By on March 17, 2013

The next stop on our  ‘what the XXX bought in 2012′ is Germany, after going to ChinaEuropeRussiaIndiaIsraelItaliaIndonesiaFrance and Canada.

Not what you had in mind? That’s ok, you can check the best-selling models and brands in 172 additional countries and territories on my blog. Enjoy!

Back to Germany. And in 2012 a few models broke their all-time annual volume records… Jump in to know more!

Mercedes SL

In a gloomy European context, German new car sales have remained very solid in 2012, down just 3% year-on-year to 3,082,504 registrations.

Check out the Top 50 best-selling brands in Germany in 2012 here

In the brands ranking, all 3 premium German carmakers now belong in the Top 4 for the first time in history: below Volkswagen solid at 21.8% share, Mercedes improves to 9.2% thanks to 283,006 sales while Audi gains 6% to land at #3 with 266,582 units and 8.6% share. BMW rounds up the Top 4, down 3% on 2011. The two other ‘German’ (although US-owned) mainstream brands fall heavily: Opel is down 16% to #5 and Ford down 11% at #6, even passed by Skoda and threatened by Hyundai in December

Germany (and not Spain) is now Seat’s #1 market in the world.

Check out the Top 50 best-selling brands in Germany in 2012 here

Korean brands lodge the best performances in the Top 20: Hyundai is up 16% to #9 and Kia up 30% to #16, with Seat (+15%) and Dacia (+9%) also performing very well. Further down, Land Rover is up 67% to #27 thanks to the Evoque and Subaru is up 52% to #28. Notice also Ferrari up 12%, Bentley up 40% and Lamborghini up 23%.

Check out the Top 50 best-selling brands in Germany in 2012 here

VW Golf

In the models ranking, the VW Golf is unsurprisingly the most popular model in the country for the 32nd consecutive year (no interruption since 1981!) and for the 37th time in the last 38 years, with only the Mercedes W123 interrupting its reign in 1980. It sells 240,702 units for a 7.8% market share, down 7% on 2011 but the arrival of the 7th generation late this year should give it a kick in 2013.

Check out the Top 300 best-selling models in Germany in 2012 here

In fact the podium is unchanged on 2011 with the VW Passat (-14%) and Polo (-16%) following in the ranking, making it the 2nd year in a row (and ever) that Volkswagen monopolises the year-end German podium.

Mercedes B-Class

Check out the Top 300 best-selling models in Germany in 2012 here

The Mercedes C-Class (-13%) and Opel Astra (-23%) exchange positions, while the BMW 3 Series is up one spot to #6. But the most impressive progression in the Top 10 is without a doubt delivered by the Mercedes B-Class, boosted by the arrival of the new model. It simply doubles its sales vs. last year and gains 21 spots to reach a record #7 at 59,420 units, even breaking into the monthly podium for the very first time in September at #3. The BMW 1 Series, also supported by a new generation, is up 7 ranks and 12% to #8 with 59,241 sales and hits a record #2 in December.

VW Tiguan

Check out the Top 300 best-selling models in Germany in 2012 here

The other model hitting a significant milestone this year is the VW Tiguan, up 8 spots and 22% to a best-ever #11 at 55,615 units. While it had only broken into the monthly Top 10 twice before 2012, it repeats this feat no less than 7 times this year, peaking at #7. The Audi A6/A7 is also up 8 ranks to #13, the Skoda Octavia is stable at its highest ever year-end ranking (#17) while the VW Up! manages to break into the German year-end Top 20 for its first full year of sales in the country at #20 with 42,842 units.

The Nissan Qashqai is the #1 ‘true’ import in Germany in 2012

Check out the Top 300 best-selling models in Germany in 2012 here

Given Skoda and Seat are 100% owned by the Volkswagen Group, the best-selling ‘true’ foreign model in Germany this year and for the first time ever is the Nissan Qashqai in spite of sales down 11% to #29. It only just passes the Hyundai i30 at #30 (-12%) with the Renault Megane (#37), Toyota Yaris (#38) and Renault Clio (#40) the only other imports in the Top 40.

