These are the most popular cars around Europe in the first 11 months of 2017
Jimi Beckwith
19 December 2017

The car industry in 2017 has been tumultuous, especially in Europe. Despite the uncertainty, though, registrations across the continent are up by 5.2% and, unsurprisingly, SUVs have gained a record market share of 31.9%.

SUVs will grow even further next year, according to analysts LMC Automotive, to account for at least 32.0%. They’re the fastest-growing segment, behind only the much-smaller-volume F-segment (luxury saloon) market. 

Across Europe, smaller-volume segments all grew, while the largest-volume B and C-segments, as well as MPVs and D-segment saloon and estate cars, all shrunk. Luxury, executive and sports cars all grew, as did the city car segment. 

Market analyst JATO Dynamics has compiled figures from across Europe for individual models, and the best-sellers are in.

The best-selling cars in Europe 2017

1 - Volkswagen Golf - 445,206 units

Well, no surprises here - the Golf takes the crown once again. There’s little wonder why: it’s the best-selling car in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and Norway and is among the most popular in many more. People’s car indeed, although European sales have shrunk by 2% year-on-year.

2 - Renault Clio - 298,990 units

Best-seller status in France, the Netherlands and Portugal, plus a sales boost of 5.9% over 2016, helped the Clio take second place across Europe, with just shy of 300,000 having found homes between January and December 2017. It’s some way off the Golf, but it definitely contributed to Renault’s place as the second-largest European car brand.

3 - Volkswagen Polo - 255,370 units

This for a model that will imminently be replaced. The new Polo has been revealed and should bring a spike in sales in January, with its new Golf-like look and increased size. In spite of its position as Europe’s third best-seller, the Polo isn’t the best-seller in any European country, and sales have shrunk by 10.4% compared with 2016. 

4 - Ford Fiesta - 237,770 units

Ah, the Fiesta - the UK’s best-selling car by a long shot for almost a decade and Europe’s most popular Ford. It’s another which is battling falling sales, with a 14% shrinkage over 2016, but the introduction of a new model in September is partly to blame for this. 

5 - Nissan Qashqai - 230,860 units

Nipping at the heels of the Ford Fiesta and proving the popularity of SUVs is the Nissan Qashqai. It’s the most popular car in Latvia, third place in Denmark, Finland and Ireland and fourth in the UK. Registrations have grown by 7.0%; in fact, the SUV segment is the only segment in the top ten to have shown consistent growth.

6 - Peugeot 208 - 225,198 units

Denmark’s best-seller and  France and Portugal’s second-best-seller takes sixth overall, despite a small sales dip of 2.4% across 2017. It actually outsold the Fiesta in Europe last month, although it was almost 5000 registrations behind the Renault Clio across the month and 73,000 across the year. Peugeot was the fourth-largest-selling European car brand. 

7 - Opel/Vauxhall Corsa - 221,497 units

It’s tight in the supermini segment, as the Corsa slips in behind the 208 with less than 4000 fewer sales across the year. The supermini segment is also one in decline, although only by 0.3% year-on-year. Indeed, it’s still the second-largest segment in the industry, with precisely one in five cars sold in Europe being a supermini. 

8 - Volkswagen Tiguan - 218,238 units

Volkswagen’s grip on the European car market tightens with the Tiguan, which was one of the biggest-growing cars in November 2017 compared with the same month last year - sales are up by over a third. The Peugeot 3008 was stronger still, with sales almost doubling over November 2016, although it’s still 65,000 sales down on the Tiguan across the year.

9 - Skoda Octavia - 214,329 units

You’d think that being the best-seller in Croatia, Czechia, Estonia, Finland, Poland and Switzerland would put the Octavia higher, but it rests at ninth overall this year. Sales grew by 2.5% compared with last November, though, and the mid-sized Skoda was fifth overall in November 2017 in a segment which has shrunk by almost 1% compared with last November. 

10 - Opel/Vauxhall Astra - 204,742 units

Rounding off the European top ten is the Astra, which has found its place on almost 205,000 driveways across 2017 so far despite an 11.4% drop in sales across the year. It’s recently dropped to sixth place in the UK, its lowest in recent years, having been overtaken by the Volkswagen Polo. 

Our Verdict

Audi A8

The new Audi A8 is sophisticated, undemanding and full of technology, but is that enough to knock the excellent Mercedes-Benz S-Class off its perch?

Join the debate


19 December 2017

No Fiat at all in the top ten. How things change.

As for “Czechia”, I think the percentage of Brits who call the Czech Republic that must be around zero

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Ford Ecosport 1.0 Ecoboost 125 Zetec front
    First Drive
    18 January 2018
    Can the updated Ford Ecosport improve its reputation and become the small SUV of choice, or is it another misguided effort from the Blue Oval?
  • Nissan e-NV200 Evalia
    First Drive
    18 January 2018
    All-electric seven-seater is rarity among MPVs, and for good reason: the Nissan e-NV200 Evalia is pricey and still has limited usability. Expect to see plenty as city taxis and delivery vans, though
  • Seat Arona 1.5 TSI EVO FR
    First Drive
    17 January 2018
    Seat is on a roll with the Ateca and Ibiza; can they score a hat trick with the new Arona?
  • Jaguar E-Pace D240
    First Drive
    17 January 2018
    With much riding on the success of the Jaguar E-Pace, we have been impressed with the mid-level diesel version, but now its time for the most powerful oilburner to go under the spotlight
  • Vauxhall VXR8 GTS-R
    Car review
    12 January 2018
    Vauxhall bids farewell to its line of Aussie performance legends in some style with the limited edition VXR8 GTS-R