* See the Top 50 brands and Top 353 All-models by clicking on the title *
The German new car market is reassuringly back in positive territory in 2014, up 3% year-on-year to get back above the symbolic 3 million annual unit-mark at 3,036,773, however still among the lowest volumes in the past 25 years. Volkswagen is almost immobile atop the brands ranking with 656,494 sales and 21.6% share, while Mercedes is the only one of the 3 local premium brands to lose ground over 2013 despite a flurry of new launches: down 2% to 272,566 units and 9% to be compared with +3% to 259,459 and 8.5% at Audi and +3% to 237,748 and 7.8% at BMW. Mass-market brands Opel and Ford are growing faster this year: both gain 6% but remain in 5th and 6th position respectively.
Skoda (+9%) and Seat (+12%) sign the best percentage improvements in the Top 10 while Renault reclaims the title of best-selling foreign brand off Hyundai thanks to sales up 6% to 105,322. Further down, great performers this year in Germany include – in order of sales – Nissan (+14%), Mazda (+17%), Volvo (+16%), Porsche (+17%), Mitsubishi (+14%), Land Rover (+18%), Jeep (+48%), Maserati (+194%), Ssangyong (+50%) and Infiniti (+48%) while Tesla lands at #38 with 817 sales and BMW’s performance division Alpina gains 74%.
As the years pass, the VW Golf continues to strengthen its grip on the German models charts, as if it was still possible to dominate more blatantly. Helped by the arrival of the Sportsvan variant still counted as part of the Golf nameplate, Volkswagen’s best-seller is up 4% to 255,044 sales and 8.4% share. That’s exactly 3.5 times the sales of any other nameplate in the market (vs. 3.4 in 2013 and 2.7 in 2012). The Golf celebrates 34 years in a row at #1 in Germany, (no interruption since 1981!) with the nameplate holding the #1 spot at home for 39 of the past 40 years. Who is responsible for ruining a perfect 4-0? the Mercedes W123 which was #1 in 1980. Note the Golf reign is much longer than that of the Beetle, #1 from 1946 to 1973.
Volkswagen returns to monopolising the podium this year after being interrupted by the BMW 3 Series in 2013: the Passat remains #2 with 2.4% of the market and the Polo is up one spot to #3. The Audi A3 gains 7% to deliver the nameplate’s best-ever ranking in Germany at #4 and 65,199 sales while the VW Tiguan achieves exactly the same at #5 and 61,947 units, also up 7%. That both nameplates are at their highest-ever levels while going relatively under the radar in 2014 is testimony of their new status as regulars in the Top 5. This also means the VAG Group monopolises the Top 5 for the first time in history in Germany.
The Mercedes C-Class (+15%) and Opel Corsa (+11%) also lodge fantastic years but 2015 will be even better for both models with a new generation now in full swing. A third nameplate breaks records in the Top 10 this year in Germany, and here to we have become accustomed to see it at this level so it’s a slight surprise to discover it is the very first annual Top 10 ranking in Germany for the Skoda Octavia, up 6% on 2013 to #9 with 52,620 deliveries. Amazingly, the Octavia is only the third foreign nameplate in the last 75 years to manage an annual Top 10 ranking in Germany, along with the Skoda Fabia (#5 in 2009) and Renault 4 (#5 in 1970).
Further down, the Opel Astra is down 8% to #14, stepping out of the Top 10 for the first time in the nameplate’s 23 year-career, but in the same segment the Seat Leon is another model evolving at all-time high levels: up a very solid 30% on record figures in 2013 to a best-ever #18 and 40,251 sales, breaking its monthly ranking record in May (#13) and October (#12). The Fiat 500 is the only ‘true’ foreigner in the Top 30 at #27 (excluding Skoda and Seat nameplates), followed by the Nissan Qashqai, Renault Clio (+19%) and Hyundai i30.
Other great performers in Germany in 2014 include the Opel Mokka up 41% to #28, the Ford Kuga up 38% and 18 spots to #30, Opel Insignia up 32% and 17 ranks to return inside the Top 50 at #39 and the Skoda Rapid up 157% to finish its first full year at #46. The BMW 4 Series is at a very high 16,513 registrations, the Mercedes GLA ranks #62, the BMW X5 is up 118% to #72 and the BMW 2 Series sells 9,005 units. The Mercedes V-Class is the best-selling all-new entrant at #106 followed by the Porsche Macan at #117, Ford Transit Connect at #147 and BMW X4 at #148.
Previous post: Germany December 2014: Mercedes C-Class up 80% to 2nd place
Full Year 2014 Top 50 brands and Top 353 models vs. Full 2013 figures below.