Mercedes ML-Class

Other great performers include the Opel Zafira up 52% to #26, Audi Q3 up 778% to #34 for its first full year of sales, Hyundai ix35 up 44% to #48, Mercedes GLK up 34% to #51, Mercedes ML-Class up 117% to #58 and Hyundai i40 up 433% to #87. 4 all-new models appear in the Top 100: the Peugeot 208 lukewarm at #66, the Mazda CX-5 at #86, Skoda Citigo at #90 and Seat Mii at #97.

Check out the Top 300 best-selling models in Germany in 2012 here

In the luxury segment, notice the Porsche Cayenne up 40% to #89, Range Rover Evoque up 377% #123, BMW 6 Series up 79% to #161, Mercedes SL-Class up 256% to #170, Bentley Continental up 54% to #257 and the Lamborghini Aventador up 633% to #303.

You can also check the previous year ranking: Germany Full Year 2011: VW Golf, Passat and Polo on podium

There you go.

You now know everything to know about what the Germans bought in 2012.

You’re welcome.

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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24 Comments on “Best Selling Cars Around The Globe: What The Germans Bought in 2012...”

  • avatar

    In regards to the VW ad, it is nice to see TV ads for cars that focus on the actual vehicle. I swear if I have to sit through another pseudo celebrity focused endorsement of GM product I’ll puke. Another question, why do the Europeans get that commercial and we get “guy who can’t throw a baseball teaches his son”?

    • 0 avatar

      Same reason we don’t get 1.6, 1.8, 2.0 liter Golfs and get very few diesels.

    • 0 avatar

      VW has the best commercials, without a doubt. If only their cars were as good. Remember Helga?

      Now picture the best cars around. Can you recall any of their commercials?

      • 0 avatar

        And that is because the US does not get any of the good ones… Except the GTI and even that one is de-tuned… Sigh!

        • 0 avatar

          Shouldn’t the US get equally good VWs. Why do we get the scraps? Aren’t we a bigger market? And with greater potential?

          But then the US asks more from cars. More miles, more heat, more stress, more duty cycles. So they’re probably the same vehicles. If not, we should definitely get the better ones.

          • 0 avatar

            You guys just don’t want to pay for it. Car prices in the US are by far the lowest of all industrialized nations, but mileage is the highest.

            That’s why you often get cheaper, simpler, tried and tested older technology.

          • 0 avatar

            It’s not just that we don’t want to pay Audi prices for VWs, but we’re not fans of VWs with Porsche like repair bills and reliability.

          • 0 avatar

            Speaking as a current 2012 GTI owner, we get the crap of the Golf line because VW only sells about 40,000 Golfs/GTI’s here per year. Compare that to France, a country roughly the size of Texas and VW sells around 50,000 Golfs. As a whole, VW considers the US market as too small to be taken really seriously. Just ask anyone who’s had real problems with their dealer network.

          • 0 avatar

            Base Jetta US: 115hp, 2.0, electric everything (windows, mirrors, keyless entry, MP3 Radio): $16,720 excluding tax

            Base Jetta Germany: 1.2l, 105hp (no keyless entry, no Radio): $23.460 excluding tax

            You’re not only not paying Audi prices, you’re not even paying VW prices.

            And that’s why the US gets the venerable 2l engine and Europe gets a modern, fuel efficient FSI Turbo. US gets the twist beam rear axle while Europe gets multilink. US gets hard plastics, Europe gets more upscale interior materials…

      • 0 avatar

        I still don’t understand why in the US people say that VW are not good cars while in Europe they are considered one of the best!

        Everyone keeps saying that the average american drives many miles on cars and things like cars have to have a lot of horse power…

        In europe, in average, we drive less miles a year but we drive much faster and with smaller cars. Our speed limit is higher than tha average american speed limit and in south europe (Italy, Spane, Greece a bit in France) we don’t usually respect the limit and drive faster. I have a 1.6 gas 110 horse power pegeout with a little over 110.000 miles on it that did about half those miles in european bumper to bumper city traffic and the other half on the highway driving 800 km at a time averaging 95/100mph…

        Are cars all run on regular pump gas no car needs premium gas seeing that the min octane you find on pump gas here is 95 against 89 in the states.

        • 0 avatar

          “Are cars all run on regular pump gas no car needs premium gas seeing that the min octane you find on pump gas here is 95 against 89 in the states.”

          That’s 95 RON, right? That’s equivalent to about 91 AKI (the lowest octane that would be called “premium” here). 89 AKI, which is typically the mid-grade, is about 93 RON.

