* See the Top 50 best-selling brands and models by clicking on the title *
Despite the disruption caused by the Brexit vote, the European new car marks a third consecutive year of gains in 2016 at +6.5% to 15.141.326 registrations, the highest annual volume on the continent since 2007. Like in 2015, 27 of the 29 markets covered post a year-on-year increase, the two exceptions being the Netherlands (-14.9%) and Switzerland (-2.1%). The big 5 markets are all in positive: Germany (+4.5%) is at its strongest since 2009, the UK (+2.3%) posts a second all-time record in a row, France (+5%) at its highest since 2011, Italy (+16.1%) at its highest since 2010 and Spain (+10.8%) at its highest since 2008. Best performing countries are Hungary (+24.9%), Croatia (+23.4%), Cyprus (+20.4%), Latvia (+18.8%) and Lithuania (+18.8%). The most striking mega-trend in Europe is the ever-growing success of the SUV segment with sales up by a gigantic 21.4% to 3.880.618 units and 25.6% market share whereas subcompacts, once ultra-dominant on the continent, are up just 2.7% to 3.213.813 sales and see their market share thaw to 21.2%.
Group-wise, the Volkswagen Group defied forecasts in the midst of its emissions scandal with sales up 3.3% to 24% market share vs. 24.8% a year ago. It is followed by Renault-Nissan at 13.8%, PSA Peugeot-Citroen at 9.74%, Ford at 6.98%, BMW Group at 6.81%, FCA at 6.57%, General Motors at 6.56%, Daimler at 6.285, Hyundai-Kia at 6.29% and Toyota at 4.26%. In the brands ranking, Volkswagen is down 0.7% and the only carmaker in the Top 10 in negative to lose almost one percentage point of market share at 11.3% while Renault (+13.5%) overtakes Ford (+1.8%) to snap the 2nd place with 1.1 million registrations. Opel (+6.1%) and Peugeot (+1.6%) round out the Top 5 like last year.
Big change this year in the luxury ranking: thanks to sales shooting up 14.2% to 845.178, Mercedes historically overtakes both Audi up “just” 8.8% to 830.364 and BMW up 10.2% to 820.505 to take the lead. It is the first time since 2010 that Audi isn’t the #1 premium brand in Europe. Fiat (+12.4%) and Skoda (+9.5%) close out the Top 10 but both outpace the market. Kia (+13.2%), Dacia (+11.3%), Mazda (+12.6%) and Mini (+15.3%) also post double-digit gains inside the Top 20. Among smaller-volume brands, the SUV boom shows: Land Rover (+18.8%), Jeep (+19.8%), Honda (+21.8%) thanks to the HR-V, Ssangyong (+35%) thanks to the Tivoli, Bentley (+38.9%) thanks to the Bentayga, Jaguar (+70.1%) thanks to the F-Pace and XE and Infiniti (+151.9%) thanks to the Q30 and QX30 post the largest increases in the Top 50. Abarth (+41.5%) and Lada (+109.7%) are the exceptions.
There are no surprises atop the European models ranking: the VW Golf is #1 the 9th year in a row and the 29th time in the past 34 years starting in 1983, and extending a stretch of 81 consecutive months in the European pole position – that’s almost seven years: : the last time it did not rank #1 in Europe was in March 2010 when the Ford Fiesta led the way. The Golf has now held the #1 spot during 98 out of the past 100 months. However it drops a heavy 7.3% – the largest decline in the Top 10 – to fall below 500.000 units. The Renault Clio (+4%) gains one spot on 2015 to climb to 2nd place overall, its highest ever ranking in Europe, also hit in 2006, as does the VW Polo (+3.3%). Both superminis overtake the Ford Fiesta (-4%) as the Opel Corsa (-1.3%) remains 5th.
Boosted by the new generation, the Opel Astra soars 31% to snap a last-minute 6th place off the Peugeot 208 (+8.8%), its first annual Top 10 ranking since 2013 and its highest year-end position since 2011. The Nissan Qashqai is down one spot to #8 but remains the best-selling SUV on the continent while the Skoda Octavia is back up 2 spots to #9, its highest annual European ranking also hit in 2014. Rare feat: we have a newcomer in the year-end Top 10 in Europe: the Renault Captur, up a very impressive 11.5% to snap the 10th spot overall with 217.105 sales, knocking the Ford Focus out. The Captur peaked at #6 in December. Notice also the VW Tiguan uo 21.8% to #18 but inside the Top 10 from August onwards. The battle for the title of #1 SUV in Europe will be tight in 2017 between the Qashqai, Captur and Tiguan. BSCB predicts the Tiguan will win.
Previous year (prel): Europe Full Year 2015: Market up a snappy 9% to 14.2 million units
Previous year (final): Europe Full Year 2015: Discover the Top 355 models and All-brands
Two years ago (prel): Europe Full Year 2014: Sales up for the first time in 7 years
Two years ago (final): Europe Full Year 2014: Discover the Top 360 All-models and All-brands
Full Year 2016 Top 50 brands and models vs. Full Year 2015 figures below.