By on November 15, 2011

Over the last couple of weeks we traveled in space through ColombiaChina and South Korea, and in time through the USA in 1975. This week we are getting icy and hop onto Sweden.

If you are not in for a snowstorm, you are going to struggle through this article I’m afraid! But hey, I’ve also prepared 159 additional countries for you to visit in my blog, and I can tell you it is super good, so click away!

Volvo is still the king of Swedish roads, placing 4 models in the Top 8 last month, while there was no Saab model in the Top 50…

The Swedish car market is in great shape this year, with 252,590 registrations over the first 10 months of 2011, up 8 percent on the same period in 2010. In October though, sales were down 5% at 25,052 units.

We may be on the cusp of a once-in-15-years event as far as the best selling models in Sweden are concerned…

Since 1996, the Volvo V70 has been the most popular car in the country. Yep, that’s nearly 16 years in a row, simply the longest-running #1 in the history of Swedish automobile. No less. For 2011, its title is safe: the V70 has accumulated 17,931 sales over the first 10 months of the year for a 7.1 percent market share… In October it is still Number 1 with 1,883 sales and 7.5 percent share. But 2012 might be a different story.

Launched exactly one year ago, the Volvo V60 – yes, another station wagon, I’ll come back to this – has been improving its scores all through 2011 to reach the 2nd place with 1,724 units sold and 6.9 percent share in October, its best performance so far. Slightly less expensive than the V60 and more modern, it has real chances to upset the cards and become Sweden’s best-selling car in 2012… so stay tuned for an update next year.

Like in Norway, Volkswagen is in a very strong position in Sweden: the Passat is #3 in October with 6.4 percent of the market, and #2 in 2011 year-to-date at 5 percent, while the Golf is #4 in October with 4.1 percent and #3 year-to-date at 4.2 percent.

Now. The 5th place in October goes to the Volvo V50. And that’s 3 Volvo station wagons in the Top 5! So yes, Swedish consumers are very fond of station wagons. They are even the world’s biggest fans of station wagons! So much so that Volvo can sustain 3 large wagons in their range.

The best-selling Volvo sedan in Sweden in October is only 24th and it’s the S60 at just 1 percent share…

…well below the best-selling Volvo 4WD, the XC60 at #8 and 2.1 percent share.

And far as Volvo’s only (kind of) hatchback, the C30, it stands well below the Top 50 with just 76 sales and 0.3 percent share in October, #54 with 1,295 sales and 0.5 percent share over 2011 year-to-date…

Other notable performers in Sweden include the Kia Cee’d at #6 with 2.4 percent share in October, the Audi A4 at #7 and th Renault Megane at #9 year-to-date.

Sweden, October Top 20

Pos Model Oct %
1 Volvo V70 1,883 7.5%
2 Volvo V60 1,724 6.9%
3 VW Passat 1,613 6.4%
4 VW Golf 1,030 4.1%
5 Volvo V50 704 2.8%
6 Kia Cee’d 611 2.4%
7 Audi A4 552 2.2%
8 Volvo XC60 531 2.1%
9 VW Polo 479 1.9%
10 Skoda Octavia 438 1.7%
11 Ford Focus 430 1.7%
12 Renault Clio 420 1.7%
13 Skoda Fabia 418 1.7%
14 BMW 5-Serie 413 1.6%
15 VW Tiguan 410 1.6%
16 Renault Megane 385 1.5%
17 Toyota Auris 355 1.4%
18 Mercedes C Class 339 1.4%
19 Audi A3 319 1.3%
20 Kia Sportage 305 1.2%

Sweden, 2011 Year-to-Date Top 20

Pos Model 2011 %
1 Volvo V70 17,931 7.1%
2 VW Passat 12,677 5.0%
3 VW Golf 10,696 4.2%
4 Volvo V60 10,184 4.0%
5 Volvo V50 7,929 3.1%
6 Kia Cee’d 5,661 2.2%
7 Audi A4 5,283 2.1%
8 Volvo XC60 5,207 2.1%
9 Renault Megane 4,700 1.9%
10 Ford Focus 4,628 1.8%
11 BMW 5-Serie 4,547 1.8%
12 Skoda Fabia 4,044 1.6%
13 Renault Clio 3,947 1.6%
14 BMW 3-Serie 3,871 1.5%
15 Skoda Octavia 3,768 1.5%
16 VW Polo 3,727 1.5%
17 Mercedes C Class 3,518 1.4%
18 Toyota Auris 3,175 1.3%
19 Nissan Qashqai 3,164 1.3%
20 Opel Astra 3,049 1.2%

And now for the golden nugget, let’s spare a few words for Saab.
The troubled manufacturer cannot even count on its home country to sustain a few sales: the Saab 9-3 only sold 36 units in October for a meager 0.1 percent market share, it is #24 year-to-date at 1.1 percent share, while the Saab 9-5 is at just 6 sales in October a 719 (0.3 percent share) over 2011…

That’s it!

