UK 1999: Ford Focus takes the lead, Vauxhall Astra on podium

Ford Focus

* See the Top 25 best-selling models by clicking on the title! Many thanks to Florian *

The UK market is down 2.2% at 2.2 million registrations this year. For its first full year of sales, the Ford Focus doesn’t waste time and take control of England with 103,228 units sold and 4.7% share. The Ford Fiesta drops one spot to #2 and 99,830 sales while the Vauxhall Astra takes advantage of its new generation to gain 3 spots and jump on the podium for the first time in the 20 year-life of the nameplate in the country at 92,050 units, up 13%.

Vauxhall Astra

The Vauxhall Corsa is also up 3 spots to a best-ever 4th position with 86,779 sales, above the Vauxhall Vectra (-16%) and Ford Mondeo (-23%). The Renault Clio reclaims the title of UK’s best-selling foreign model after 3 years in 2nd place at #7 and 63,991 units. Massive event this year: the VW Golf breaks into the annual British Top 10 for the first time in the 23 year life of the nameplate at #8 with 63,715 sales, up 50% on 1998.

VW Golf

The Peugeot 206 also breaks into the Top 10 at #9 and 58,788 sales for its first full year while the 306 drops 24% to #10. For the third year in the history of the nameplate, the Nissan Micra ranks #11 in the UK and still hasn’t managed to break into the Top 10… Other great performers this year include the BMW 3 Series up 27% on ’98 to reach a best-ever 12th place, the Citroen Saxo up to #14, the Ford Ka up to #16 and the Rover 75 up to #24.

Full 1999 Top 25 Ranking Table below.

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Hungary 1998-1999: Suzuki Swift & Opel Astra kings of the road

Suzuki Swift

* See the Top 15/20 best-selling models by clicking on the title! Many thanks to Florian *

The Hungarian car market is very dynamic over the period, going from 103,900 registrations in 1998 to 129,100 in 1999 (+24%). The Suzuki Swift, built in the country, is by far the best-selling car in the country with an enormous 22.9% share in 98 thanks to 23,788 sales, improving to 23.5% and 30,335 units in 99… The Opel Astra/Zafira is also extremely strong at 12.5% in 98 and 11.7% in 99.

At much more modest levels, the Ford Escort/Focus rounds up the podium in both years at 4.6% then 4.2% share, followed by the VW Polo (4.2%) and Fiat Bravo/a/Marea (3.4%) in 98, then the VW Golf/Bora/Vento (3.8%) and Skoda Felicia (3.7%) in 99. Notice the Daewoo Matiz bursting into the Hungarian market in 99: it lands directly at #8 with 3,610 sales and 2.8% share. Other newcomers that year are the Peugeot 206 at #14 and the Toyota Yaris at #15.

Full Year 1998 Top 15 and 1999 Top 20 Ranking Tables below.

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Czech Republic 1998-1999: Skoda Felicia above 35% share

Skoda Felicia

* See the Top 15/20 best-selling models by clicking on the title! Many thanks to Florian *

The car market is stable over the period in Czech Republic at 141,200 registrations in 1998 and 146,300 in 1999. The Skoda Felicia dominates the models ranking head and shoulders, reaching out-of-this-world market shares: 39.6% in 98 thanks to 55,902 sales and 35.2% in 99 at 51,497 units. The Skoda Octavia follows at 15.2% and 21,514 sales in 98 and 13.9% at 20,395 units in 99.

The title of best-selling foreign model changes hands: it goes to the Ford Escort in 98 with 4,466 sales and 3.2%, then to the Opel Astra/Zafira in 99 at 5,306 units and 3.6% share. Other successful models over the period include the Fiat Punto #5 in 98, the Daewoo Matiz #5 in 99, the VW Polo #6 in 98, the Renault Megane #6 in 99, the VW Golf/Bora/Vento #7 both years and the VW Passat #9 both years.

Full Year 1998 Top 15 and 1999 Top 20 Ranking Tables below.

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Slovakia 1995-1999: Skoda Felicia best seller

The Skoda Felicia, actually an evolution of the 1987 Skoda Favorit, launches in October 1994 and replaces the Favorit atop the Slovakian car sales for the next 5 years, in all likeliness reaching market shares of between 33 and 50%.

More details about the Skoda Felicia here, more pictures: click on ‘Read more’ below.

