In the first semester of 2021, Volkswagen was the best-selling car brand in Germany with BMW ahead of Mercedes-Benz. The VW Golf was the top-selling car model.
During the first half of 2021, VW easily maintained its position as Germany’s best-selling car brand by increasing sales by nearly a quarter to take a fifth of the total new car market. BMW outsold Mercedes-Benz to claim second place for the first time ever in the first semester of a calendar year. Battery-electric vehicle brands Smart and Tesla made the most gains. The Volkswagen Golf remained Germany’s favorite car model during the first semester of 2021 despite weaker sales.
German New Car Market in 2021 (Half Year)
New passenger vehicle registrations in Germany during the first semester of 2021 expanded by 14.9% to 1,390,889 cars compared to only 1,210,622 cars sold during the first half of 2020. During the first six months of 2019, the German new car market was a more substantial 1,849,000 cars.
Although car sales in Germany were mostly higher in 2021 compared to 2020, the market remained weak with sales each month lower than in the comparable month in 2019 before the Covid crisis. Although the German economy started to open up during the second quarter of 2021, some restrictions remained in place and enthusiasm for large purchases such as cars remained limited.
Car sales were also restricted by supply problems. All manufacturers had to some extend suffered from a lack of electronic components. Also, manufacturers remained unable to actually deliver especially battery-electric vehicles that customers were eager to purchase to take advantage of huge government incentives.
Best-Selling Car Brands in Germany in 2021 (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 June 2021:
|Brand||1-6/2021||Jan – Jun 2020||% 20/21|
Top-Selling Car Brands in Germany in 2021 (Half Year)
Volkswagen easily maintained its position as the largest car brand in Germany during the first half of 2021. VW outperformed the market and increased market share to 19.9%. Although Volkswagen was also struggling with production and delivery issues, its broad range ensured that it could cover all sections of the German new car market.
BMW sales were up by a fifth to snatch second place for the first time from Mercedes-Benz. Mercedes-Benz was one of only a handful of carmakers to sell fewer cars in Germany during the first semester of 2021 compared to the start of 2020. Audi also made only small gains but maintained its fourth place.
Opel was the most improved top 20 brand in Germany during the first six months of 2021 with sales up nearly 40%. Opel improved two rank positions with the small Corsa outselling the VW Polo consistently in recent months. Opel also benefited from its position in Stellantis, which gave it easy access to Peugeot’s electric car platforms.
Skoda maintained sixth position and its claim to be Germany’s favorite imported car brand with sales up 18%. Ford slipped two places with sales down 17%. Ford was the worst-performing top ten brand in Germany during the first half of 2021.
Seat, the fourth Volkswagen Group brand in the top ten, maintained eighth place with sales up by nearly a third. Renault maintained ninth place with sales up only by a tenth but sufficient to remain the best-selling not-VW-owned foreign brand in Germany.
Hyundai entered the top ten at the expense of Fiat that slipped to eleventh.
The most improved car brands in Germany during the first half-year of 2021 were all battery-electric vehicle brands: Smart (+360%), Tesla (+170%), and new entrant Polestar. The worst performers were Mitsubishi, Jaguar, Honda, and DS.
Best-Selling Car Models in Germany in 2021 (Half Year)
The 20 best-selling car models in Germany during the first semester of 2021 were as follows according to the KBA:
|Brand||Model||Jan-Jun 2021||Jan – Jun 2020|
|11||AUDI||A6, S6, RS6||18,840||14,264|
|12||AUDI||A3, S3, RS3||18,138||14,158|
|18||AUDI||A4, S4, RS4||15,834||17,519|
Despite a decline in its dominance, the Volkswagen Golf easily maintained its position as Germany’s best-selling car model during the first half of 2021. Golf sales in the first half of 2021 were lower than in 2020 and only around half of the 106,366 Golfs registered in the first semester of 2019. As no electric version of the current Golf is on offer, VW had to cover this segment of the market with other models.
The VW Tiguan was again the second most popular car in Germany in the first half of 2021 while the Passat moved up one rank position and the T-Roc four. The four most popular cars in Germany were thus all Volkswagen models and all cars that are not available in battery-electric versions.
The Opel Corsa moved up from 11th to fifth — more than one in five Corsas sold in Germany were battery-electric versions. The Corsa outsold the VW Polo that dropped from 7th to 16th and the Ford Fiesta that slumped from 14th to outside the top 30.
The Fiat Ducato, popular as a small delivery van and mobile home, slipped one position despite stronger sales. The Skoda Octavia remained the most popular imported passenger car.
The BMW 3 Series slipped two rank positions while the Mini, which is the best-selling car amongst private buyers in Germany, maintained its tenth position.
The star car was slightly embarrassingly for Volkswagen the VW Up. The Up seemed to receive little love in Germany from VW or the German car-buying public but in the first half of 2021 was the 9th best-selling car — in 2020 it failed to make the top 30. Two-thirds of Ups sold in Germany were battery-electric versions making it the best-selling electric car model in Germany in 2021 ahead of the new technology ID3 and ID4.
Further noticeable movements included the Ford Focus slipping out of the top 30 after being the third most popular car in the first half of 2020. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class that is being replaced mid-year, slipped from 10th to 26th.
The Tesla Model 3 at 24th, outsold the VW ID3 (27th) but the VW Up was the best-selling electric car in Germany during the first half of 2021.