Home > Europe > Europe: 1972-2013 More detailed Historical Data now available!

Europe: 1972-2013 More detailed Historical Data now available!

Fiat 127 Europe 1977The Fiat 127 was the European best-seller from 1973 to 1978.

* The direct links to 46 Historical Data articles are below! *

FURTHER UPDATE - Thanks to the great work of Chris and Flavio, today I am able to add no less than 11 years of data for Europe, bringing the cover of the continent on BestSellingCarsBlog to the last 40 years. There is now a podium ranking available all the way up to 1972! We learn that 1972 was the last year of reign for the VW Beetle before the Fiat 127 took the relay in 1973 when Fiat even managed to place two models atop the ranking with the 128 at #2!

Renault 5 Europe 1979I estimate the Renault 5 to have been #1 in Europe from 1979 to 1982.

The 127 would top the European sales charts for 6 consecutive years before being toppled by the Renault 5 in 1979. The French mini in all likeliness remained #1 until the VW Golf took charge in 1983 after making a first appearance on the European podium as early as 1976… The Ford Escort (in 1975) and Taunus (in 1977) both peaked at an outstanding 2nd place.

The VW Golf was the best-selling model in Europe during 25 of the last 30 years.

From 1983 onwards (exactly 30 years), the VW Golf went on to be the best selling model on the continent for no less than 25 years, with only four other models holding the pole position at year-end: the Fiat Punto in 1997Peugeot 206 in 2003Opel Astra in 2005 and 2006 and Peugeot 207 in 2007.

Launched in 1991, the Opel Astra had to wait for its 3rd generation to be #1 in Europe in 2005

If you go into the monthly detail, then a few more cars managed to lead the European market for that amount of time: the Renault Megane, Ford Fiesta, Ford Focus, Renault Clio and Opel Corsa all ranked #1 at some stage over the last 20 years.

Peugeot is the only carmaker to place 2 models at #1 in Europe in the last 10 years: the 206 (2003) and 207 (2007).

Thanks to Florian and STAC I have updated most of my European Historical Data articles with a lot more detail. From 1992 to 1996 there is at least a Top 30 models ranking available (used to be Top 10 only) and from 1999 onwards you can check out the sales of every single model sold in Europe for each year! There is also every Monthly Top 10 from 1996 to 1999 and from July 2005 onwards, so you can see the complete evolution of the market over the years.

At this stage I do not have any detailed ranking for 1980-1988 I just know the VW Golf was in the pole position from 1983 onwards. And before 1972 I have nothing at all, so if you happen to have access to more European models sales data, please make sure to get in touch by commenting on this post!

Europe Historical Data

Europe 1972: VW Beetle and two Fiats on top

Europe 1973: Fiat monopolises Top 2 spots with 127 and 128!

Europe 1974: Fiat 127 at highest, Renault 5 up to #2

Europe 1975: Fiat 127 and Ford Escort on top

Europe 1976: Fiat 127 leads, VW Golf on podium for the first time

Europe 1977: Fiat 127 and Ford Taunus dominate

Europe 1978: VW Golf threatens Fiat 127 for top spot!

Europe 1979: Renault 5 new best-seller

Europe 1980-1982: Renault 5 most probable leader

Europe 1983-1987: Second generation VW Golf takes the lead

Europe 1984: VW Golf ahead of Ford Escort and Fiat Uno

Europe 1988: VW Golf and Fiat Uno on top

Europe 1989: VW Golf and Opel Kadett dominate

Europe 1990: VW Golf, Opel Kadett and Fiat Uno on podium

Europe 1991: VW Golf leads, Ford Fiesta and Renault Clio follow

Europe 1992: New gen VW Golf and Opel Astra on top

Europe 1993-1994: VW Golf stays on top, Opel Astra #2

Europe 1995: Fiat Punto interrupts 154 months of VW Golf domination

Europe 1996: VW Golf resists Fiat Punto assault

Europe 1997: Fiat Punto crowned for the first time

Europe 1998: VW Golf, Renault Megane and Fiat Punto lead

Europe 1999: Opel Astra a serious threat to VW Golf

Europe 2000: VW Golf and Fiat Punto in the lead

Europe 2001: VW Golf, Peugeot 206 and Fiat Punto on podium

Europe 2002: VW Golf only 500 units above the Peugeot 206

Europe 2003: Peugeot 206 most popular, VW Golf down to #2

Europe 2004: VW Golf, Peugeot 206 and 307 on podium

Europe 2005: VW Golf keeps Opel Astra at bay, or does it?

