2021 (Full Year) Germany: Best-Selling Car Brands

In 2021, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Audi were again the best-selling car brands in Germany. Opel gained market share while Ford sales plummeted.

In 2021, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Audi were again the best-selling car brands in Germany. Opel gained market share while Ford sales plummeted.
© BMW AG

In full-year 2021, Volkswagen easily maintained its traditional position as the best-selling car brand in Germany and increased market share. Mercedes-Benz was again the second largest car brand in Germany despite selling over a quarter fewer cars than in 2020. BMW was a close third followed by Audi. Opel was the best-performing top ten car brand in Germany in 2021 while Ford was the worst-performing major brand. Skoda was the top foreign brand while electric car brands Polestar, Tesla, and Smart made the strongest gains. The VW Golf remained Germany’s favorite car model in 2021 while the Tesla Model 3 was the top-selling electric car model.

New passenger vehicle registrations in Germany decreased by 10.1% to 2,622.132 cars in 2021 — see German Car Market Overview 2021 for more market analysis.

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

Best-Selling Car Brands in Germany in 2021 (Full Year)

The following were the 35 top-selling car marques in Germany in the full calendar year 2021 according to passenger vehicle registration data released by the KBA:

BrandFY2021FY2020% 20/21
German Car Market2,622,1322,917,678-10.1
1VW489,962525,612-6.8
2Mercedes225,392303,185-25.7
3BMW222,481240,968-7.7
4Audi181,877213,934-15.0
5Opel161,852146,21910.7
6Skoda149,838181,198-17.3
7Ford126,358194,250-35.0
8Seat108,726114,564-5.1
9Hyundai106,620105,0511.5
10Renault105,944125,318-15.5
11Fiat82,78389,150-7.1
12Toyota71,89077,176-6.8
13Kia65,83964,2962.4
14Peugeot52,66055,401-4.9
15Volvo43,61647,194-7.6
16Mini42,93844,152-2.7
17Citroen42,63648,950-12.9
18Dacia40,33850,704-20.4
19Tesla39,71416,694137.9
20Mazda38,10744,346-14.1
21Mitsubishi36,93944,985-17.9
22Porsche28,92526,3199.9
23Suzuki27,36622,41522.1
24Nissan26,25434,765-24.5
25Smart24,02316,05149.7
26Jeep13,50315,687-13.9
27Land Rover11,65712,984-10.2
28Honda7,90611,696-32.4
29Subaru4,6715,407-13.6
30Jaguar4,2676,993-39.0
31Lexus3,1163,530-11.7
32Alfa Romeo2,9913,246-7.9
33Polestar2,631153.2
34DS2,0692,773-25.4
35Ssangyong1,5461,715-9.9
Source: KBA

Top-Selling Car Brands in Germany in 2021 (Full Year)

Supply chain blockages, especially a global shortage in semiconductors (computer chips), heavily influenced world new car markets in 2021 and Germany was no exception. Demand for almost all cars and brands outstripped supply with waiting lists for many models stretching to many months and even years. For carmakers, this provided an opportunity to cull low-profit models and to focus production on lower emission models to prevent EU fines. Car production in Germany in 2021 was at its lowest level since 1975 and in Wolfsburg, fewer cars were made in 2021 than in any year in the past seven decades.

The rank order of best-selling brands in Germany in 2021 thus is more a reflection of which carmakers could manage to deliver vehicles rather than a reflection of the actual popularity of the various brands. Discounts disappeared with low stock levels and many manufacturers have full order books meaning registrations could increase rapidly if supply chains could return closer to normal.

Top Ten Car Brands in Germany in 2021 (Full Year)

Volkswagen, despite massive production problems, easily remained the largest carmaker in Germany with the brand even gaining market share to supply 18.7% of all new cars registered for the first time in Germany in 2021. Computer chip shortages hit production of the Golf and Tiguan hard while battery-electric vehicle production remained below previous high expectations. Volkswagen was also Germany’s top electric car brand with just over a fifth of all battery-electric car sales.

Mercedes-Benz only narrowly remained the second largest car brand in Germany in 2021, as sales were down by a quarter — of the larger brands only Ford performed worse. BMW gained market share and missed out on second place by fewer than 3,000 cars. BMW initially seemed to cope better with supply issues but towards the end of the year also struggled to build some models. Audi sales were down by 15%.

Opel was the best performer of the top ten brands in Germany in 2021. Sales volume increased by almost 11% for more than a percentage point market share gain. Opel improved from seventh to fifth at the expense of Ford that had another dismal year in Germany. Ford sales were down by 35% — by far the worst-performing major brand in Germany in 2021. As recently as 2019, Ford was the third-largest car brand in Germany with sales of 280,000 units.

VW-owned Skoda remained the top foreign brand in Germany in 2021 despite losing market share. It was followed by VW-owned Seat and Hyundai that both gained a rank position at the expense of Renault that slipped from eighth to tenth. Hyundai replaced Renault as the top import brand for a marque without a German ownership or production link.

The most-improved brands in Germany in 2021 were all electric-only carmakers: Polestar, Tesla, and Smart. The worst-performing car brands were Jaguar, Ford, and Honda that all lost around a third in sales.

The VW Golf remained Germany’s favorite car model in 2021 despite a few hiccups while the Tesla Model 3 was the top-selling electric 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