Blog: Glenn BrooksHyundai outsells Toyota in Europe's biggest market

Glenn Brooks | 6 January 2012

In a market up 9% YoY in 2011, sales for Toyota Deutschland rose by only 5%. Hyundai, on the other hand, was up 17%, enough to push it past Toyota for the first time.

The German market is arguably the only major one in Europe that had a 'normal' 2011, with the usual big players realigning themselves into the positions they've held for decades. But there is one exception: a legacy of the scrappage boom of 2008 and 2009 was the surge of Skoda, and the Czech brand has been building loyalty amongst German buyers, taking seventh position in the market last year with an impressive 142,613 sales (related trivia that shows the wildly divergent preferences of Europeans: Skoda's Italian market regos were a mere 14,332 last year).

I mention the German market total for Skoda to illustrate how far down the pecking order Toyota remains in this, easily the largest country for new vehicle sales in Europe. Japan's number one finished 2011 with a total of 80,452 cars registered (versus 76,659 in 2010), while Hyundai managed to rise from 74,360 to an impressive 86,881.

The acclaimed new Yaris and a management reshuffle at Toyota Motor Europe signal that the company is serious about pushing back but it will have a hard task in Germany.

Hyundai Motor Europe has momentum and just keeps on showing what happens when you make sure every model is much better than the last one, with styling honed for the tastes of local buyers, with engines tuned ideally for a C02-based tax formula. TME would hate to hear it but it surely needs to study HME's winning ways or be left behind, especially as the Korean brand is already gaining ground in Poland and Turkey - two regional markets where by contrast to much of Western Europe, incomes and aspirations of large, young populations continue to rise.



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