By on October 15, 2011

Germany’s auto motor und sport magazine did a fun statistic: What are the worst selling cars in Germany? AMS calls them (politically highly incorrect) “Verkaufszwerge”– sales dwarfs. What would we call them? Demand-challenged vehicles?

We’re counting down – Germany’s bottom 10!

Number 10: The GM CHEVROLET VOLT. In September 2011, 4 units were registered. From January through September, a total of 20 units were registered.

Number 9: The PEUGEOT 407. In September 2011, 3 units were registered. From January through September, a total of 280 units were registered.

Number 8: The JEEP CHEROKEE. In September 2011, 3 units were registered. From January through September, a total of 145 units were registered.

Number 7: The CITROEN C6. In September 2011, 3 units were registered. From January through September, a total of 56 units were registered.

Number 6: The CHRYSLER 300C. In September 2011, 2 units were registered. From January through September, a total of 151 units were registered.

Number 5: The INFINITI G37. In September 2011, 2 units were registered. From January through September, a total of 50 units were registered.

Number 4: The LEXUS GS. In September 2011, 2 units were registered. From January through September, a total of 30 units were registered.

Third worst: The INFINITI EX37. In September 2011, 2 units were registered. From January through September, a total of 27 units were registered.

Second worst: The DODGE JOURNEY. In September 2011, 1 unit was registered. From January through September, a total of 152 units were registered.

And the loser is: The SSANGYONG REXTON. In September 2011, 1 unit was registered. From January through September, a total of 36 units were registered.

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64 Comments on “Germany’s Bottom Ten: Deutschland’s Least Wanted Cars...”

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    CITROEN C6 – The thing looks like an Impala hatchback. Although when it comes down to it I’d love to be able to buy an Impala hatch, it couldn’t be any uglier than a Honda Crosstour.

    • 0 avatar

      I have to say I don’t see the impala connection in C6 at all. I think it’s a classic Citroen shape like the CX and GS. It’s the closest car we have today to the classic Citroen: futuristic shape, cloudlike ride, questionable reliability. It’s exactly as the automaker intended: a modern-day Citroen CX.

      Given Infiniti’s emphasis on sporty handlings that Europeans prefer, I am surprised that it’s selling so poorly. Maybe it was too expensive?

      • 0 avatar

        I owned a 2007 G35 briefly and it was one of the better handling Japanese cars I drove, but German it was not.

        German steering is usually perfect, you can tell what the wheels are doing at all times, and never over assisted. The G35 steering was good by Japanese standards, but it felt artificially heavy and a bit numb.

        The Infiniti also handled well for its weight, but it never felt tossable. Most of the Germans I drive inspire confidence flinging them into a corner. The G35 never felt bad, it just never felt as good as a typical German sedan.

        I kept the G35 for a year until an unsolvable rough engine made me trade it in on a GTI. The GTI makes me smile, the G35 never really did.


    • 0 avatar

      Impala? Somebody say “Impala”? Here I am!

      You know, I see a similarity – if you put the “C” pillar window of the 2006+ models on a torture rack and stretched it clear to the trunk edge – there it is. The area in front of the windshield – not so much except for the relatively clean lines of both cars.

      Now, the Ssangyong Rexton, the ugly factor deserves its place!

  • avatar

    I am surprised any Chevy Volts sold since it is being sold as the Opel Ampera.

    • 0 avatar

      The Ampera ranks #21 with 10 registered in September, and 69 registered from January through September.

      • 0 avatar

        Thanks for the information. I am surprised it is selling so poorly as the Ampera.

      • 0 avatar

        Probably there’s still limited availability. The numbers are low enough that it’s well within margins of error, but (in this list) the volt sold the fewest cars jan – september but the most in september .. so for the volt it may be effectively be a few months of sales instead of YTD.

        That’s not saying it’s a hot seller, of course. But at least it seems to be selling better than some conventional American vehicles like the 300C and Jeep GC.

        I’m curious what sales figures for some staples like the Camry, Fusion, Camaro and Mustang are.

      • 0 avatar
        Mirko Reinhardt

        There is no Euro version of the Camry, Fusion or Mustang, and the Camaro was just introduced.

  • avatar

    The 407 and C6 are beautiful cars to my eyes. French cars are very distinctive looking. Maybe their soft French suspensions and high prices hurt them in the German market???

  • avatar

    Last one Korean or Chinlee?

  • avatar

    The interesting thing is that most people who know something about cars would say that 5 of the 10 vehicles are decent or better, even if they might not agree on which ones.

