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World Full Year 2012: Discover the Top 50 German models

Opel Zafira World 2012I say the Opel Zafira is German. What do you think?

* See the Top 50 best-selling German models by clicking on the title! Thanks Austin *

The original World Full Year 2012 Top 1000 is here

We continue to slice up the worldwide models ranking by nationality, and this time let’s look at German models. Now I have faced a little bit or a conundrum here as Opel is a German brand but 100% owned by General Motors, so arguably all Opel models should sit in the US ranking. I’ve chosen to meet halfway, and the Opel models with over 50% of their sales under the Opel brand and ranked here (Corsa, Meriva, Zafira). The ones with over 50% under the Chevrolet brand will appear in the US ranking (Astra, Insignia).

VW Golf World 2012The VW Golf missed the #1 German spot worldwide by 32,000 sales.

With this cleared up, it’s no surprise to see the ranking dominated by Volkswagen but it is a surprise to see the Passat in the top spot (and #7 overall) with 782,694 sales, ahead of the Golf at 750,466, the Polo at 733,678, the Jetta/Bora/Clasico/Sagitar at 552,937 and the Gol at 482,594.

BMW 3 Series World 2012The BMW 3 Series is #10 German worldwide in 2012

The first non-VW is the Opel/Chevrolet Corsa at #6 and #29 overall with 455,385 units, followed by the BMW 3 Series at #8 and #36 with 406,752 sales and the Mercedes C-Class at #9 and #46 with 346,204 units. Notice also the BMW 5 Series at #10, Audi A4 at #11, Audi A6 at #12, Mercedes E-Class at #14, VW Lavida at #15 even though it is only sold in China, BMW 1 Series at #16, and Audi Q5 at #19.

Der neue Volkswagen CCVW CC

Further down, the BMW X3 ranks #25 German model worldwide just above its little brother the BMW X1 at #26, while the VW CC takes the 32nd spot, the Mercedes GLK is #34, the Mercedes ML-Class #36, BMW X5 #40, Porsche Cayenne #42, BMW 7 Series #45, Mercedes S-Class #46 and Audi Q7 #50.

The original World Full Year 2012 Top 1000 is here

Full Year 2012 Top 50 German models Ranking Table below.

World Full Year 2012 – German models:

17VW Passat/Magotan782,694
29VW Golf750,466
311VW Polo/Vento733,678
418VW Jetta/Bora/Clasico/Sagitar552,937
524VW Gol/Voyage482,594
629Opel/Chevrolet Corsa455,385
730VW Tiguan429,013
836BMW 3 Series406,752
946Mercedes C Class346,204
1050BMW 5 Series/GT337,929
1159Audi A4310,577
1266Audi A6275,738
1376VW Jetta II (China)242,478
1478Mercedes E Class239,349
1582VW Lavida236,687
1687BMW 1 Series226,829
1789VW Bora (China)222,735
18100VW Santana/Vista202,792
19102Audi Q5200,474
20114VW Fox186,928
21133VW Transporter160,300
22135Audi A3158,598
23140VW Caddy151,100
24142VW Touran150,646
25144BMW X3149,853
26146BMW X1147,776
27158Mercedes B Class135,739
28175VW Up!119,620
29186Audi A1111,837
30200Smart Fortwo103,798
31203Opel/Chevrolet Zafira102,267
32211Opel Meriva98,251
33212VW CC98,214
34217Mercedes GLK Class96,294
35224Audi A592,900
36231Mercedes ML Class89,326
37236Audi Q386,669
38242Mercedes Sprinter85,158
39244VW Amarok84,100
40247BMW X581,831
41249VW Saveiro79,672
42264Porsche Cayenne74,763
43267VW Golf Plus74,100
44269Mercedes A Class72,605
45313BMW 7 Series60,256
46317Mercedes S Class59,567
47343Mercedes Vito/Viano53,444
48344VW Suran/SpaceFox52,772
49348VW Touareg52,176
50354Audi Q750,921
This Post Has 30 Comments
  1. The german Kraftfahr-Bundesamt, which reports ther official german car-sales, piblishes on it’s website they are going to separate Golf/Jetta, Audi A6/A7 and BMW/Mini during 2013.

