The car industry in 2017 has been tumultuous, especially in Europe.
Despite the uncertainty, though, registrations across the continent are up by 5.2% and, unsurprisingly, SUVs have gained a record market share of 31.9%.
SUVs will grow even further next year, according to analysts LMC Automotive, to account for at least 32.0%. They’re the fastest-growing segment, behind only the much-smaller-volume F-segment (luxury saloon) market.
Across Europe, smaller-volume segments all grew, while the largest-volume B and C-segments, as well as MPVs and D-segment saloon and estate cars, all shrunk. Luxury, executive and sports cars all grew, as did the city car segment.
Market analyst JATO Dynamics has compiled figures from across Europe for individual models, and the best-sellers are in.
The best-selling cars in Europe 2017
10 – Opel/Vauxhall Astra – 204,742 units
Rounding off the European top ten is the Astra, which has found its place on almost 205,000 driveways across 2017 so far despite an 11.4% drop in sales across the year. It’s recently dropped to sixth place in the UK, its lowest in recent years, having been overtaken by the Volkswagen Polo.
9 – Skoda Octavia – 214,329 units
You’d think that being the best-seller in Croatia, Czechia, Estonia, Finland, Poland and Switzerland would put the Octavia higher, but it rests at ninth overall this year. Sales grew by 2.5% compared with last November, though, and the mid-sized Skoda was fifth overall in November 2017 in a segment which has shrunk by almost 1% compared with last November.
8 – Volkswagen Tiguan – 218,238 units
Volkswagen’s grip on the European car market tightens with the Tiguan, which was one of the biggest-growing cars in November 2017 compared with the same month last year – sales are up by over a third. The Peugeot 3008 was stronger still, with sales almost doubling over November 2016, although it’s still 65,000 sales down on the Tiguan across the year.
7 – Opel/Vauxhall Corsa – 221,497 units
It’s tight in the supermini segment, as the Corsa slips in behind the 208 with less than 4000 fewer sales across the year. The supermini segment is also one in decline, although only by 0.3% year-on-year. Indeed, it’s still the second-largest segment in the industry, with precisely one in five cars sold in Europe being a supermini.
6 – Peugeot 208 – 225,198 units
Denmark’s best-seller and France and Portugal’s second-best-seller takes sixth overall, despite a small sales dip of 2.4% across 2017. It actually outsold the Fiesta in Europe last month, although it was almost 5000 registrations behind the Renault Clio across the month and 73,000 across the year. Peugeot was the fourth-largest-selling European car brand.
5 – Nissan Qashqai – 230,860 units
Nipping at the heels of the Ford Fiesta and proving the popularity of SUVs is the Nissan Qashqai. It’s the most popular car in Latvia, third place in Denmark, Finland and Ireland and fourth in the UK. Registrations have grown by 7.0%; in fact, the SUV segment is the only segment in the top ten to have shown consistent growth.
4 – Ford Fiesta – 237,770 units
Ah, the Fiesta – the UK’s best-selling car by a long shot for almost a decade and Europe’s most popular Ford. It’s another which is battling falling sales, with a 14% shrinkage over 2016, but the introduction of a new model in September is partly to blame for this.
3 – Volkswagen Polo – 255,370 units
This for a model that will imminently be replaced. The new Polo has been revealed and should bring a spike in sales in January, with its new Golf-like look and increased size. In spite of its position as Europe’s third best-seller, the Polo isn’t the best-seller in any European country, and sales have shrunk by 10.4% compared with 2016.
2 – Renault Clio – 298,990 units
Best-seller status in France, the Netherlands and Portugal, plus a sales boost of 5.9% over 2016, helped the Clio take second place across Europe, with just shy of 300,000 having found homes between January and December 2017. It’s some way off the Golf, but it definitely contributed to Renault’s place as the second-largest European car brand.
1 – Volkswagen Golf – 445,206 units
Well, no surprises here – the Golf takes the crown once again. There’s little wonder why: it’s the best-selling car in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and Norway and is among the most popular in many more. People’s car indeed, although European sales have shrunk by 2% year-on-year.