.

Best-Selling Car Brands in Germany in 2020 (Q1-Q3)

New passenger vehicle registrations in Germany in the period January to September 2020 were as follows according to the KBA:

BrandQ1-Q3/2020Q1-3/2019Q1-3/2018% Change 19/20
26Land Rover9,22013,51614,322-31.8
32Alfa Romeo2,1442,9824,625-28.1
Source: KBA

Top-Selling Carmakers in Germany in 2020 (Q1-Q3)

Volkswagen easily maintained its position as Germany’s largest carmaker during the first nine months of 2020. However, VW slightly underperformed and its market share dropped to 18%.

In contrast, both Mercedes-Benz and BMW gained market share with sales down only 16.6%. Mercedes increased its share of the German new car market to just over 10% while BMW increased two rank positions from a year ago.

Audi and Ford dropped one rank position each with sales below the market average. Ford sales in Germany were down by a third. Opel was the worst-performing top car brand thus far in 2020 in Germany with sales down 46%.

VW-owned Skoda and Seat remained the two top car importers in Germany and both gained market share. However, Renault was the best-performing top-ten brand in Germany with sales down by only 15.1%.

Hyundai maintained tenth place despite weak sales. Fiat was the best-performing top-20 brand.

Tesla was the only brand with higher volume sales in Germany thus far in 2020. Although Tesla sales were up by a quarter, it improved only three rank positions and remain a minor — if highly visual and influential — brand in Germany.

The worst-performing car brand in Germany thus far in 2020 was Smart with sales down nearly 80%. Ironically Smart went electric-only in 2020 but found itself without stock just when German buyers wanted electric cars the most.

Best-Selling Car Models in Germany in 2020 (Q1-Q3)

The 20 most-registered new passenger vehicles by model in Germany during the first three quarters of 2020 according to the KBA were:

Car ModelQ1-3/2020Q1-3/2019
1VW GOLF101,023149,701
2VW TIGUAN45,73365,358
3VW PASSAT41,34842,927
4FORD FOCUS38,40646,577
6SKODA OCTAVIA36,40543,801
7VW T-ROC34,56846,847
8OPEL CORSA33,54640,558
9VW POLO32,20346,938
10BMW 3ER32,093
11MINI MINI31,686
13MERCEDES C-CLASS29,80249,131
15SEAT LEON27,919
16AUDI A4, S4, RS426,45641,494
18AUDI A6, S6, RS623,481
19AUDI A3, S3, RS323,205
20BMW 1 SERIES22,467
Source: KBA

Top-Ten Car Models in Germany

Despite small problems with delivering the Golf 8 earlier in the year, the VW Golf easily maintained its position as Germany (and Europe’s) best-selling car model during the first nine months of 2020. Volkswagen sold more than double as many Golfs as second-placed Tiguans.

The Tiguan is the top-selling Volkswagen model worldwide but in Germany was the second best-selling car model for the third consecutive year.

All other top-ten cars in Germany changed rank positions compared to a year ago. The Passat improved from eighth to third with sales almost on par with a year ago. The new Ford Focus improved two positions.

The Fiat Ducato is a new entrant. Sales of the best-selling mobile home ballooned ever since the first lockdowns were announced and many Germans clearly decided vacationing in their own, or rented, mobile home is a better option than booking a hotel or holiday home.

The Skoda Octavia improved one position while the VW T-Roc slipped two. The Opel Corsa improved from tenth to eighth and for the first time in years outsold the VW Polo, which slipped from fourth to its worst position in ages.

The BMW 3-Series reentered the top ten list at tenth.

Remarkably, there were no Mercedes-Benz or Audi models amongst the top-ten best-selling car models in Germany during the first three quarters of 2020. Both manufacturers had three cars each in the 10th to 20th positions. Last year’s third best-selling car model, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, slipped to 13th.

The best-selling electric car model in Germany was the Renault Zoe with 15,730 sold thus far this year — good enough for 43rd best-selling car model.