  2. @Miguel
    Thanks Miguel … 😉

    Ford Ka is produced in Poland.

    Actually it is quite difficult to decide, whether Ford or Opel/Vauxhall are german or american. For example people in England intend to regard Vauxhall as an english brand. With Ford it is quite similar although this is in a change because Ford is going to close the english factories. In Germany people regard Ford as a german brand. In german statistics Ford is not listed as an import-brand. In the USA? Of course Ford is american. 😉

    To put a long story short: These brands are international.

  3. I Know quite well that Ford is an ancient and prestigious American car brand. Anyway some of their models are from its German subsidiary such as the Fiesta and Ka ( build in Cologne ) Focus ( build in Saarlouis ) B and C Max ( build in Saarlouis )

  4. @Rutger (D-C)
    Rutger, I agree with you.

    Opel/Vauxhall gets a really hard deal from GM in Detroit. If GM Europe received even a small license contribution for every Chevrolet and Buick built on a Russelsheim platform, its financial position would be very positive.
    Across the world Detroit is really pushing Chevrolet at the expense of Opel. But in Europe and elsewhere the plan is not working as it is damaging both Chevrolet and Opel sales.
    For example, 8 years ago, Opel alone was #3 in South Africa (behind Toyota and VW). Now with Chevrolet as the main brand, GM has dropped to #7. At present Opel sells less than 1,700 units a year, compared with 40,000+ ten years ago. A very sad situation.
    During the last 15 years both the Corsa and Astra have been #1 in the word at some point. Even today, the Astra platform is #3 or #4. The only problem is that 60% of these cars now have a Buick or Chevrolet badge.
    GM will never close Opel/Vauxhall. They need the engineering expertise and European kudos and market-share these brands give them. However, it benefits GM to operate Europe as a loss-maker.

    Conspiracy theory, or true? I think very much TRUE!

  5. rocketman :@Miguel Hey Matt, what a can of worms you’ve opened buddy!
    Miguel, for info – the 2013 Ford Kuga is only built in Louisville Kentucky and Valencia in Spain. The Ford Fiesta is primarily built in Valencia, with only some versions in Saarlouis, Saarland region of Germany.

    The Fiesta for the european market is built in Cologne. In Saarlouis Focus and C-Max are produced.

    The old Kuga was produced in Saarlouis, the new one is imported from the USA.

    Since Ford is going to close three factories in europe there will be some changes.

  6. If you add all the Golf sedans together,Jetta 2,Jetta4/Bora,and Jetta 6,this is by far the most popular model.
    Are Golf Variants counted as Golfs,and identical Jetta Sportwagons counted as Jettas ???

  7. @Bart well, s-max, galaxy, ka, fiesta- they indeed are German in terms of its developing process. It’s only now that the One Ford strategy makes American&European models identical as we can see in cases of Focus, Kuga/Escape, Fusion/Mondeo-to-be. So it’s not the marketing- it’s reality. Ford’s european divison always had a leeway to create different models

  8. @frank stevens
    HI Frank,

    just to correct a small mistake in your post:

    Shanghai VW is exactly 50% owned by VW, while FAW-VW is only 40% owned by VW.
    Both of them sold almost exactly the same amount in 2012 (1.3 million) with another ~200k VW group cars imported as FBU’s.

    HOwever, I do agree that a sorting “by country” doesn’t really make much sense, considering all the compromises when allocating brands to countries. Also, I still disagree with not counting the Golf Plus as part of the Golf sales, while counting wagon sales (or adding BMW 5 and 5 GT sales as one…)

  9. Ans Mondeo and S-Max are built in Belgium. Brillant marketing from Ford to make people think it’s German, so it can take a free ride on the image of German Engineering, all the while being 100% American.