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Europe 1999: Opel Astra a serious threat to the VW Golf

Opel Astra

* See the Top 55 best-selling models by clicking on the title! *

8 years after the nameplate was launched and 6 months after the 2nd generation appeared in showrooms, the Opel Astra achieves what it had been designed for: act as a serious threat to the VW Golf in Europe. During the whole of 1999, Opel Astra and VW Golf sales are neck-to-neck. End of year figures are to the advantage of the Golf at 703,604 sales vs. 683,870 for the Astra.

VW Golf

In March, both models break volume records: the Golf sells 80,720 units (+49%) and the Astra delivers 77,950 sales (+121%). These figures remain unbeaten. In May, the Astra passes the Golf for the very first time with 61,300 registrations vs. 60,100. I don’t have figures for every month of 1999 but it is safe to assume the Astra repeated this feat a couple of times.

The Renault Megane is still very strong this year at 576,291 sales (-1%), 43% of which are the Megane Scenic MPV version, whereas its little sister the Renault Clio continues to progress, up 3 spots and 16% in 4th position with 487,004 sales.

Ford Focus

Two all-new models launched in 1998 establish themselves in the Top 10 this year. The Ford Focus, an edgy Escort replacement, fares best with a massive 472,182 sales at #5 for its first full year, and the Peugeot 206 delivers an equally impressive 439,060 units at #8. The VW Passat leads its category and breaks into the Year-end Top 10 at #10 with 322,829 units while the BMW 3 Series jump into the Top 10 in July with 29,310 sales.

The Nissan Micra leads the Japanese models at #30 followed by the Toyota Corolla (#31), Yaris (#41), Avensis (#42), Nissan Primera (#44), Almera (#49), Honda Civic (#53) and Mazda 323 (#55). The Daewoo Matiz is the best-selling Korean model at #52.

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

Next year: Europe 2000: VW Golf and Fiat Punto dominate

Full Year 1999 Top 45, Monthly Top 10 for March, May and July 1999 and all model sales below.

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Switzerland 1990-1999: VW Golf and Subaru Legacy shine

VW Golf

* See the Top 25 best-selling models by clicking on the title! *

Thanks to Rene I can share with you the a Top 25 ranking for the nineties decade overall. Like in the seventies and eighties, the VW Golf is the best-selling model in the country with 165,794 sales, followed this time and at a larger distance by the Opel Astra with 119,339 units and the Opel Vectra at 84,702 sales. The Toyota Corolla is down to #4 with a still excellent 73,482 units ahead of the Opel Corsa, VW Passat and BMW 3 Series.

Subaru Legacy

After the Leone in the eighties, the Subaru Legacy is the brand’s best-seller in Switzerland in the nineties at #11 with 42,870 sales. There is one more Japanese model in the Top 25 than in the eighties, bringing the total to 8, with the Mazda 323, Toyota Starlet and Mitsubishi Colt other strong sellers. The Renault Clio is the best-selling Frenchie at #12 and the Fiat Punto the favourite Italian at #14. Notice also the Renault Espace up to #21.

Previous post: Switzerland 1996: VW Golf #1, 3 Opels in Top 4

Next post: Switzerland 1998-2001: VW Golf and Opel Astra dominate

Full 1990-1999 overall Top 25 Ranking Table below.

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Argentina 1998-1999: VW Gol, Fiat Palio & Chevy Corsa on top

Chevrolet Corsa, VW Gol & Fiat Palio

* See ‘Read more’ for the Top 10 best-selling models, many thanks to Bruno for the data *

After one year off in 1997, the VW Gol reclaims the title of best-selling car in Argentina in 1998 with 29,486 sales and retains it in 1998 at 28,003 units. The Fiat Palio comes 2nd in 1997 with 26,237 sales and drops to 3rd in 1998 at 20,540 units. The Chevrolet Corsa does the reverse: it is #3 in ’97 with 22,843 sales and #2 in ’98 at 21,572 units.

Below, notice the Renault Megane (#6) and Renault 19 (#7) co-exist in the 1999 Top 10, the arrival of the Ford Ka at #9 in 1999 and the resistance of the ageing Fiat Duna, #10 in both 1998 and 1999.

Full Year 1998 and 1999 Top 10 Ranking Tables below.

