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Europe Full Year 2018: WLTP transition freezes sales, VW, Peugeot, Dacia and Jeep shine, Golf #1 and Tiguan #5

The VW Tiguan is the best-selling SUV in Europe in 2018.

Consult close to 50 years of European Historical Data here.

October 2019 update: Now with Top 10 LCV brands and Top 40 models.

February 2019 update: Now with Top 60 brands and Top 430 All- models.

Thanks to our partner JATO Dynamics we can share with you 2018 data for Europe 27 countries. Disastrous post-WLTP sales from September onwards erased the growth the European market displayed earlier in the year with 2018 ending at almost exactly the same level as 2017 (up 346 sales) at 15.6 million, still the largest annual tally since 2007 (16.02m). Strong Q2 (+4.8%) and Q3 (+1.1%) registrations were offset by Q4 (-7.5%) at its lowest since 2014. Lithuania (+25.4%), Romania (+21.4%), Croatia (+18.7%), Hungary (+17.5%) and Greece (+17.4%) are the sole European markets posting double-digit gains whereas the UK (-6.8%), Sweden (-6.8%), Norway (-6.5%), Switzerland (-4.6%) and Ireland (-4.4%) are the worst performers, with other heavyweights Germany (-0.2%), France (+2.9%), Italy (-2.9%) and Spain (+6.9%) closer to the average. Poland, Slovakia, Luxembourg and Lithuania have broken all-time volume records this year. In contrast, Switzerland endured its worst year since 2010, the UK since 2013 and Norway since 2014.

The 3008 (+25.6%) helps Peugeot record the 2nd largest gain among the Top 10 carmakers in Europe.

Petrol sales account for 57% of total sales in Europe in 2018, up from 50% in 2017 whereas diesel sales fall from 44% to 36% share, the fuel’s lowest share since 2001 and down from a peak of 55% in 2011. Diesel sales are down by double-digits in 20 of the 27 markets studied by JATO Dynamics, crumbling 30% in the UK and 22% in both Scandinavia and Benelux. On the other hand, Alternatively Fueled Vehicles continue to progress, reaching a record 6.1% share and 944.800 deliveries vs. just 0.5% of the European market 10 years ago in 2008. EVs soar 47% to 195.300, overtaking PHEVs. The SUV trend is still valid in 2018 albeit slightly more muted at “just” +19% year-on-year to 5.4m units or 34.6% share vs. 29.2% a year ago, to be compared with growth rates of +20% in 2017, +21% in 2016 and +24% in 2015. Small SUVs are particularly dynamic at +29% to 2m units while compact SUVs gain 17% to 2.3m. Sub-compact cars account for 20.4% of the market vs 20.8% a year ago while compact cars fall from 19.4% to 17.8%.

The Compass boosts Jeep’s European sales up 56.4% to cross the 1% market share milestone for the first time.

Illustrating the tumultuous year 2018 has been, there are only 4 volume gainers among the 10 most popular carmakers in Europe. Volkswagen (+3.4%) remains by far in the lead despite being hit full-frontal by its failure to transition to WLTP smoothly, Peugeot (+6.3%) is surfing on the success of its new SUV lineup and overtakes Opel/Vauxhall (-5%) for 4th place overall while both Skoda (+7.6%) and Toyota (+5.2%) gain one spot to rank #9 and #10 respectively. If Renault (-2.4%) and Ford (-2.6%) both underperform on the podium, Mercedes (-2.8%) holds onto the premium crown at #6 ahead of BMW (-1.1%) while Audi (-10.7%) posts the only double-digit decline in the Top 15. Reversely Jeep (+55.7%) lodges the largest gain in the Top 35 by far thanks to the Compass’ first full year in market, with Mitsubishi (+25.3%), Jaguar (+22.9%), Dacia (+14.3%) and Seat (+13.7%) also extremely impressive. Kia (+6.2%), Volvo (+7.2%), Hyundai (+6.8%), Citroen (+6.4%) and Suzuki (+6.1%) also make themselves noticed with solid gains. Among smaller brands, DR Motor (+173.2%), Mahindra (+160%), MG (+103.7%), Dodge (+99.5%), Chrysler (+95.3%) and Lamborghini (+67.5%) impress while Borgward makes a very discreet return at #55 with just 33 sales.

Dacia is up 14.7% but the Sandero misses out on a maiden annual Top 10 by just 730 sales.