    For 3 of the 10, the Grand Cherokee, the Lexus, and the G37, they are clearly very good ones.

  • avatar

    Kettle calling here. Didn’t Ronnie Schreiber just moments ago blog complaining about how other sites ripping off his content, fair use, and all that? How is this any different?

    • 0 avatar

      Put a lid on that kettle. This is reporting on what a magazine writes. Ripping off would be stealing the article in its entirety (or to a large degree.) Also, both the data (courtesy of the German government) and the pictures (usually PR shots) are fair game.

      The source is referenced and linked to. Any news outlet usually is happy for the traffic. When they have a hot story, sometimes they even send out a press release to get quotes.

    • 0 avatar

      Fair use applies to the creative aspect of a work, not to the data.

      The sales figures are fair game — those can be cited freely, without issue. The photos, though, may be another story…

  • avatar

    First comment by a long-time lurker, so it might as well be obvious: Schmitt acknowledged the source, linked to it, and, most importantly, provided a valuable service to those who don’t read German.

  • avatar

    Seems to me unzere Deutsche volken have little liking for French or Japanese luxury – add to that American utility.

    The interesting thing about the Citroen CX was it wasn’t the complicated engineering that made it unreliable et sans longevity but the ordinary body integrity or lack off.

    The 407 and C6 hurt in their home market – sales aren’t what they used to be – a new niche for Parisians to thumb their noses.

    • 0 avatar
      Mirko Reinhardt

      The 407 has been replaced by a new model, the 508. They are selling off a few old-stock models, that’s all. The Chrysler brand has pulled out of Continental Europe in May. The Jeep Cherokee (which is the European version of the Liberty, why is a Grand Cherokee picture used?) has also been pulled from the European Jeep lineup a long time ago, looks like there were some leftovers…. Same story with the Dodge Journey.
      What’s really worrying is Infiniti and Lexus… Both brands simply have no product suitable for Europe, yet keep on building their dealer network.

  • avatar

    While Germans are perfect in mechanical engineering they are enemies of everything electric and soft(ware) – therefore Volt – not their thing. But G37 announced by several US magazines as an ultimate BMW 3-series killer and winner of numerous comparos – how German do not like them? And where is Toyota, Cadillac and other usual suspects? Cannot imagine Honda Accord (a.k.a TSX)with its numb steering and soft suspension sells more than 3 cars a month in Germany. May be 5 cars a month?

    AFAIK Chrysler and Dodge are not supposed to be sold in Europe, there is Lancia and Alfa for that. No idea about how they got their hand on those cars. And what about 3 cars a month. How can you sell so much and still be in business?

    • 0 avatar
      Mirko Reinhardt

      Less than 8% of 3-series sold in Germany are 6-cylinders, and I would estimate that 90% of the 6-cylinder 3ers sold are diesels (325d, 330d, 335d)
      The G is only available with a gas-guzzling 3.7-liter V6 and an automatic transmission, so it competes with an automatic-transmission 335i sedan – which must be the single worst selling configuration of 3-series in Germany.

      More than 60% of 3-series sold in Germany have a 4-cylinder diesel under the hood. If you can’t compete with that, don’t bother.

      Chrysler and Dodge were in the Euro market until May 2011. The dealers (now Jeep dealer or Lancia…) are just selling off remaining stock. Since cow could easily get 40% off a 300C two years ago, the deals must have been sweet for the customers.

  • avatar

    I’m guessing this might as well be called “10 Cars that Don’t get Imported that Much”.

    I doubt most of them are on sale at your standard vehicle retailer.

  • avatar

    News Flash: Germans don’t care much for American, Japanese and Korean cars.

    In other news, water is wet.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven Lang

      Geozinger, you have officially been rewarded the ‘Unofficial TTAC Comment of the Week’.

      Three Chuck E Cheese coins will be sent to your home ASAP.


      But I will offer a small bit of appending to this. Portions of this list may also reflect manufacturers who have decided not to have a strong dealer presence in this market. Infiniti will only have 10 dealerships in Germany by 2011.

      Even though they have been in this market for nearly two years now, they are taking their sweet time about it.

      Lexus has 44 dealers. However that particular brand has a highly checkered history throughout the EU. I would say the same for Chevy, Ssangyong (recently bankrupt), and Jeep but Bertel has a lifetime’s worth of experience in this market. As for me, I just click on Google and relay information.

      Hmmm…. I wonder about the pricing of Infiniti’s products vis a vis the competition.