Europe 2006: Opel Astra triumphs, Ford Focus and Renault Clio close behind

Europe 2007: Peugeot 207 edges VW Golf out

Europe 2008: VW Golf defies the GFC

Europe 2009: VW Golf and Ford Fiesta dominate

Europe 2010: VW Golf leader ahead of Ford Fiesta and VW Polo

Europe 2010: Top 371 All models ranking now available!

Europe 2011: VW Polo up to second spot for the first time

Europe 2011: Top 318 All models ranking now available!

Europe 2012: Nissan Qashqai in Top 10 for the first time

Europe 2012: Top 350 All-models and Top 60 All-brands ranking now available

Europe 2013: VW Golf leads, Renault Clio on podium for the first time in 7 years

Europe Light Commercial Vehicles Historical Data

Europe Light Commercial Vehicles 2004-2005: Ford Transit reigns

Central & Eastern Europe Historical Data

Central Europe 2002-2003: Skoda Fabia above 100,000 sales

Central Europe 2004: Skoda Fabia, Octavia and Peugeot 206 on podium

Central & Eastern Europe 2005-2007: Dacia Logan reigns

Central & Eastern Europe 2008: Dacia Logan resists Skoda assault

Central & Eastern Europe 2009: Skoda Octavia new favourite

Central and Eastern Europe 2010: Skoda Octavia strengthens lead


Categories: Europe
  1. March 10th, 2014 at 22:08 | #1

    Fantastic job on historical data on Europe.

  2. December 23rd, 2013 at 04:04 | #2

    The Ford Focus was and still beeing a huge success

  3. burkinois
    December 20th, 2013 at 20:26 | #3

    Faut payer pour lire, quelle honte

    • matgasnier
      December 21st, 2013 at 16:48 | #4

      Cher Burkinois,
      Je dois dire que je suis particulièrement decu par ton commentaire. D’après ta logique, c’est aussi une honte de payer pour acheter des journaux et magazines?
      Bon courage.

  4. Didier
    November 1st, 2013 at 06:54 | #5

    Merci Matt, excellent travail qui permet d’avoir une vision globale du marché et de ses évolutions.
    Pour info, BFM a annoncé aujourd’hui que PSA aurait fait un très bon mois d’octobre et que ses deux marques ont des ventes en croissance par rapport à 2012. Les chiffres définitifs seront communiqués le 4 novembre. On attend de voir le tableau sur BSCB avec impatience!
    La raison évoquée tient aux nouveaux modèles qui marchent bien :2008, 308 et C4 Picasso.

    A bientôt de lire les nouveaux articles sur le blog!

  5. STAC
    November 1st, 2013 at 03:22 | #6

    matgasnier :
    Hello STAC,
    Ca va me prendre beaucoup de temps avant d’étudier tous les chiffres du CCFA.. Donc en attendant c’est une première mise a jour.

    Ah ok! Je comprends maintenant :)
    Bon courage!!!
    à bientôt

  6. STAC
    November 1st, 2013 at 00:02 | #7


    Je pensais que tu avais tous les statistiques que CCFA t’avais donné … ?!
    Si tu ne les as pas, dis moi.
    à bientôt

    • matgasnier
      November 1st, 2013 at 01:59 | #8

      Hello STAC,
      Ca va me prendre beaucoup de temps avant d’étudier tous les chiffres du CCFA.. Donc en attendant c’est une première mise a jour.

  7. Flavio
    October 31st, 2013 at 23:26 | #9

    Great job Matt! :D

    • matgasnier
      November 1st, 2013 at 02:09 | #10

      All thanks to you Flavio :)

  8. Flavio
    October 29th, 2013 at 02:05 | #11

    I saw it on the internet, I’ll try to find more information or the brochure itself but it was some time ago…if I can get more informations I promise I’ll tell you! ;) anyway the fact that the 127 was bestseller is very likely, but sadly I don’t have reliable data or sources about that..

  9. Flavio
    October 29th, 2013 at 00:07 | #12

    I remember reading that also the Fiat 127 was European best seller for some of the ’70s, maybe on an old advertising or brochure by Fiat.

    • matgasnier
      October 29th, 2013 at 01:47 | #13

      That would indeed be a fascinating fact if you could find that brochure Flavio. I would love to see it!

  10. Steam
    June 11th, 2012 at 06:15 | #14

    Matt rocks!

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