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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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