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Europe January 2021: Sales fall -26% to lowest since 1982, Toyota up to record #3, Yaris scores first ever win

The Toyota Yaris is the first Asian model to top the European charts. Picture

12/03 update: Now with Top 335 models.

09/03 update: Now with Top 58 brands and Top 100 models.

26/02 update: Now with Top 10 models.

Final figures by JATO Dynamics show a European market (EU+EFTA+UK) down a steep -26% year-on-year to 839.525 units in January, the largest decline since last May as renewed Covid lockdowns across the continent handicap sales. This is the lowest January volume since 1982. Among the largest markets, France (-5.8%) resists best, with Italy (-14.1%) also not quite falling off a cliff but Germany (-31.1%), the UK (-39.5%) and worst of all Spain (-51.5%) all implode. Overall only two European markets manage a year-on-year gain: Sweden (+22.5%) on a low year-ago base and Norway (+7.7%). At the other end of the scale we have Romania (-51.9%) and Slovakia (-50.6%).

According to data by JATO Dynamics, SUV sales drop just -18% to 368.100 units, accounting for 43.8% of all European sales which is the highest SUV share in history. It is to be compared with 26% share in 2016, 29% in 2017, 33% in 2018, 37% in 2019 and 40% in 2020. In the groups ranking, below the Volkswagen Group (-27.9%) underperforming slightly, we have the first appearance of the Stellantis Group (-27.4%), the result of the FCA-PSA merger, in 2nd place overall. Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi (-29.9%) also exceeds the market fall rate in third position. BMW Group (-16.8%), Daimler AG (-17.9%) and the Toyota Group (-20.2%) all resist better than the market just as Ford Motor (-26.2%) roughly matches the market drop rate.

Volvo sales are up 3.6% year-on-year.

Brand-wise, Volkswagen (-32,1%) struggles contrary to its next four followers: Peugeot (-19.3%) is up to 2nd place, Toyota (-19.1%) breaks its European ranking record at #3, BMW (-15.8%) remains in 4th place like last month and Mercedes (-25.8%) also holds onto its December ranking at #5. Renault (-28.8%) falls four spots on December and its FY2020 ranking to a paltry 6th place. Further down, Volvo (+2.5%), Porsche (+1.6%), Smart (+198%) and MG (+21.9%) are the only gainers in the remainder of the Top 35, with Jeep (-12.4%) and Dacia (-14.3%) also vastly outpacing the market. Cupra is up to #29 and Polestar is at #36.

The Dacia Sandero secures its first ever European podium finish.

Due to the weakness of the German market, this month the models ranking gets a complete reshuffle. Traditional leader the VW Golf (-42.1%) falls to a paltry fourth place overall: it is the 4th time in the past 12 months that the VW Golf doesn’t rank #1 in Europe, perhaps signalling the end of an era, however the previous three times the Golf managed to rank #2 below the Renault Clio. This time, the Toyota Yaris (+2.6%) snaps the European pole position in a historical first and becomes the first Asian nameplate (albeit manufactured in France) to ever top the European charts. The Peugeot 208 (-14.9%) is up three spots on December to #2 and the Dacia Sandero (+13%) lurches up 9 ranks on last month to #3 overall thanks to the new generation: this is the Sandero’s first ever European podium finish. The Peugeot 2008 (+86.4%) spectacularly advances to 6th place, equalling its highest ranking hit last November, and tops the SUV charts for the month above the VW T-Roc (-8%) at #9 overall.

Previous post: Europe Full Year 2020: Market down -24%, Toyota (-11.9%), Skoda (-11.6%) resist

One year ago: Europe January 2020: Toyota (+11.9%), BMW (+9.5%), Audi (+9.1%) defy market down -7.6%

Full January 2021 Top 10 groups, Top 58 brands and Top 335 models below.

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