      • 0 avatar

        Thanks for the tokens. I used to love to go to Chuck E Cheese when the kids were little. They had beer there. Of course I kind of thought that could be a recipe for disaster, too…

        I stand by my statement. After years of my German relatives giving me grief about American cars (like I personally could do something about it:P), I have an idea of how they feel about ‘foreign’ cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Mirko Reinhardt

      Germans DO like their Hyundais though.

  • avatar

    American cars account for the majority. No surprise there.

  • avatar
    a cat named scruffy

    I wonder if those cars are much more expensive there than they are here making them bad value for money or if Germans are like 1970s Americans who really really try to buy German products first.

  • avatar

    Well what Bertel should have done, is not only list the ten worst selling cars but also explain why that is so.

    The American Cars: The 300C and Journey have been renamed to Lancias or Fiats this year. So these are just old overstock. Why the Cherokee is selling so bad is beyond me though.

    The French Cars: The C6 is an old car and still very pricey. And when a German wants a large luxury car he buys a Benz, Audi or BMW. The 407 btw has been replaced by the much better looking 508.

    The Japanese Cars: The Lexus is old and was never really able to compete in the Market (see C6). The Infinitis are pretty new here and only have 4 or 5 dealerships. Thats not what I would call market penetration. The reception in AMS tests have been good so far.

    The Rest: Just speak for themselves.

    • 0 avatar

      You are right that the 407 has been discontinued. But Peugeot still offers the 2-door 407 Coupe. That may be an indicator for the low sales numbers. Pretty ugly car, btw, that never sold as good as the 406 2-door.

      Buying a C6 means heavy depreciation. Besides the exterior it has nothing to offer competition-wise. So, you would buy it just to demonstrate your dislike of the standard luxury car offering. Much pain, no gain.

      Regarding Infiniti: These cars suffer from a sparse dealership, they are pricey and the whole brand is still fairly unknown in Europe, as they started business here only two or three years ago without investing too much in PR. Why would I want to buy such a car?

    • 0 avatar
      Roberto Esponja

      What I wonder though, is if they are referring to the Grand Cherokee or the Jeep that is known as the Liberty in the US and the Cherokee internationally. I am thinking that may be the wrong photograph up above.

  • avatar

    OK, no surprises on the list.

    The Peugeot 407 is disontinued, the new model is the 508.

    The picture of the Jeep Cherokee is not correct, the Jeep shown in the picture is sold in Germany as the Jeep GRAND Cherokee, the Cherokee (without Grand) has also been discontinued.

    The Chrysler 300C is now the Lancia 300C, the same goes for the Dodge Journey which is now the Fiat Freemont. Chrysler and Dogde have been drawn from the European market completely and are now sold as Lancia or Fiat models. So nothing so see here …

    The Ssangyong Rexton has also been drawn from the German market, so it must have been leftover stock.

    The Infinity cars are all ugly as hell and bloated pimpmobiles that no German will ever touch with a bargepole (at least as far as I am concerned ;-)

    Lexus cars never sold well in Germany, they are not that cheaper than Audis, BMWs or a Mercedes.

  • avatar

    I don’t know who at AMS compiled all the photos, but loads of them are wrong. It also explains why the Jeep Grand Cherokee is pictured here; however, the Cherokee mentioned is the European-market Jeep Liberty, which has been taken out of the lineup along with the Patriot. Most of the cars featured are old stock, as mentioned by others. I remember Daewoos popping up in the new car sales even years after it was rebranded into Chevrolet.

    I’m actually more surprised to find the Volvo S80 (tied with the non-existent V80) and the Mercedes CLS in the bottom 50.

    An Infiniti G37 may be a good car, but not only is it sold through just a handful of dealers, it only takes on the BMW 335i and the like. However, it’s the four cylinders and the diesels that sell in Germany and the rest of Europe. Furthermore, more and more European countries use CO2 emissions as a basis for either sales tax, road tax, or both. A G37 does 247 g/km, a C 350 does 159 g/km. You do the math…

    • 0 avatar

      The Volvo S80 can be safely called a total flop. I remember seeing them only once or twice a year. And most of time the model number indicates roughly the age of the driver. :-)

    • 0 avatar

      > An Infiniti G37 may be a good car, but not only is it sold
      > through just a handful of dealers, it only takes on the
      > BMW 335i and the like. However, it’s the four cylinders and the
      > diesels that sell in Germany and the rest of Europe.

