Now if you are already Norway’ed out with all the tragic news coming from there right now, that’s ok I understand, and there are 154 more countries to explore in my blog, so I’m sure you’ll find what you’re looking for there!
Norwegians are exposed to extreme (cold) temperatures pretty much every day of the year (OK not quite true but I was there in the middle of summer years ago and it was freezing!) and also to near-constant darkness about 6 months a year.
So their cars need to do one thing: work. Start in the morning by -30 degrees and not fail in the middle of a lonely snow-covered road in some remote part of the country… And that, Volkswagens and Toyotas can do…
Indeed over the last 12 years, either a Volkswagen or a Toyota was Norway’s best-selling car. Volkswagen has been holding the top spot over the last 5 consecutive years thanks to the Passat and the Golf.
Best-selling models in Norway since 1999
|2011||VW Golf (6 months)||3,565|
As a whole, the Norwegian new car market reached a 20 year high in 2007 at 129,195 units, the best yearly figure since 1986, but was then hit by the economic crisis: it fell 15 percent in 2008 to 110,617 and a further 11 percent to 98,675 in 2009. Car sales in Norway have been kicking ass since though, up 29 percent in 2010 at 127,754 registrations and a further 10.5 percent over the first half of 2011 to 68,505 units. 2011 is on the way to become Norway’s best year for car sales in 25 years!
Brand-wise, Volkswagen dominates the Norwegian market at the moment with a 14.5 percent share over the first half of 2011, ahead of Toyota at 11.5 percent and Ford at 8.7 percent. Close relationships with Sweden mean Norwegian consumers buy a lot of Volvos, making it the 4th most successful brand in the country at 8 percent share. Mitsubishi rounds up the Top 5 with 6.1 percent.
But you know by now that brands ranking is not my cup of tea.
So what are the cars you will see most often on Norway’s snowy roads?
Well first, the VW Golf. As you have seen above, Norwegians are long-time fans of VW’s best seller. They didn’t particularly like the 5th generation from the mid-noughties, but are lapping up unheard of quantities of the Golf MK6 since its release in 2008. The Golf sold over 8,000 units in Norway last year, the highest yearly figure for any model in the country in over 10 years.
Best-selling models in Norway in 2010
Germany beats Sweden in Norway!
The Volvo V70, long-term best-seller in its native Sweden, held an excellent second spot in 2010, even reaching #1 in December.
The Toyota Avensis, an Europe-exclusive model, is particularly successful in Northern Europe, as shown in 2010 in Norway where it reached a solid 3rd place with 3.1 percent of the market.
Nissan’s success story in Europe, the Qashqai, ranked 4th in 2010 with 3 percent of the Norwegian market.
Now to 2011.
The Golf stays on top, at least over the first 6 months of the years with 3,565 sales even though its share is down slightly to 5.2 percent vs. 6.4 percent in 2010:
Norway Jan-Jun 2011
Very strong showing for the new generation VW Passat, up to #2 in 2011 with 3.4 percent of the market, it was even the best-selling car in Norway in June!
But the big surprise this year in Norway comes from Japan: the Mitsubishi ASX is having a ball here, ranking #2 for a few months in 2011 and finishing the 1st Half at an astounding 3rd place only 17 sales below the Passat with 3.4 percent of the market also. Norway is by far the country in the world where the ASX has made the biggest inroads, which says a lot about its reliability.
(The above was the bit of trivia for your dinners. Repeat after me: “did you know that the best performing market in the world for the Nissan Qashqai-killer the ASX is Norway? Bet you didn’t…”)
There. You are now an expert on Norwegian car sales.
You can see a complete report on the Norwegian car market for every month since October 2010 in my blog. There is also complete historical information with the Top 20 best-selling models for each year up to 1999.
All figures are sourced from ofvas.no.
Matt Gasnier, based in Sydney, Australia, runs a blog named Best Selling Cars, dedicated to counting cars all over the world.