You are now an expert on Swedish car sales – yes you are!

You can also check out the October and year-to-date 2011 Top 50 in Sweden here 

You can check out Historical Data for Sweden up to 1957 here (click on ‘Older entries’ to see older data – doh!)

Sales figures sourced from BIL Sweden

Matt Gasnier, based in Sydney, Australia, runs a blog named Best Selling Cars, dedicated to counting cars all over the world.

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40 Comments on “Best Selling Cars Around The Globe: Volvo Still King Of Swedish Roads, Saab Out Of Sight...”

  • avatar

    I would imagine that the majority of Passats sold in Sweden are wagons as well. Ditto A4s, 3-Series, and 5-Series, and C-class. Practical folk, those Swedes. All of Europe really – wagons are soo much more useful than sedans.

    As for Saab, it is pretty hard to be on the sales charts when you haven’t built any cars in six months or more. I was in Sweden this past summer, the Saab dealer lots were BARE, and that was in early August. And we visited several, as I was in Scandinavia to attend the Saab Festival in Finland. Even the HUGE Saab dealership in Trollhatten down the street from the factory had all of about three new cars on offer. So big surprise they hardly sold any cars in October. How were they doing before the “troubles”? Saabs are EVERYWHERE in Sweden.

    It is impressive that as BIG and relatively expensive car as the Volvo V70 is the best selling car in Sweden. Also interesting that the 5-series outsells the rather cheaper 3-series. Though the 5-series wagon is HUGE in comparison to the 3-series wagon, so I guess I should not be that surprised.

    • 0 avatar

      Of course, if you live in a country where half of your income is automatically stolen deducted by the state, you have no choice but to be practical. So much for living in a paradise, eh?

      • 0 avatar

        And yet, they’re one of the happiest countries on the planet and the USA isn’t. Go figure.

      • 0 avatar

        And they are indirectly dependent on American consumption. All freeloading socialist nations are.

      • 0 avatar

        Mad dogs and Englishmen, or was it Mad Englishmen and dogs?

      • 0 avatar
        PJ McCombs

        Not here to get into a policy debate, Eldard, but diff’rent strokes for diff’rent folks and all that. Swedes pay high taxes, but most get their money back in the form of some of the best infrastructure, employment benefits, and medical care in the world. Those services don’t come from the ‘benefits fairy’ in other developed countries, which is why many of their people don’t enjoy the same high standards of living unless they’re independently quite wealthy.

        Back on topic, it’s sad to see Saab doing so poorly in its country of origin. Probably speaks to its national character having been lost somewhere along the way…

      • 0 avatar

        Eldard – if having half your income taken as tax was so bad (in the Swedish context) then why do they seem to sell so many premium or luxury cars?

      • 0 avatar
        Hildy Johnson

        Funny how in a place where everyone gets robbed blind by the state the best-selling cars are such nicely appointed wagons.

      • 0 avatar

        @PJ: Try borrowing. Sweden is the 15th largest externally indebted nation in the world. Much bigger than their GDP. And that’s different from public debt.

      • 0 avatar

        @mikey: as explained by others below, most are fleets. And Volvos and C-classes are hardly expensive.

    • 0 avatar

      Don’t you ever get tired, Eldard, pissing on your own national pride? It gets tiresome…

      • 0 avatar

        That’s too bad. I’m neither American nor Swedish. (Thank God!)

      • 0 avatar

        So, why do you have so much against the Swedish system? Did they take your sister hostage or what? I’m not trying to start a flame war, I’m just tired of your rants.

      • 0 avatar
        Hildy Johnson

        Eldard is a troll – a nice, clean textbook case of a troll. Any attempt to reason with a troll will just elicit more trolling.

      • 0 avatar

        Of course I know he’s a troll. And I’m rather tired of his trolling. That’s why I bring this question out in the open, rather than falling for a flame war. If it was up to me, I’d have him banned.

      • 0 avatar

        Because I want to see the economies of socialist states slow to a crawl? (And they will. Their systems are unsustainable. Just ask America, a socialist state in denial.) People who’ve been spoiled by a nanny government are generally the greatest whiners (again, ask Americans.) And them experiencing hardship is a wonderful thing to observe. You know, a glorious case of schadenfraude? :)

  • avatar

    Very sad. I’m not a SAAB fan, nor have I ever owned a SAAB, but I still hate to see any car maker go under. I see the “celebrate diversity” bumper stickers all the time– I like to celebrate the diversity of having different auto makers–good or bad. It’ll be a sad day when our choices can be narrowed down to a few automotive conglomerates.