      Exactly that. No frugal 4 cylinder diesel, no estate version, no 4 cylinder turbocharged gasoline version optimized for acceptable fuel consumption. And they are offered in fully-loaded versions (maybe better value than German premium competitors but still asking huge price tag in advance to get this value) only, with little possibility of configuring the car. Infiniti is leaving 98% of market volume out of the scope of its offering.

      Then, after some years of ownership, it will be very hard to find a buyer. And before this happens, where do you want to service your Infinity?

      So there are no logical reasons for buying in even before any preference for domestic products kicks in.

      And even if all these obstacles are cleared by the potential buyer, a quick comparison of the G and the 335i will leave no doubts which car is better and carries more prestige.

      > Furthermore, more and more European countries use CO2 emissions
      > as a basis for either sales tax, road tax, or both.
      > A G37 does 247 g/km, a C 350 does 159 g/km. You do the math…

      It’s not even CO2 but the raw fuel economy from which CO2 emissions are derived. The modern diesel 3er/A4/C will propel itself fast enough on 6,5 l/100 (36 mpg US). The already very fast A4 2.0 TFSI will be happy with 9 l/100km (26 mpg US). And the G37? 11-12 l/100km, or 20 mpg. Well above the threshold of what’s tolerable.

      Lexus hybrids, especially the RX, fare a bit better simply because they are more aware of the times we are in. The deals are mostly killed due to “warm wallpaper paste” ride, tacky interior with simplistic, primitive design, poor brakes, much worse all wheel drive and a high price tag. And then, after one single test ride in ML/X5/Q5/Q7, the doubts are, well, over.

      The GS450h was never competitive because of its handling and price. And the IS has FAIL written all over it. Back seats this cramped? Boot this small? Rattling, clattering Toyota Avensis diesel? Horrid clutch take up on a manual? In a premium segment? Seriously?

      Infiniti is trying by deploying some 6 cylinder diesels in FX/EX. But that’s only one patch on the very buggy system.

  • avatar

    It’s very hard to imagine that renaming will change much with 300C or Journey. Most expensive Fiat or Lancia models (or even Alfa) haven’t sold too well either….same goes for the French cars. They sell more or less ok in smaller segments but when they need to compete with BMW5, MB E, A6 then nope, no chance. And buyers of these cars would not buy Japanese (Lexus, Infiniti) either. Probably also patriotic thing + German cars just do not have “too complex, weak and expensive to repair” image here in Europe.

    • 0 avatar

      > Most expensive Fiat or Lancia models (or even Alfa)
      > haven’t sold too well either….

      One look at the styling explains why…

      Not even Kim Jong-il would like to be seen in this ride.

      Alfa Romeos sold/sell well as long the were/are pretty (and not weird, overdone) and relatively competitive. The 159, in its times, posted good numbers not that far behind German premier league. The Julietta should also do OK.

      On the opposite, the midsize Fiat, the Croma
      is so devoid of any appeal, stance and sexiness (carries some design errors as well) that flopping was the only reasonable option for it.

    • 0 avatar

      Freemont is doing great in Italy, selling better than Bravo. Being a Fiat, Freemont sold in decent numbers in Germany.

      Lancia Thema (Chrysler 300C) will have better chances than Thesis because Fiat asks less money for it.

      In German market, Lancia Thema undercuts BMW 5er and E class by 15,000 euros (with similar level of equipment and engine power). Thema’s cons are lack of engines with 2.0L or lower displacement (both gas and diesel) and ofcourse weight.

  • avatar

    FYI, the statistics are courtesy of the all-knowing Kraftfahrtbundesamt, the German government agency that collects (amongst many other things) new car registrations. If a car is registered as new, it appears on the list. The list is agnostic of rebadging, old and new stock. If the car isn’t second-hand, it is registered as new.

    • 0 avatar

      AMS made a mistake by putting a Grand Cherokee pic, instead of Cherokee’s.

      On their sister site they got it right. One can see that Jeep sold 183 Grand Cherokees last month.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Why the Journey, it’s a great value, just look at some of its competitors which go for well over $30k over here.

    • 0 avatar

      The Journey is uncompetitve over here in Europe. Now Fiat tries to compete over a low price under the name Fiat Freemont, but I have seen not a single car on streets yet. Not that I ever saw the car with a Dodge badge at all.

      As a crossover it loses against the likes of VW Tiguan, Nissan Qashqai, Skoda Yeti, Ford Kuga, Toyota RAV4 etc.

      And as a family car it loses against the likes of VW Touran/Sharan, Ford C-Max, Grand C-Max, S-Max and Galaxy, Renault Scenic and Grand Scenic, Opel Zafira and the new Zafira Tourer.

