Revealed: the European Union’s favourite car brands

Revealed: the European Union’s favourite car brands

Nearly 8 million new cars were registered across the EU in the first half of 2016. That’s an increase of 9.4% compared to the year before – with all major markets reporting growth. These include Italy (+19.2%), Spain (+12.5%) and France (+8.3%). UK new car registrations were up 3.2% in the first half of this year.

So what cars are Europeans buying? These are the 20 most popular car manufacturers across the EU.

 20: MINI

Percentage share: 1.3%

How glad is BMW that it retained the MINI brand when it sold Rover in 2000? With a MINI to suit all requirements, the firm accounted for 1.3% of all new car registrations across the EU in the first six months of 2016.

19: Mazda

Percentage share: 1.5%

Europe seems to be a fairly patriotic continent, which might explain why Japanese car brands only just edge into the top 20. Mazda, maker of the 2016 World Car of the Year (the MX-5), accounted for 1.5% of new registrations across Europe in the first half of 2016. That’s the same as Jaguar and Land Rover combined.

18: Volvo

18: Volvo

Percentage share: 1.8%

The new XC90 is deservedly selling well for Volvo, meaning the manufacturer’s total sales were up 11.4% in the first half of the year compared to the same period in 2015. How will it fare when the S90 and V90 go on sale?

17: SEAT

Percentage share: 2.3%

Accounting for 2.3% of new car registrations across Europe, SEAT is by far the least successful mainstream VW Group brand. Numbers dropped by 1.6% in the first half of this year.

16: Dacia

Percentage share: 2.8%

Renault seems to have struck gold with its budget brand, Dacia. Affordable models such as the Sandero are popular in Europe, with the firm accounting for 2.8% of all new car registrations across the EU in the first half of 2016.

15: Kia

15: Kia

Percentage share: 2.9%

Kia’s recent boom in popularity is showing no sign of waning – with registrations across the EU up 14.7% in the first half of 2016.

14: Hyundai

Percentage share: 3.2%

It’s no surprise to see sister company Hyundai narrowly ahead of Kia. It’s growing, too, with new car sales up 10.2%.

13: Nissan

Percentage share: 3.7%

Considering the amount of Nissan Qashqais on our roads, it’s perhaps surprising to see Nissan fall short of the top 10 across Europe. Registrations were down 1.2% in the first half of 2016.

12: Toyota

12: Toyota

Percentage share: 3.8%

Japanese rival Toyota sold around 10,000 more cars than Nissan across the EU in the first half of 2016, giving it an extra 0.1% share of new car registrations. Premium brand Lexus accounts for a further 0.3%.

11: Citroen

Percentage share: 3.9%

Considering it’s given away the popular DS3 to new upmarket offshoot DS, Citroen is continuing to do well in Europe – accounting for 3.9% of all registrations so far in 2016. DS accounts for 0.5%.

10: Skoda

Percentage share: 4.3%

We’re into the top 10 now, and the second VW Group brand to feature in the top 20. Modern Skodas are generally so good they act as competition to mainstream Volkswagen.

=8: Mercedes

=8: Mercedes

Percentage share: 5.2%

Considering the popularity of so-called premium brands, it’s no surprise to see Mercedes-Benz take eighth place across Europe. But it’s a shared eighth place…

=8: BMW

Percentage share: 5.2%

…with equally popular BMW. The rival German companies each accounted for 5.2% of new car sales across the EU in the first half of 2016. Mercedes sold 409,463 cars – 1,394 more than BMW.

7: Fiat

Percentage share: 5.3%

Fiats aren’t particularly popular in the UK, but they sell in huge numbers in their native Italy – no doubt contributing to a seventh-place finish here.

6: Audi

6: Audi

Percentage share: 5.5%

Audi was quite a niche premium brand not that long ago, but it’s now massively successful – as anyone who’s travelled along European motorways will attest. It sold more cars than BMW and Mercedes-Benz in the first six months of 2016, even in the wake of Dieselgate.

5: Peugeot

Percentage share: 6.0%

Peugeot is another manufacturer that does particularly well in its home market, contributing to a fifth-place finish in the top-selling car brands across the EU.

4: Opel/Vauxhall

Percentage share: 6.8%

The new Astra was named the 2016 European Car of the Year, so it’s no surprise that it (and other Opel/Vauxhall models) are selling well across the EU. Accounting for 6.8% of new car registrations, Opel/Vauxhall takes fourth place.

3: Renault

3: Renault

Percentage share: 7.5%

Renault’s range was culled in the UK in 2011, but it sells huge numbers elsewhere in Europe. Enough, in fact, to make it the third biggest car manufacturer across the EU.

2: Ford

Percentage share: 7.1%

Ford is the biggest selling manufacturer in the UK – with the Fiesta alone selling more than some brands in their entirety. No surprise to see it selling well across the EU… but it’s not number one.

1: Volkswagen

Percentage share: 11.2%

Yes, even in the wake of the emissions scandal, Volkswagen is holding onto its title as Europe’s favourite car manufacturer. Its cars accounted for 11.2% for all registrations in the first half of 2016. It sold 875,380 cars in that time – 0.8% more than in the same period in 2015.

Web editor at Drives a 1983 Austin Metro. Tweet me @MR_AndrewBrady.

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