By on February 17, 2012

Volkswagen keeps dominating Europe’s Top Ten list (as compiled by Jato) in January.  An 11.3 percent decrease of the Polo did not cost it its number two place, thanks to the number three Ford Fiesta dropping even more.

Rank Make & Model Jan_12 Jan_11 Change
1 VOLKSWAGEN GOLF 36,799 36,963 -0.40%
2 VOLKSWAGEN POLO 25,895 29,179 -11.30%
3 FORD FIESTA 23,870 27,366 -12.80%
4 FORD FOCUS 22,316 20,794 7.30%
5 RENAULT CLIO 18,674 25,946 -28.00%
6 PEUGEOT 207 18,325 21,026 -12.80%
7 VOLKSWAGEN PASSAT 17,694 15,337 15.40%
8 OPEL/VAUXHALL ASTRA 17,153 20,933 -18.10%
9 NISSAN QASHQAI 16,881 17,145 -1.50%
10 SKODA OCTAVIA 16,565 13,566 22.10%

Passat sales remain strong, a very strong Octavia enters the Top Ten for the first time.

Jato hopes that Fiat’s new Panda and Peugeot’s 208 will shake up the Top Ten further in the year.

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19 Comments on “Engolfed: Europe’s Best Selling Cars...”


  • avatar
    dolorean

    I would say Fiat had better focus on price. The significant drops in sales of very popular cars seems to relate to the general economic malaise of Europe right now.

  • avatar
    kitzler

    interesting numbers for the Passat and Ford Focus, which are not the bottom of the price range cars. In spite of the hard times in Europe, I see that there are still a lot of idiots buying Renaults, they must be Greeks purchasers who buy them on credit. Poor French banks that finance them.

    • 0 avatar
      lutecia

      Seriously ? Have you ever driven a modern Renault ?
      Just out of 2 years with a 2010 Clio (back to Toyota now), that car is very well equiped and competent, including on long distances where it matches compact cars. Only flaw is the design, but that car is due to be replaced soon.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Ad Astra per aspera?

  • avatar
    th009

    The biggest drops are on the smallest cars — Polo, Fiesta, 207, and the Corsa dropped completely off the list.

    Were there still some incentives in place in January 2011?

  • avatar
    fabriced28

    Last deliveries of French subsidized cars in that month (you had to sign before 31st December). And that’s maybe not the only country…

  • avatar
    fredtal

    What? No trucks or SUVs in the top 10.

  • avatar
    daviel

    How do they keep them running?

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    I’m not that smart, but it seems to me that despite some backwards momentum of late, Japanese cars (and quite a handful of U.S. domestic makes/models, also) are definitively more reliable than Volkswagens or many of the other vehicles on that list.

    I mean…Honda, Toyota – they’re nearly pikers compared to VW in Europe. WTFapplesauce?

    So, I have question for those with ears & eyes on the ground in Europe:

    Is it the case that Volkswagens sold in Europe tend to be more reliable than those sold in the U.S., or it the case that Europeans are somewhat (seemingly) very much willing to forgive reliability woes, unlike many U.S. consumers, in exchange for driving dynamics that they deem superior and/or are more used to?

    Or is something about brand/national origin loyalty?

    • 0 avatar
      threeer

      This topic (the perceived value/quality of VW at home vs. abroad) has been hashed out quite a bit here. Chalk it up to many issues…some “home team” advantage, the driving dynamic, the fact that Europeans have different expectations for their vehicles, the fact that they can get more baseline variants (while the US tends to get the higher-contented variants), also that repairs are easier to handle (and afford) at “home” versus what we deal with for foreign repairs here…

      • 0 avatar
        Cabriolet

        To answer dead weights question i think a lot of VW’s so-called troubles are over blown. I have been driving for 60 years and have owned just about every car made at one time. I have owned many asian cars and to be honest i got better service from the VW’s that i owned. Everyone complains about the price of parts. Trying buying dealer parts for a Mazda. The parts guy wears a mask at the parts counter. I have owned 8 VW’s over the years and they have given me better service then all of the other cars i have owned. I admit i take care of my cars but my wife and i brought new cars in 1986. A VW GTI & Subaru Brat. The Subaru was a nightmare. I dumped it at 80,000 miles. The VW i sold at 180,000 miles only replacing brakes, 1 clutch, 3 mufflers & one stolen radio. Since then i have owned 6 more VW’ & 2 Volvo’s

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Cabriolet, I don’t doubt that you’ve had good luck with VWs, but (and this is admittedly anectdotal, even if more broadly encompassing than most anectdotes)we had a 2006 Passat 2.0T that was a nightmare with electronic gremlins, transmission problems, and worse yet, at least 1 quart of synthetic oil burned every 700 to 1000 miles, which the VW service techs and department heads insisted was “within spec.”