          In the US, we usually have a choice of 87 AKI, 89 AKI, and 91-94 AKI (depends on which state, California only allows 91, but on the east coast, you can see 92, 93, and 94 for “premium” or “ultra”).

          But you have to convert RON to AKI first. AKI is (RON+MON)/2, and MON is usually 8-10 lower than RON. This was covered in one of the Sajeev’s columns recently.

          • 0 avatar

            Even if the standard is not the same you can see that gas in europe is of better quality our 95 is your 91 which is more than 89… Our high octane gas is 98 ron with shel selling 100 ron Vpower in italy.

            I think that at the end quality of gas is important for the engine to work properly and last longer.

        • 0 avatar

          European brands just aren’t cut out for sitting idle in traffic for hours at a time, especially in the scorching southwestern US desert states with the AC cranked.

          This why Japanese brands have done so well in the US. Currently in California, Japanese cars make up 100% of the top 6 spots while the F-150 is #7.

          The Japanese brands started taking over the US market in the ’70s because they were overbuilt and our cars were so bad. Italian, English and French cars all had a chance back then, but couldn’t come close to cutting the mustard. German and Swedish cars were the best Europe had to offer. They still are, but can’t beat the reliability of Japanese (or domestics) in the US.

        • 0 avatar

          Because our VWs keep catching on fire?

          I literally don’t think I know anyone who owns or has owned a VW in the past decade who was satisfied with the product and would consider buying another VAG product any time soon.

          Shame, since the VWs and especially Audis are very handsome vehicles that would do much better if anyone trusted them.

          • 0 avatar

            Agreed! I liked a lot about my TDI, but it was a 6 year old car that ate transmissions,andi even had to back it over a mile home when 1st gear stopped working completely at one point. Having that happen on a 6 year old vehicle (in 2097) with only 100k miles means that VW just wasn’t up to the task.

            My VW Jetta TDI holds the distinction of being the car I’ve owned that I’ve loved the most, AND the car that I hated the most. I’d love to be a VW devotee, because zippy little cars with interesting technology under the hood are my thing. But it ain’t happening until VW makes a sustained quality push on every front (engineering, repairability, dealer network, parts prices/availability, etc). I haint seen that happen yet, so I’ll stick with boring dependable Toyota appliances…..

  • avatar

    It looks to me like the German market is not as badly off as I had been lead to believe.

  • avatar

    Twice as many of Weismann Roadster as Dodge Nitro is more or less to be expected. In Germany. Or maybe anywhere. But who in their wildest ever imagined the kind of rope-a-dope, winner take all slugfest between Scirocco and Jimny? But, after all, the thing does hold the high altitude, four wheeled championship of the world, so it’s got that going for it. Death watch indeed.

  • avatar

    Interesting to see that the top-selling model (VW Golf) outsold #s 2,3, &4 combined.

    Also, how dependent Mercedes is on smaller cars – C-class and B-class both outsell the E-class by a wide margin. The new-model A-class was only introduced in Q4, so may also outsell E-class in 2013.

  • avatar
    Kevin Jaeger

    It’s really amazing to see how well Hyundai/Kia are doing. Hyundai has already passed Toyota and sells four times the volume of Honda. That’s amazing considering how long the Japanese have had to establish their presence.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    It’s good that the German’s only dropped several percentage points in annual sales. The German’s are heavily reliant on exports anyway so this will impact them less whilst export are gaining traction, especially in the Asian market.

    I had a good look at he Skoda Superb wagon from the Czech Republic and in Australia a few years ago it won the best prestige vehicle. It was an all wheel drive wagon with a 3.5 litre VW V6. It was an impressive vehicle. Build quality was slightly down on what the German’s normally produce.

    I do know that Hyundai/Kia has made huge investments in the old Eastern Euro area. Building factories to manufacture their vehicles. Hyundai/Kia will be a force to reckon with in a decade by the top vehicle manufacturers.

    I noticed someone made the comment that the US should get the “better” vehicles from VW. The view was the US is the biggest market.

    The US market isn’t as big as the UNECE market. That’s why Ford wants the US to move in that direction. The US could many more vehicles ie, Perfromance cars, SUVs, midsizers etc:)if it frees up its market.

  • avatar

    I do not get the joke about Canadians in the end of the article.

  • avatar


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