Data released by JATO shows that Volkswagen remains Europe's best-selling brand this year, with the Golf remaining the top-selling model.

JATO says that whilst the Polo is a regular Top 10 performer, VW's success is primarily driven by the Golf, whose sales so far this year (to the end of October) in Germany (249,150) represent 18% of Volkswagen's total European sales (1,386,694 units).  

Sales of the VW Golf were up 45% on last year for October (23% gain so far this year).  Ford Fiesta remains second, up 61.7% in October, although now almost 90,000 units behind the leader in cumulative sales.
Fiat continues to perform well and is the only other Top 10 manufacturer with positive growth in cumulative sales this year.

Renault's facelifted Clio and new Mégane have catapulted the French brand into second place in October, although it is Volkswagen, Ford and Fiat that claim the only cumulative sales improvements in the top 10.

The JATO data confirmed market totals released earlier in the month by other organisations. Europe, it says, is rapidly dividing in new car sales, with traditional Eastern European markets suffering significant contractions, while Western neighbours seem relatively buoyant. 

However, with the 'big 5' European markets all posting growth in October, it is becoming increasingly clear how incentives such as scrappage schemes have driven sales in the short term.

David Di Girolamo, Head of JATO Consult, remains concerned over the sustainability of these performances:  "A cursory glance at this data would suggest we are moving into a recovery phase in the bigger markets, but a closer look at the figures shows this is not necessarily a natural level of demand and we are still below the pre-recession sales level," he says.

"This is not necessarily good news," warns Di Girolamo. "You can look at Eastern Europe - with VAT increases, finance restrictions and lack of government incentives - as the natural level of demand.  The worry for major Western markets must now be that their incentives last until 'true' demand catches up and they do not fall back to performances reflected elsewhere."

See also:
EUROPE: W. Europe car sales up 16.5% in October [includes audio]