        But wait, there’s more. With two exception (I will get to that), every single family member, friend or acquaintance I have known or spoken with who has owned a VW (I’d guestimate from about 1988 onward) has – to a person – has had nothing but problems; there was a work colleague who must’ve had every moving part of his 1996 Golf replaced, 2 friends who knew of many others with Audi TTs and Passats (early 2000s) who had coil pack after coil pack failures (in addition to other problems), and I could go on. I have heard more stories about problems with VWs than any other brand of vehicle, bar none.

        Now, I do have a friend who has had two Jettas, I think a 2003 and a 2007, who not only had no problems with either, but loved both cars (coincidentally or not, while he was in the U.S., he was from Ireland). I also have an old codger uncle who is a Beetle fanatic, but I’m talking the air cooled variety, who probably owned dozens of them, and also probably spent more time maintaining, servicing and repairing them, along with buffing, hand rubbing and polishing them, than time spent with his family (he could probably put a vintage Bug together blindfolded).

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      Add to that one more difference: the mandatory annual inspections in many countries: you can’t just drive your Impala or Corolla into the ground, with no shocks or breaks left: you’ll fail TÜV inspection and not be able to drive until repairs are made. So people will tend to perform more preventive maintenance to make sure their cars stay in shape.

      • 0 avatar
        Hildy Johnson

        Close to home, parts tend to be cheaper, and with a lot of mechanics specializing in VWs around, it will be easier to find a decent one. While living in Germany, I was driving a Golf, too, but here, with only one dubious VW dealer in town, I wouldn’t.

  • avatar
    nrd515

    A friend of mine lived in Germany and Austria for a few years and got into VWs big time about 20 years ago. When he came back here, he bought his first new car, a ’92 or ’93 Jetta. It was horrible, but just a warmup for it’s replacement, a 96′ Jetta that was so bad, he actually considered having it “stolen”, just to get it gone. The VW dealer was a turd and no help at all, not even giving him a “frequent visitor” loaner when the damn thing was in the shop more than a day, and that was a pretty frequent occurance. He got married and had a kid soon after he bought it, and his wife, after a couple times being stranded in it, refused to drive it, so around ’00, it got traded for a 4Runner, which rusted pretty badly, but was perfect mechanically. Last December, he bought his latest vehicle, moving to the opposite pole from the VW love of his past, an Ecoboost powered F150 4×4. The engine is an unknown, but he tells everyone, he loves the thing. I understand the pickup love, I see my ’03 Ram almost every day, and want another one. I don’t miss the 12 MPG it got though. My Challenger’s 17+ is a much easier number to live with.

  • avatar
    svenmeier

    As a European (I am Swiss), I’ve owned my share of Renaults, Peugeots, Opels, Mercedes’ and now a Volkswagen Jetta TDI and these cars have never given me any major problems. In the ’70s and ’80s I was what you’d call a traveling salesman/negotiator for a French wood company. My job required me to drive all over France and visit various forestries and inspect the wood, negotiate deals and so forth. My cars never gave me any trouble even though I averaged close to 35,000 km a year. The worst problems I experienced were rust-related, which affected all cars back then.

    Basic car care is the key to prolonging your vehicles life and keeping it generally reliable. I’m no mechanic, but I treated my cars right and did the basic maintenance myself. Never had problems with my Renaults, Peugeots and other European cars.

    This Frenchman kept his 1976 Fiat 131 Mirafiori in working order by treating it right and doing basic maintenance himself. The mileage of this car? 1,025,098 km. The first breakdown happened at 878,582 km due to a broken timing belt. Rust wasn’t even an issue here since by then Fiat had somewhat controlled the problem.

    http://www.autobild.de/klassik/artikel/fiat-131-mirafiori-1596558.html

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