      • 0 avatar

        Dodge sold 5 Journeys in August, but Fiat sold 213 Freemonts. (Germany)

        Freemont is a drastically bigger than Tiguan, Qashqai, Fuga, Yeti,… and it’s also bigger and has more space than Touran/Sharan, Grand Scenic, S-max,..

        Fiat sold 1,941 Freemonts last month in Italy. Freemont was 17th best selling car in Italy. Only Qashqai was better, but it’s much smaller and cheaper.

      • 0 avatar
        Mirko Reinhardt

        The Journey is 2 ft longer than the Touran, yet has about the same passenger space (but more room for luggage)
        A Sharan has more room.

      • 0 avatar

        Touran’s 3rd row is barely usefull.

        You are right, Sharan got bigger with last generation and probably has more room when seats are folded flat because of lower floor, but I don’t think that Sharan has roomier 3rd row of seats and more lugguge space behind 3rd row.

  • avatar

    No suprprises there. In rural areas BMW, VAG and to some extent Opel rule. In the cities its more of a mixed bag, but you won’t find much French cars.

    • 0 avatar

      Well this is not entirely true. In the Saarland you typically see a lot of French cars (and a lot of Fords as they have a plant in Saarlouis). No wonder as it is close to the French border and also the Saarland belonged to France every now and then.

      Also in my area there a quite a lot French cars on the roads (Germany, close to the Belgium and Luxembourg border). We also were part time French, then German, then French again over the last few hundred years … you get the idea.

      • 0 avatar

        Almost every month there is none or only one import car among 25 best selling cars in Germany.

        Ford is selling good in Germany, but it’s made in Germany, and often you can see ads in AMS or Autobild with WVs, BMWs, Opels, Fords wrapped together in German flag with a tagline – Unsere Autos!

  • avatar

    The reason the Jeep Cherokee is selling that badly is the fact that this is the car that is known in the U.S. as the Jeep Liberty.

    Bertel obviously made a mistake is putting up a photo of a GRAND Cherokee instead of the actual Cherokee/Liberty.

    If you’ve sat in a Liberty you know why it doesn’t sell in Germany.

    Next to the non-competitive nature of the Jeep Cherokee/Liberty another reason for the poor sales is that is is discontinued in Europe. What they are selling is what they have left in stock.

    The same thing can be said of the Dodge Journey and the Chrysler 300C.

    The leftover Dodge Journey’s are of the pre-intervention type and they were indeed uncompetitive.

    However the new Fiat Freemont is a very competitive car with very competitive diesel-engines.

    In the 3 months it has been on sale in Italy (other European markets are only now getting it), more units have been ordered of the Freemont than the Journey was in the 3 years that car was available in Europe.

    The new Chrysler 300/Lancia Thema will be available in Europe in a few weeks time.

  • avatar

    As a German I’d like to add a few comments: The reason why most of the fine cars that work well on the American market don’t work in Germany is because of their engines. Germans prefer highly gas-efficient high-performance Diesel engines.

    Our 2 to 3 liter diesel engines move a heavy 200 hp BMW, Audi, VW, Mercedes etc. 40 miles per gallon of Diesel.

    Infinity and Lexus have got the problem of just not being any prestigeous at all. To us they’re just Toyotas and Nissans pumped up with glitter.

    French cars usually are too soft for a German Autobahn. And a C6 costs the same as an Audi A6, Mercedes E-Class, BMW 5 series etc. So what’s the point of buying lower prestige and quality then?

  • avatar

    That Dodge Journey was probably registered for use as a ‘ring taxi. I mean, based on their ads, I assume they have some relationship to tracks, and also American muscle is doing just fine.

  • avatar

    German steering never feels overassisted? Apparently you’ve never driven an Audi or a Mercedes….That A4 steering was the numbest I have ever felt in a car of its segment.

    It’s pretty much a consensus view that the G37 handles better than an A4 or a C300.

    I suspect the real reason that Infiniti is selling so few G37s in Germany (besides German chauvinism) is twofold:

    1. The brand just got started in Europe, which is obviously going to effect sales in many ways (skepticism, brand recognition, lack of dealerships, etc.)

    2. I don’t believe that Nissan has any diesel engines available it’s Infiniti lineup yet. Gasoline engines only. That is a real handicap in the European market with its high gas prices and carbon regs.

  • avatar

    Peugot 407 , drove that car before , and it should be on that list 100%

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