Currently reading: Best-selling cars in Europe 2021
Peugeot 208 leaps Toyota Yaris to take top spot for February, while Peugeot 2008 also climbs
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4 mins read
24 February 2021

Following a bleak January, the European car industry is still struggling under the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In February, new car registrations were down 20% compared with the same period last year, according to the latest data from Jato Analytics.

Across the 27 EU markets, only 848,455 were registered – a steep drop off from 1.06 million in February 2020. The fall has been led by a decline in demand for diesel cars: registrations for these, including mild hybrids, fell by 33% to almost 225,000.

However, within this wider pessimistic trajectory, certain brands and cars are bucking the trend: electric cars and plug-in hybrids posted a 67% increase in market share over last February.

Certain individual models are doing well too, such as the Peugeot 2008, the Renault Clio and the Peugeot 208, which has taken over the top spot as Europe’s best-selling car.

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

1 Peugeot 208 18,375, -12%

The 208 clambered to the top spot this month, selling 18,375 examples to snatch the crown from the Toyota Yaris. The latest-generation model arrived in Europe in summer 2019 and, thanks in part to an attractive £16,250 starting price and its well-received styling, has become a fixture among Europe’s best-sellers. Couple that with healthy demand for older 208s (Jato figures include models of all generations registered, not just the latest versions) and it’s no surprise the supermini is performing so well.

2 Peugeot 2008 17,120, +51%

Last month, the 2008 crossover came sixth on this list; this month, it’s up to second. Registrations have increased 51% on February 2020, consolidating an 87% increase in January. This gives it the biggest year-on-year increase of all the cars in the top 10 – an achievement that would be impressive in any context but is especially remarkable against the backdrop of widespread market trouble and low consumer demand due to Covid-19.

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3 Volkswagen Golf 16,185, -34%

February was a bleak month for the Golf, despite coming third in the rankings. Compared with last year, demand for the model in Europe dropped by 34% – nearly double the average fall in the market. New variants – including the GTI Clubsport and R, which went on sale in Europe at the turn of the year – should help the model to claw back some lost ground in future months.

4 Toyota Yaris 15,467, +7%

Although the Toyota Yaris has slipped from first in January to fourth in the runnings this month, February was still a good month for it. A total of 15,467 examples were purchased, representing a 7% increase on last year, and this was actually a relatively more impressive performance than in January, when its sales increased by only 3%. Expect another strong performance in March, driven by demand for its attractive, fourth-generation model. Recently winning the gong for the European Car of the Year 2021 won’t hurt its chances, either.

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5 Fiat Panda 15,400, -13%

Last year, the Panda became Fiat’s first electrified model, and this push towards lower emissions looks to have boosted the supermini’s appeal. A total of 15,400 examples were registered in Europe in February, which was enough for it to break into the top 5. And although this is 13% fewer sales than in February last year, the drop is less steep than the market average.

6 Renault Clio 15,349, -38%

Despite a 38% drop in sales compared with the same period last year, the Clio remains a front-runner in the competitive supermini market. Renault revitalised the supermini in mid 2020, introducing a hybrid option in a bid to broaden its appeal and boost its green credentials.

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7 Citroën C3 15,281, -6%

The C3 narrowly missed out on a top 10 spot last month but is firmly embedded in the list for February. Citroën added a raft of new customisation options and a new seat design in a mid-life facelift last year, and the changes seem to be having a positive effect, with demand for the car increasing.

8 Opel Corsa 14,615, -21%

Bringing a radically overhauled, sharper design, the new Corsa won plaudits when it was revealed in late 2019. Autocar’s testers were also impressed with its fresh engine and platform, shared with the Peugeot 208. As with each of its predecessors, Opel will be hoping for continued strong sales, although a 21% drop in demand for the car is worse than the market average.

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9 Skoda Octavia 14,554, -2%

It’s no surprise that the well-equipped and practical Octavia, which entered its fourth generation last year, continues to enjoy strong sales in Europe. It’s still Skoda's biggest-selling model, having sold upwards of 3.7 million units globally since 1996.

10 Volkswagen T-Roc 13,829, 0%

Volkswagen ergonomics and practicality in a crossover package were always going to be a hit in Europe. Unlike a lot of other models on this list, the T-Roc lost no ground compared with February 2020. It outperformed the general market trend and its 13,829 total sales made it the second-best-selling SUV/crossover in Europe.

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Rick Maverick 27 March 2021

Could be in March we'll see the Golf back on top, or another PSA/Stellantis hit, the Corsa. Why? Traditionally, European March sales is dominated by the UK.  Other than that, with earnings per unit at 9,4% PSA out-performed all EU competitors in 2020. Including BMW at 2,7% and VW at 0,4%.

Seems 2021 will be another spectacular PSA year.  

keeforelli 27 March 2021

Interesting to see the newly formed Gallantis group dominating the European top 10, with 50% of the ranking from their ranges. This is definitely a threat to the likes of VW in Europe, especially with the golf suffering and the Polo nowhere to be seen.

Bolida 27 March 2021
Electric Panda ? New one on me . There’s a mild hybrid but I think the article is confusing it with the 500E.

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