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Difficult year for new car sales in Europe, down 8% on 2011 to 12,573,842 registrations. The VW Golf manages to keep the pole position for the 5th year in a row but loses more ground than the market at -11% to 431,742 sales. This is potentially the Golf’s second weakest ever annual sales total in Europe after the 416,507 units it sold in 2006 when it ranked #4. The Golf ranked #1 each month in 2012 and peaked at 52,933 sales in March. It has now been #1 in Europe for 33 consecutive months (no interruption since March 2010), for 55 of the last 57 months and for 27 of the last 31 years.
All models bar one in the Top 10 fall faster than the market: the Ford Fiesta reclaims the 2nd spot it last held in 2010 with 306,405 sales, down 12%, while the VW Polo is down one rank to #3 at 287,828 units, down 20%. Boosted by the arrival of the 4th generation, the Renault Clio manages to climb back onto the podium in November and December but finishes the year at #5 like in 2011, down 17% and below the Opel Corsa down 18%. The Ford Focus (-15%) and Opel Astra (-20%) exchange positions.
But the biggest event in the 2012 European Top 10 is the entrance of the Nissan Qashqai, up 4 spots and down just 0.3% year-on-year to rank #8 with 207,885 sales. To my knowledge this is the first time ever a Japanese model manages to break into the European year-end Top 10! Before 2012, the Qashqai had only broken into the monthly Top 10 twice, in July 2010 and September 2011. It managed that feat 7 times this year, peaking at a record #7 in March and July.
3 models made their very first appearance in the monthly European Top 10 this year: the Skoda Octavia did so in January, the Toyota Yaris in March and repeated the performance in September, and the Peugeot 208 shot up directly to #5 in July, climbed onto the podium in August and hit a best-ever #2 in December. The Audi A4 for its part reappeared in the Top 10 in August and for the first time since January 2009 while the BMW 3 Series climbed into the Top 10 3 times this year: in April, June and December when it reached #8, its highest ranking since September 2007.
Previous post: Europe December 2012: Peugeot 208 up to #2
Full Year 2012 and every monthly Top 10 models and brands Ranking Tables below.