Model-wise, the VW Golf (-7.9%) celebrates 11 consecutive years in the European pole position and a total of 31 years at #1 in the past 36 (a series that started in 1983), but VW’s star nameplate also endures a third year in a row of decline, leading to the nameplate’s smallest annual volume since 2012, handicapped by diesel sales freefalling down 30%. In a freak WLTP-related event, the Golf was outsold in September by the Opel/Vauxhall Corsa then snatching its 2nd ever European #1 monthly spot after January 2007, only the 4th time in the past 10 years that the Golf doesn’t rank #1 in Europe, the other ones being March 2009, 2010 and 2017, each time beaten by the Ford Fiesta.

The VW Golf has topped European charts for 31 of the past 36 years.

Below, the Renault Clio (+2.3%), VW Polo (+9.9%) and Ford Fiesta (+6.3%) camp on their positions but the VW Tiguan (+7.1%) benefits from the arrival of the Allspace 7-seat variant to replace the Nissan Qashqai (-6.3%) as Europe’s best-selling SUV and break into the annual Top 5 for the first time. Below the Peugeot 208 (-6%) and Skoda Octavia (-3.4%), the Toyota Yaris (+9.2%) breaks into the annual European Top 10 for the first time in history, a performance the Dacia Sandero (+7.8%) stopped only 730 sales short off also achieving, ranking #11 on the back of fantastic scores in both November (new record ranking at #4) and December (#5). The Peugeot 3008 (+25.6%), even becoming Europe’s best-selling SUV both in September and October (we test drove it here) and Dacia Duster (+22.2%) are by far the best performers in the Top 25.

The Jaguar i-Pace lands at #241 across Europe in 2018.

The VW T-Roc (+2732.4%) ranks #28, head and shoulders above the rest of the 2017 crew that post their first full year on the European market, namely the Citroen C3 Aircross (#41), Opel Crossland X (#49), Seat Arona (#55), Skoda Karoq (#59), Opel Grandland X (#67), Jeep Compass (#68), Hyundai Kona (#83), Kia Stonic (#99), Volvo XC40 (#114), BMW X2 (#128), Jaguar E-Pace (#148), Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross (#152) and DS 7 Crossback (#174). The best-selling “pure” 2018 launch is the Peugeot Rifter (#234) in actual fact a new generation Peugeot Partner, above the Jaguar i-Pace (#242), haloed with a stunning victory in the Netherlands in December and the Audi Q8 (#243).

The Ford Transit Custom is the best-selling LCV in Europe in 2018.

The European Light Commercial Vehicles market gain 3.5% year-on-year in 2018 to cross the 2 million unit-benchmark for the first time since 2007 according to ACEA figures. Spain (+7.8%), Germany (+5.4%) and France (+4.6%) pull the overall market up, offsetting drops in the UK (-1.3%) and Italy (-6%). Ford (+6.9%) remains the most popular LCV brand in Europe ahead of Renault (+1.1%) and Volkswagen (+3.2%) with Peugeot (+2.8%) and Citroen (+2.2%) rounding up the Top 5. Iveco (+2.1%) and Mercedes (+1.3%) are also up in the Top 10 but Nissan (-8.7%), Opel (-8.4%) and Fiat (-4.6%) struggle. The overall best-selling LCV – and the only one positing a six-digit volume – is the Ford Transit Custom (+8.5%), distancing the Mercedes Sprinter (-2.3%), VW Transporter (+1.3%), Citroen Berlingo (+1.9%) and Renault Master (+10.1%). The Ford Ranger (+15.3%) easily dominates the pickup ranking above the Toyota Hilux (+1%), Nissan Navara (-10.6%) and Mitsubishi L200 (-4%) while the Mercedes X-Class (#7), Ram 1500 (+67.6%) and Renault Alaskan (#10) make their entrance in the Top 10.

Previous post: Europe November 2018: Mercedes (+4.5%) shines, Renault (-28%), Nissan (-28%), Audi (-41%) pull sales down 8.1%

Previous year: Europe 2017: VW Golf celebrates 10 straight years at #1 in largest market since 2007

Two years ago: Europe 2016: VW flat, Renault up in highest market in 9 years

Full Year 2018 Top 60 brands, Top 430 models Top 10 LCV brands and Top 10 models for 4 main LCV segments vs. Full Year 2017 figures below.

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