The last time that the VW Golf was knocked off the top of the European best sellers table was when the new Golf IV came in too slowly to meet demand and the Fiat Punto sneaked ahead, mainly because the Italian market was going bananas at the time. This time around it is the Punto that will be struggling to meet demand as the new model garners healthy and encouraging reviews, but that doesn’t mean that the Golf is in the clear because suddenly the GM Opel/Vauxhall Astra has become a real threat. Opel may have lost its position as being Europe’s top selling marque, but it is showing that the matter isn’t entirely over and done with yet. Whilst the Golf is showing its pedigree with sales up 9.5% to 554,700 from 506,600 in the first nine months in Europe, Astra has boomed by 35.0% to 548,800 from 406,500 and the scene is being set for quite a battle.