Currently reading: Best-selling cars in Europe
Cheap and cheerful Dacia Sandero claims top position from the Volkswagen Golf, which trails just behind
4 mins read
26 August 2021

European output of new cars fell 24% year-on-year in July as total volume decreased from 1.27 million to 967,830.

Year-to-date figures remain positive, up 17%, with 7,381,735 new cars registered, although this figure is still down 24% on 2019.

“Despite the efforts of national governments to boost consumer confidence, the impact of the pandemic is still being felt by the industry,” said industry analysis firm Jato Dynamics.

In contrast to the overall trend. electrified cars (EVs and plug-in hybrids) recorded their best July results yet, making up 17% of the market, up from 8% in June 2020.

EVs totalled 160,646 units for the month, marking the second-highest monthly market share after June 2021 and the third-highest ever in Europe.

“Consumers continue to respond positively to the deals and incentives attached to EVs, which have made these vehicles far more competitive in terms of their pricing,” said Jato.

“But despite [them] becoming increasingly popular, consumer uptake hasn't been enough to offset the big drops posted by diesel cars.”

Diesel registrations heavily decreased by 166,000 between July 2020 and July 2021 and by almost 207,000 between July 2019 and July 2021. Meanwhile, EVs gained 49,000 between July 2020 and July 2021 and 125,000 between July 2019 and July 2021.

The market share for petrol cars has also declined steadily, from 63.4% in July 2019 to 59.8% in July 2020 and 59% last month. This is attributed to the impact of EV campaigns in the market, according to Jato, which insists that there's still more to be done to recover the market. 

“The industry isn't yet doing enough to enable EVs to absorb the losses sustained by traditional powertrains,” said Jato.

SUVs still dominate overall market share, claiming 46.1% of all sales.

Here are the best-selling cars in Europe in June 2021:

Dacia Sandero 20,446, +6%

The Dacia Sandero is Britain's cheapest car and was Europe's most popular car in July. It sports a stylish new look and is even packed with a few features that some would consider premium, including LED headlights and an infotainment touchscreen on higher trim levels. It uses the same basic platform as the latest Renault Clio, and its affordability has no doubt played a huge part in its roaring success.

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Volkswagen Golf 19,425, -37%

The latest-generation Volkswagen Golf arrived in Europe last summer. The Golf has always been one of the region's best-selling cars, but it last month lost out on the top spot to the cheaper Sandero. New variants, including the GTI Clubsport and R, should help it solidify its strong position in future months.

Toyota Yaris 18,858, +3% 

The Toyota Yaris jumped up to third place from sixth for July sales, with a total of 18,858 examples purchased. Expect another strong performance next month, driven by demand for the attractive new Mk4 model's frugal hybrid powertrain and promise of reliability. Recently winning the gong for the European Car of the Year 2021 won’t hurt its chances, either.

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Volkswagen Polo 17,343, -8%

The Volkswagen Polo is July's biggest climber, from 10th place all the way up to fourth, with 17,343 examples sold in Europe in July. A new-look Polo was revealed back in April, with a front LED light strip and other Golf-inspired design features. Expect that model to be just as popular, if not even more, than this current one.

Volkswagen T-Roc 16,496, -17%

Volkswagen's domination of the top five continues with the T-Roc crossover and its characteristic blend of ergonomics and practicality in a small package. This means, for yet another month, the T-Roc is the best-selling crossover in Europe.

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6 Hyundai Tucson 14,883, +39%

The new Hyundai Tucson makes its first appearance in this chart, with 14883 examples sold in July. The SUV is the Korean firm's best-selling model in Europe. It's no wonder it has made an appearance in the top 10, as it has both standout styling and an unusually wide variety of powertrains. 

7 Volkswagen T-Cross 14,170, +12% 

The T-Cross is the fourth Volkswagen model in the top 10 for July. The popular compact crossover sold 14,710 units this month and continues to impress with its classy, substantial feel on UK roads, even in mid-range, lower-powered form. 

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8 Dacia Duster 13,329, -19%

This Romanian value champion might not be as refined as other SUVs, but it's still holding its own in its segments, being refined, practical and affordable. 

9 Ford Puma 13,283, +2%

The Ford Puma made its top 10 in July. The compact crossover, which revived the name of an old Ford sports coupé, offers enjoyable driving dynamics for the segment and offers a number of different powertrains to suit most drivers. 

10 Peugeot 2008 13,134, -34%

Peugeot's stylish new crossover re-enters the top 10 this month, having sold 13,134 units in July. It suffers the second-highest drop in sales year-on-year in the top 10, though, after the Golf's -37%.


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LP in Brighton 27 August 2021

Am I the only one who finds this article hard to understand? There's a whole mix of figures variously ascribed to June 21, July 21, June YTD and July YTD - so it's hard to know what is being referred to. But assuming the top 10 list if for cars sold in June (or is it July?), then a single month figure is pretty much irrelevant for showing a trend, it's the year to date figure that counts. 

Also, is the UK included in this data? If so it's hard to understand why Autocar's favorite Fiesta fails even to make the top 10! 

Confused? Well I certainly am. 

Tristan Hunt-Walker 29 July 2021

Whilst the Dacia Sandero was the best selling supermini in Europe in June 2021, sales of the Vauxhall Corsa in the UK in June were 4x that of the entire Dacia brand.

xxxx 30 April 2021

So the number 1 seller, Golf 8, is finished is it, really, some people.