  10. @Miguel
    Hey Matt, what a can of worms you’ve opened buddy!

    Miguel, for info – the 2013 Ford Kuga is only built in Louisville Kentucky and Valencia in Spain. The Ford Fiesta is primarily built in Valencia, with only some versions in Saarlouis, Saarland region of Germany.

  11. The Opel Astra and Insignia are fully developed by Opel in Rüsselsheim, so I wouldn’t consider these models as American, even if these models are sold as Buick in the USA and China (or the previous Holden and South American Chevrolet rebadges). Opel deserves a better fate in my opinion 🙂

  12. I think this data must include the Ford range. The Fiesta, Focus, Mondeo, Kuga, B-Max, C-Max and S-Max are 100% german build.

  13. @Steam
    Hi Steam … your point taken on the MQB platform for the Phaeton. But this only raises more questions.

    Most people would regard Bentley as being British. But the Flying Spur is built together with the Phaeton in Dresden, not Crewe in the UK. Also it is rumoured that the new Bentley SUV will be built in Bratislava along with the Q7, Touareg and Cayenne, using that same platform. Will that therefore make it Slovakian?

    And where does this leave the Audi R8 and Lamborghini Gallardo with their shared German platforms, Italian gearboxes and Austrian engines? The gearbox for example has both Raging-Bull and Four-Ring logos stamped on it.

  14. @frank stevens
    Hello Frank, mainly I agree to your points, but the Phaeton does not share the MQB-platform. The contemporary one uses the platform of the Bentley Flying Spur and the next one will use the one of Audi A8 (and also Bentley).

  15. From my point of view you have done the right choice, Matt. It might have been quite complicated though. 😉

    But thanks a lot.

  16. Hi Matt,

    The ‘Top 1,000’ series continues to deliver. Outstanding work by you and your associate contributors and very much appreciated.

    There are however so many ways of cutting a cake and this presents numerous conundrums . The problem with globalism (and particularly with regard to the BRIC countries) is that there are often several generations and versions of the same brand/model being made by different manufacturers in a single country.

    Take China for example. VW has Joint Venture partnerships with both SAIC (30% VW) and FAW (60% VW), but actually sells more VW badged vehicles in China through the former. China is also VW’s largest global market, so arguably the Passat/Magotan and particularly the Jetta/Bora/Sagitar should be classed as Chinese. However the J/B/S (and not forgetting the Jetta II) quartet all share two generations of Golf platforms, which were designed in Wolfsburg. So should they in actual fact be German? And where does that leave VW’s new MQB platform, which will apparently serve every model from Up! to Phaeton?

    Matters are further complicated when one considers that SAIC and FAW (both state owned) also have JV’s with GM, Toyota, and Mazda, besides building their own brands! But what happens when a brand and model is designed and engineered in Germany (eg. Opel Astra), but more of the same model are sold worldwide under different monikers, ie. Buick Excelle GT/Verano in China and North America and Chevrolet Vectra in certain South American markets? And sticking with the Astra theme, not only is it designed and engineered in Germany, but the global lead production plant for this model is located in Cheshire in the UK? Can it then be argued that the entire Astra family sits under Vauxhall? And what of the Chevrolet/Holden Cruze which shares the Astra platform and some of the engines?

    So should a brand/model therefore be allied to its country of origin, (ie. all VW’s are by default German), or its country of ownership, as with Volvo in which the Chinese now hold a majority share?

    And with that thought ….

  17. Very interesting, the listing shows the huge effect of the Chinese market, do the Opel sales include Vauxhall?. Thanks again for a great blog.

  18. Matt, please, Opel is a G E R M A N brand and all its models should be listed in this chart. Are you going to clasify Jeep or Chrysler as Italian brands?-.-‘

    1. Hi Enorio,
      As I said at the start of the article, the Opel Astra was outsold by its US/Chinese version the Buick Excelle XT/GT and Buick Verano and therefore will appear in the US ranking.

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