  • avatar

    Kia runs a commercial saying that Kia Ceed is the no 1 car sold to private persons.
    I don´t know if its true but probably, or else they would get sued.

  • avatar

    Those “large” cars are mostly fleet sales. Cars like the V70, Passat, A4, and the BMW 5-series. They are company perks. Some are owned (or mostly leased) by companies, the use are paid for by the employee. Some are privately owned, ownership tax subsidized, running cost paid for by the company (when the car is used for company work). Privately owned cars are mostly smaller, like the Golf and Kia C’eed. So, that’s why the Swedes have a prevalence for large cars.

    • 0 avatar

      I would argue that it’s actually the other way around to some extent: like in many European countries, the taxation system makes company cars a financially attractive option, so companies frequently offer a company car as part of the compensation (instead of a higher salary).

      Given that those jobs are primarily the higher-paying white-collar ones, and those are the people most likely to driver larger cars, the result is that large cars are usually sold to fleets, but for personal use.

      • 0 avatar

        “companies frequently offer a company car as part of the compensation (instead of a higher salary).”

        Well, that was what I meant with a company perk. There’s a tax bracket in wages, above a certain level, the taxes rises steeply. Perks like that is a way to pay higher de facto wages, while still be under the tax bracket roof.

        There’s also a tax bracket in the subsidy of cars. It’s only valid for cars under 320 000 swedish kronor, or about 47 000 dollars. It’s a constant struggle for the car makers to keep their attractive offerings under that bracket. Most BMW and Mercedes cars are therefore sold with the smallest engine capacity available. People prefer a 5-series with a smaller engine over a 3-series with a larger engine. That’s also the answer to why the Mercedes C-klass is on the list, I’d guess it’s the only car available under that bracket. There are different roofs on different brackets, making certain specifications more attractive than others.

        But I’m really not that knowledgeble in the details. Perhaps someone in the know could clarify exactly?

      • 0 avatar

        Try borrowing. Sweden is the 15th largest externally indebted nation in the world. Much bigger than their GDP. And that’s different from public debt.

  • avatar

    It’s a pity about the Saabs. A Volvo wagon has always been the best selling vehicle in Sweden, but there has always been a Saab or two on the top ten.

  • avatar

    I see all these brands that aren’t available or even seen in the USA. I wonder what it’s like to own and drive a “Skoda”?

    Not a single Impala on that list, either. Pity…

  • avatar

    If the Swedes, with their snowy icy weather, prefer a FWD wagon as their #1 seller what does that reveal about the marketing of AWD systems everywhere else? Maybe that they’re completely unnecessary.

    • 0 avatar

      I am reasonably sure that in Sweden the XC70 isn’t offered, and the V70 comes with an AWD option.

      • 0 avatar

        It is available in Sweden, just not with quite as many engine choices and slightly higher prices compared to V70 AWD models.

        XC70 comes with T6 petrol or D3/D5 diesel(163/215hp), the smaller diesel is available with FWD or AWD, the other two are always AWD. The V70 is available with more engines, T4 and T5 petrols, A Bi-Fuel model and a 1.6 diesel DRIVe model.

        My educated guess is that they just don’t see the point of it. AWD is nice but not really neccesary. We have the same climate here as in Sweden and i’ve never needed AWD. FWD and RWD work perfectly fine with good winter tyres which are mandatory anyway, never even owned a car with traction control.

    • 0 avatar

      Unnecessary, but so much more fun than 2WD; and most in Sweden will even be equipped with proper (factory studded) winter tires. An AWD vehicle on good tires and without nannies is a winter sports car.

  • avatar

    The last time I was in Sweden, something like 5 years ago, I certainly didn’t see Saabs “EVERYWHERE” at least not in Stockholm anyway. I certainly saw V70s (which was then the wagon version of the S60) everywhere, mixed with a few other cars. I remember seeing exactly one Saab 9-3, and zero Saab 9-5s. I also saw an old ’70s muscle car, which was pretty interesting. I bet that guy gets a lot of strange looks over there.

    Stockholm is gorgeous. You can complain about the taxes all you want, but it makes NY and Chicago look like garbage.

    • 0 avatar

      Plenty of Saab 9-5s as taxis, though not as many as there are V70s and E-class Mercs.

      Old american iron is pretty ingrained in Swedish culture, what with the worlds largest* outdoor american car show being held there for example. Since 1977. You would think the largest show would be in the states but no… some pictures here

      *according to Wikipedia / An estimated 11.000 cars attended in 2004 and it hasn’t exactly gotten smaller since then..

  • avatar

    Elk test? They sure have some funny-looking elk in Sweden.

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