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Sweden 1998-1999: Volvo V70 #1, Saab 9-5 & Volvo S80 up

Volvo V70

Volvo V40

* See the Top 30 best-selling models by clicking on ‘Read more’ at end of post *

The Swedish car market is on fire at +12% and 253,430 registrations in ’98, +16% and 295,249 units in ’99. For the first time in at least 20 years, the Top 5 best sellers are all Swedish. The Volvo S/V/C70 keeps the lead, reaching 12.6% share in ’98 (31,933 sales) and 10% in ’99 (29,578). As the 2nd generation V70 launched, 6,905 units of the model were sold in December 1999 alone (for a 20% share), most probably the biggest monthly volume ever in Sweden…

The Volvo S40/V40 is #2 both years at 6.5% in ’98 and 6.8% in ’99 at over 20,000 sales, while the Saab 9-5 climbs onto the podium in ’99 at 14,590 units and 4.9%. The Volvo S80, launched in late ’98, climbs to 4th in ’99 at 14,303 units (4.8%), ahead of the Saab 900/9-3 at 11,701 (4%). The VW Golf, Passat and Ford Focus are the best-selling foreign models.

Previous post: see the Swedish 1996-1997 Top 30 best-selling models here.

Full 1998 & 1999 Top 30 Ranking Tables: click on ‘Read more’ below the Volvo S80 pic.

Saab 9-5

Volvo S80

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Greece 1999: New gen Opel Astra an instant favourite

Opel Astra

* See the Top 234 best-selling models by clicking on the title! Thanks to Bill and Kostas *

Car sales in Greece are up massive 45% this year to 261,711 registrations, the first time over 200,000 units and a new record for the country. Launched last year, the Opel Astra 2nd generation has immediately seduced the Greek consumers and the car is the best-selling model in the country as early as for its first full year of sales with 5.1% of the market thanks to 13,258 units sold, here again a new volume record for a single model in Greece.

Toyota Yaris

The Hyundai Accent drops to 2nd place but stays very solid at 12,058 sales and 4.7%, followed by the Citroen Saxo stable at 4.5% and the Toyota Corolla, down 2 spots to #4 with 3.8%. The best new entrant in the year-end Top 10 is the Toyota Yaris, up to 6th place whereas it was launched during the year.

Kia Shuma

The Peugeot 206 also breaks into the Top 10 for the first time at #8. In January 1999 the Nissan Almera sold 1,936 units, still to this day the highest monthly volume any model has ever achieved in Greece. Other great performers this year in Greece include the VW Golf up 185% to #14, the Renault Clio up 278% to #17, the Ford Focus landing directly at #18 for its first full year of sales, the Kia Shuma up 169% to #23 and the Suzuki Jimny up 528% to #29.

Previous year: Greece 1998: Hyundai Accent dominates

Next year: Greece 2000: Hyundai Accent reclaims top spot in record market

Full Year 1999 and each Monthly Top 50/234 Ranking Tables below.

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Japan 1999: Toyota Corolla and Vitz in the lead

Toyota Vitz

* See the Top 30 best-selling models by clicking on the title! *

No surprise in pole position: the Toyota Corolla is still the favourite passenger car in Japan, but with 160,677 sales it is down 18% on 1998 and just 4,000 units above the all-new Toyota Vitz, launched in January and finishing its first year in market with an outstanding 156,646 sales. The Vitz was even #1 in April with 12,389 units vs. 11,640 for the Corolla and in July with 18,046 vs. 16,102…

Subaru Legacy

In spite of a 3% decline over 1998, the Honda StepWGN is up 3 spots to #3 with 90,495 sales, ahead of the Toyota Crown, up 4 ranks and 18% to 87,253 units and the Mazda Demio down 2 spots and 17% to 84,840 sales. The Nissan Cube is down 4 ranks to #6, the Toyota Mark II is stable at #7 while the Subaru Legacy is up 5 spots to #8 with 70,181 units, the last time a Subaru finishes the year within the Japanese Top 10.

You can check out each and every monthly Top 30 for 1999 here.

Previous year: Japan 1998: Toyota Corolla, Nissan Cube and Suzuki Wagon R favourites

Next year: Japan 2000: Toyota Vitz threatens Toyota Corolla for pole position

Full Year 1999 Top 30 Ranking Table below.

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