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This year European car sales were dominated by an unassailable duo: the VW Golf, boosted by the launch of its 6th generation, and the Ford Fiesta, also completely revamped in late 2008. These two models monopolised the top 2 spots all throughout the year.
The VW Golf is the best selling car in Europe for the 22nd year out of the last 27, with sales above the 500,000 mark for the first time since 2004. It lodges its best figure in 7 years at 571,441 sales, up a massive 24% on 2008. The Golf was #1 every single month this year except in March, and peaked at 59,629 units in June.
The Ford Fiesta relaunch is a total success: the model ranks #2 in Europe for only the second time ever (after 1991) in the 33 year-long life of the nameplate. Its sales figure is up 44% year-on-year at 472,229 units, and it was the first car in 2 years to pass the 50,000 monthly sales mark when it clocked in 52,805 units in March, topping the market and interrupting 11 consecutive months of Golf leadership.
Below these two powerhouses, the Peugeot 207 rounds up the podium with sales down 10% at 367,549 units, above the Opel Corsa (-2%) and a Fiat Punto reinvigorated by scrappage schemes (+ 3 spots and 16%). The Fiat Panda delivers its best ever European year in 8th place with 298,936 sales (+34%) and peaked at #5 in February, its best-ever position in Europe, 7 years after the launch of the current model.
The Peugeot 308 makes what would end up being its only two appearances in the European Top 10 in June and July and finishes 2008 at #12, a far cry from the 307′s career. The Skoda Fabia makes August its favorite month when it reaches a best-ever #8, it ranks at a best-ever #13 at year-end. Thanks to the new generation, the Renault Megane reappears in the Top 10 in September for the first time since June 2006 and finishes the year at #11, up 14 spots and 41% on 2008.
Other great performers this year include the Fiat 500 up 5 spots to #17, the Nissan Qashqai continuing its impressive progression up 10 ranks to #19, the Renault Twingo up 9 to #23, the Opel Insignia up to #28, Dacia Sandero up to #31, Hyundai i10 up to #36, Ford Ka up to #39, VW Golf Plus up 12 to #40 and VW Tiguan up 7 to #41.
Previous year: Europe 2008: VW Golf defies the GFC
Next year: Europe 2010: VW Golf leader ahead of Fiesta and Polo
Full Year 2009 Top 100, every Monthly Top 10 Ranking Tables and every model sales below.