• 2011 European new car sales down 1.2% year on year
  • VW Golf Europe’s best-selling car for third consecutive year 
  • All Big Five markets, apart from Germany, end 2011 with sales down year on year

The Volkswagen Golf remained Europe’s best-selling car in 2011, despite a drop in sales of 1.6% in 2011 compared to 2010, analysts JATO Dynamics said. The VW Polo retained second place for December and for the year, with sales up 2.9% and 0.5% respectively, while Ford’s Fiesta held third place both in December and for the year.

The data issued by JATO is consistent with that released earlier this week by ACEA.

Highlights of the year:

  • Volkswagen increased its market share and finished 2011 as Europe’s best-selling brand 
  • Germany was the only Big Five market to experience growth in 2011 with sales increasing 8.8% 
  • Premium German brands weathered the storm with increased sales not only at home but also in Great Britain and France
  • The Ford Focus and the VW Passat also performed well in 2011, up 7.0% and 46.5% respectively 

The ongoing economic challenges in Europe affected sales in many southern European markets such as Greece, Portugal and Spain. The Baltic markets saw significant growth in 2011, with Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania up 65.8%, 72.5% and 66.0% respectively, JATO said.

Out of the top ten brands only the German brands Volkswagen, BMW, Audi and Mercedes ended 2011 with no decrease in sales. 

JATO research chief Gareth Hession said: “Germany is clearly leading Europe in terms of a market for new cars as well as manufacturing models which appeal to consumers across the region. This is even more impressive considering the challenges we saw in the overall European market during 2011.”

Three of the top 10 models experienced growth during 2011 compared to the previous year, notably VW's Passat which saw an increase in sales of 46.5% following the launch of the redesign earlier in the year.
There was also good news for models outside the top 10 including Peugeot’s new 508 which saw sales increase to almost three times those achieved by its predecessor, the 407, in 2010. Other models that recorded significant sales increases in 2011 include the Ford C-Max/Grand C-Max, Citroën C4, BMW X3 and Kia Sportage. 
Hession said: “The European new car market carries significant risks whilst it remains dependent upon a strong performance in Germany. 2012 is going to be a very important and challenging year especially for European-based and sales dependent manufacturers.”

Sales by market

Country

 

Dec_11

 

Dec_10

% Change Dec

 

Yr_11

 

Yr_10

% Change YtD

Austria

23,358

20,366

+14.7%

356,145

328,565

+8.4%

Belgium

48,763

29,243

+66.8%

572,211

547,347

+4.5%

Cyprus*

1,057

1,171

-9.7%

13,368

14,099

-5.2%

Czech Republic

15,019

15,129

-0.7%

173,282

169,139

+2.4%

Denmark

10,466

15,201

-31.1%

164,990

153,405

+7.6%

Estonia

1,135

764

+48.6%

17,070

10,295

+65.8%

Finland

6,892

6,191

+11.3%

126,041

111,961

+12.6%

France

187,817

228,316

-17.7%

2,204,229

2,251,669

-2.1%

Germany

244,501

230,371

+6.1%

3,173,634

2,916,260

+8.8%

Great Britain

119,188

123,817

-3.7%

1,941,253

2,030,846

-4.4%

Greece

5,535

3,675

+50.6%

97,528

140,691

-30.7%

Hungary

3,276

3,935

-16.7%

45,484

43,815

+3.8%

Iceland

263

225

+16.9%

5,034

3,106

+62.1%

Ireland

371

433

-14.3%

89,896

88,375

+1.7%

Italy

111,962

132,160

-15.3%

1,757,115

1,974,018

-11.0%

Latvia

1,060

804

+31.8%

10,980

6,365

+72.5%

Lithuania

1,033

857

+20.5%

13,234

7,970

+66.0%

Luxembourg

2,642

2,503

+5.6%

49,881

49,726

+0.3%

Norway

11,557

10,136

+14.0%

139,677

127,754

+9.3%

Poland

56,518

36,201

+56.1%

327,072

334,578

-2.2%

Portugal

11,258

28,118

-60.0%

153,491

223,456

-31.3%

Slovakia

6,601

7,754

-14.9%

68,263

66,058

+3.3%

Slovenia

3,280

3,399

-3.5%

58,417

59,226

-1.4%

Spain

66,233

69,435

-4.6%

808,131

985,537

-18.0%

Sweden

25,402

29,770

-14.7%

304,984

289,684

+5.3%

Switzerland

29,701

27,796

+6.9%

315,680

290,758

+8.6%

The Netherlands

17,369

11,393

+52.5%

556,089

482,543

+15.2%

Grand Total

1,012,257

1,039,163

-2.6%

13,543,179

13,707,246

-1.2%

* denotes estimated figures used for December 2011

Top 10 Brands

Make

Dec_11

Dec_10

% change Dec

Yr_11

Yr_10

% change YtD

VOLKSWAGEN

125,586

109,028

+15.2%

1,678,279

1,538,719

+9.1%

FORD

76,719

72,726

+5.5%

1,087,912

1,119,261

-2.8%

RENAULT

76,090

88,544

-14.1%

1,038,313

1,138,909

-8.8%

OPEL/VAUXHALL

74,092

87,193

-15.0%

985,322

1,000,377

-1.5%

PEUGEOT

60,332

77,737

-22.4%

909,340

1,003,409

-9.4%

CITROEN

52,894

60,521

-12.6%

770,175

836,763

-8.0%

BMW

51,800

51,850

-0.1%

640,318

608,912

+5.2%

TOYOTA

48,560

42,761

+13.6%

532,437

587,465

-9.4%

AUDI

47,960

46,523

+3.1%

679,690

623,633

+9.0%

MERCEDES

47,632

43,671

+9.1%

591,348

591,109

+0.0%

Top 10 Models

Make & Model

Dec_11

Dec_10

% change Dec

Yr_11

Yr_10

% change YtD

VOLKSWAGEN GOLF

33,849

33,591

+0.8%

484,547

492,238

-1.6%

VOLKSWAGEN POLO

26,315

25,581

+2.9%

356,490

354,640

+0.5%

FORD FIESTA

25,113

23,104

+8.7%

348,465

401,919

-13.3%

OPEL/VAUXHALL CORSA

24,275

28,208

-13.9%

313,325

318,900

-1.7%

OPEL/VAUXHALL ASTRA

21,302

22,509

-5.4%

287,249

290,936

-1.3%

RENAULT CLIO

20,219

26,830

-24.6%

294,172

338,583

-13.1%

FORD FOCUS

18,787

15,425

+21.8%

280,209

261,857

+7.0%

RENAULT MEGANE

17,838

18,246

-2.2%

239,329

260,932

-8.3%

VOLKSWAGEN PASSAT

17,011

9,306

+82.8%

233,330

159,264

+46.5%

PEUGEOT 207

16,681

23,524

-29.1%

242,385

305,461

-20.6%

All data from: JATO Dynamics

BELGIUM: EU car market down 6.4% in Dec (includes 2011 sales data)

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