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Germany: 1931-2023 Historical Data now available

VW Beetle

The direct links to 52 Historical Posts covering 1931-2023 are below.

22/10/2021 update: Now with All-brands data spanning 1931 to 1938.

Historical Data for Germany running from 1931 onwards is now available. From 1979 onwards there is a Top 100 models ranking. And from 2005 to 2013 you can now see the split sales of the VW Golf and Golf Plus, a very rare piece of info you won’t find anywhere else… You won’t find more detailed German data on any other website! This is the result of 3 full months of work and the generosity of Florian.

The West German market was dominated by the VW Beetle from 1946 to 1973, passing the 100,000 annual units for the first time in 1954, the 200,000 in 1959 and hitting its best-ever volume in 1961 at 348,929 units sold for a record 31.9% market share that year.

Mercedes W123

In 1974, the Mercedes Strich 8 took advantage of a wobbly passing of relay between the VW Beetle and Golf to finish the year in pole position with 140,127 sales. Then from 1975 to 1979 the new VW Golf established its leadership, peaking at 257,673 units in 1979, before Mercedes hit again in 1980, placing the W123 atop the German ranking with 202,253 sales.


Since 1981, eight generations of VW Golf have dominated the German models ranking. The second and third generation have been the most successful, with the Golf II peaking at 378,856 sales in 1987 and the Golf III establishing an all-time record of 414,132 units sold in a single year, 1992. The fifth gen was the weakest then, dropping to 148,879 sales and 4.3% share in 2006 before the 8th gen did even worse at 2.9% in 2023.


There is much less info available for East Germany, only that the legendary Trabant and Wartburg dominated the roads for the good part of the 41 years of existence of the country.

Opel Rekord

Witness also the success of the Opel Rekord, the 2nd car to pass the 100,000 annual sales mark in Germany in 1959, the Opel Kadett, launched in 1962 and peaking at 261,308 sales for its very last year of existence in 1991, the VW Passat, the only other VW to pass the 200,000 annual sales mark (in 1991), Ford 17M, Audi 80, Opel Astra, the only nameplate to go beyond 300,000 sales in Germany for its first year in 1992, the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes C Class, Audi A4 and many more…


Germany Historical Data 1931-2021:

East Germany:

East Germany 1958-1990: Trabant and Wartburg omnipresent

West Germany:

Germany 1931-1938: Opel ultra dominant with the 1.2 Liter, P4 and Kadett

Germany 1946-1949: Volkswagen brings the car to the people

Germany 1950: VW Beetle, Bus and Fiat Topolino on top

Germany 1951-1954: VW Beetle first model over 100,000 sales

Germany 1955-1957: VW Beetle and BMW Isetta popular

Germany 1958-1961: VW Beetle and Opel Rekord dominate

Germany 1962-1963: VW Beetle and Opel Rekord on top, Opel Kadett lands

Germany 1964-1966: VW 1500 and Ford 17/20M shine

Germany 1967-1970: VW Beetle and Opel Kadett on top

Germany 1971-1973: Last years of reign for the VW Beetle, Opel #1

Germany 1974: Mercedes ‘Strich 8′ surprise best-seller

Germany 1975: VW Golf takes the lead

Germany 1976-1979: VW Golf establishes leadership

Germany 1980: Mercedes W123 passes VW Golf!

Germany 1981-1983: VW Golf reclaims top spot

Germany 1984-1987: New gen takes VW Golf sales to record levels

Germany 1988: VW Golf and Opel Kadett sovereign

Germany 1989: VW Golf leads, VW Passat on podium

West Germany 1990: VW Golf and Opel Kadett dominate, Opel Vectra up


Germany 1991: East and West reunite, VW Golf and Opel Kadett lead

Germany 1992: VW Golf III and Opel Astra gear up

Germany 1993: BMW 3 Series on the podium for the first time

Germany 1994: VW Golf leads, Mercedes C Class shines

Germany 1995: VW Golf #1, BMW 3 Series and Audi A4 strong

Germany 1996: VW Golf leads, Opel Corsa and VW Polo up

Germany 1997: Last year of VW Golf III reign, VW Passat up to #4

Germany 1998: VW Golf #1 for 18th consecutive year

Germany 1999: Ford Focus and Mercedes A Class arrive

Germany 2000: BMW 3 Series threatens Opel Astra for #2

Germany 2001: #2 not an Opel for the first time in 15 years!

Germany 2002: BMW 3 Series #2 for the first time

Germany 2003: VW Golf feels the heat

Germany 2004: VW Golf V leads, Opel Astra back to #2

Germany 2005: VW Golf and Opel Astra on top, new gen VW Passat arrives

Germany 2006: VW Golf cannibalised by Golf Plus version

Germany 2007: New Mercedes C Class and Opel Corsa up

Germany 2008: Audi A4 and Mercedes C Class on podium

Germany 2009: Scrappage scheme sends models ranking wild

Germany 2010: VW Golf #1 ahead of VW Polo and Opel Astra

Germany 2011: VW Golf, Passat and Polo on podium

Germany 2012: VW Golf leads, Mercedes B-Class and VW Tiguan break records

Germany 2013: VW Golf marks 38 years at #1, Audi A3 and Skoda Octavia reach new heights

Germany 2014: VW Golf celebrates 39 years in top spot, Audi A3 shines

Germany Private Sales 2014: Mercedes C-Class up to #4

Germany 2015: VW Golf celebrates 40 years in pole position

Germany 2016: Volkswagen down, Mercedes up in strongest market in 7 years

Germany 2017: Volkswagen places Golf, Passat and Tiguan on podium

Germany 2018: Volkswagen monopolises Top 4 for the first time despite WLTP bruises

Germany 2019: Golf down to lowest ever share, VW places 5 nameplates in Top 6 in strongest market since 2009 (+5%)

Germany 2020: Sales down -19.1% to weakest in a decade, VW Golf leads but drops -33.4%, ID.3 #3 in December

Germany 2021: Market down -10.1% to lowest in 36 years, VW Golf leads above T-Roc despite late year debacle

Germany 2022: Last minute surge tilts market into positive (+1.1%), VW Golf challenged again

Germany 2023: VW Golf resists T-Roc assault

Germany private sales 2023: Tesla Model Y and VW T-Roc top market off -1.7%

Source: VDA, KBA, Auto Bild, Manufacturers.

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