Friday 1 February 2008

Top 10 cars sold in Europe in 2007

According to figures from industry data firm JATO Dynamics, the overall European market grew by just under 1% which, while it doesn't sound like much, is "a significant achievement" according to a JATO spokesman.

So much of the industry waffle, what about the figures? Well, VW remains at the top of the brand leaderboard, having sold just over 1.6 million cars on the European market. GM comes in second with 1.3 million, Ford just 36,000 sales behind in third. Of the top 10 manufacturers only Renault and Peugeot recorded overall falls in sales, although they maintained their respective rankings of fourth and fifth. And the cars? Well, GM, Volkswagen and Peugeot are going to be happy but don't expect the same cheer at Renault. The results as follow:

1st: Peugeot 207

Sales: 437,505, +105.5%

The Fiesta and Corsa both sell considerably more than the baby Peugeot here in the UK, the 207 coming 6th in the sales charts and selling more than 35,000 fewer than the ever popular Ford. But Europe wide the 207 is king, posting a remarkable level of growth, despite Peugeot posting an overall dip in sales of 1.4%. This pales against the 105.5% expansion in 207 sales though, a victory that must come as particularly sweet considering the Clio's poor performance over the same period. If the new 308 can match its baby brother's success and do the same in the C-segment Peugeot could be set for an amazing year.

2nd: Volkswagen Golf

Sales: 435,055, +4.5%

It's hard to argue with the Golf and even against stiff competition VW's star performer recorded a 4.5% boost to its European sales. Volkswagen has further reason to be proud of 2007's results, having sold 118,322 more cars overall than it did in 2006. And given the general doom and gloom about the world economic situation that has to be seen as a positive result. The current fifth generation Golf was due to be replaced this year with a more profitable (cheaper to produce) version this year but it looks like this won't happen before 2009. It doesn't look like there's any need to rush.

3rd: Ford Focus

Sales: 406,557, -7.5%

Britain's most popular car, the Focus has similar popularity Europe wide, even if sales have dropped off a bit during 2007. Ford is unlikely to be concerned though, thanks to the mid life facelift and reinvigorated 'kinetic design' updates revealed late last year. This, combined with a brand new dual-clutch automated gearbox plus a whole range of sub 120g/km diesels and the even greener Econetic model, should ensure continued dominance for the mid-range Ford. Here in the UK the Focus retained its number one spot, a position it has occupied every year since 1999, selling 1.2 million examples in Britain alone.

4th: Vauxhall/Opel Corsa

Sales: 402,173, +41.7%

The lippy woollen puppets are going to be shouting even louder with a 41.7% boost in sales for Vauxhall's critically acclaimed Corsa. Buyers obviously appreciate the car's refinement and quality, strong pricing and a wide range of engines, even if the less powerful ones struggle with the car's added heft. Vauxhall has expanded the range of hot Corsas too, with a new SRI complementing the red hot VXR version - the latter officially the fastest supermini around the Nürburgring's Nordschleife. The Corsa's fourth place in Europe matched its position in the UK sales chart too, with just over 94,000 registrations in 2007.

5th: Vauxhall/Opel Astra

Sales: 402,044, -7.9%

Sales may be on the wane for the Astra but Vauxhall can't feel too upset, even posting a modest increase in overall sales for 2007. Against its arch rival, the Focus, the Astra fared well, selling just 4,513 fewer examples in Europe. It was a similar story here in the UK too, with the Astra's tally of 113,894 registrations putting it in second place on the overall sales charts, 13,034 fewer than the Focus. A good result, but Vauxhall has no time to rest on its laurels, especially with a refreshed Focus reaching showrooms this month.

6th: Renault Clio

Sales: 382,041, -11.5%

An apparently strong result for the Clio masks concerns for Renault, with sales of the crucial supermini falling by over 10%. Relatively fresh and with a strong engine line up packed with clean diesels and efficient turbocharged petrol engines, the Clio deserves to do better than this and Renault must be wondering where it went wrong. It gets worse too - overall sales are down by 8.3%, the biggest fall of any of the manufacturers in the top 10. Here's hoping the new Laguna and forthcoming Laguna coupe can inject a bit of va-va-voom into the sales figures this year.

7th: FIAT Grande Punto

Sales: 377,989, -5.9%

OK, so a fall of nearly 6% for Punto sales isn't great. But they'll still be beaming over in Turin. Why's that? An overall growth for 2007 of 7.7% and sales just shy of a million mean Fiat wins the prize for most improved results of the year and for that you can thank the Punto's baby brother, the new 500. It's only just launched in right-hand drive but it's been on sale in Europe since September and FIAT's Polish factory can't build them fast enough and with huge excitement here in the UK about the new model you can expect even greater success for 2008, with a 6 - 12 week waiting list.

8th: Ford Fiesta

Sales: 300,566, +0.6%

Given that it's due for replacement, 2007 isn't bad for the Fiesta sales, even posting a tiny increase. And with this level of popularity should Ford really start afresh and ditch the Fiesta name in favour of Verve? There will be some sleepless nights among Ford execs as they wrestle with the decision but with this, the new Kuga and the facelifted Focus Ford's line up for 2008 looks very strong indeed. It needs to be too, given the sale of premium brands like Jaguar and Land Rover and the continued appalling losses in its US homeland.

9th: Volkswagen Passat

Sales: 300,566, -9.4%

Sales are down by nearly 10% but the Passat nonetheless leads the family segment. It's going to have its work cut out this year, as it fends off sharp new rivals from all corners. Ford's Mondeo has been a huge critical success and the recently launched Mazda 6 has also been very well received. Honda will launch its new Accord this year and Vauxhall will have its Insignia too and let's not forget the french firms: the new Laguna is now making its presence felt and a resurgent Citroen will also be weighing in with a brand new C5.

10th: BMW 3 Series

Sales: 295,312, +2%

If you ever doubted that premium was the new mainstream it's time to sit up and pay attention! The fact that BMW only sold 5,000 fewer 3-Series than Ford did Fiestas is proof of the aspirational appeal of ever popular compact BMW. Growth of 2% is impressive by any stretch but the more so when you consider the current E90 model has now been around for nearly three years. With Mini sales climbing by 26.8% and BMW's ever expanding range, the blue propellor's domination of the European market looks set to continue.

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