The Volkswagen Golf, which has held down Europe’s top spot since 2007, has been dethroned.

    According to data compiled by JATO, car sales across Europe — defined as all 26 members of the EU, plus the UK, Norway, Switzerland and Iceland — fell 4.1 per cent to 11,309,310, the lowest number recorded since 1985.

    The Golf not only lost its crown, but missed out on the podium places altogether. It’s likely supply chain issues, and the well-publicised software and usability issues hurt the Golf, as did the popularity of crossovers, including the related T-Roc and Cupra Formentor, which rose 68 per cent to 87,175.

    Smaller vehicles dominate the Europe top 10, with the 4.5m-long Hyundai Tucson easily the largest vehicle to make the cut.

    While small hatchbacks still dominate the top 10, with only three crossovers making the list this year, a whole gaggle of SUVs lurk outside, including the Peugeot 2008 (12th), Tesla Model Y (13th), Kia Sportage (14th), Toyota Yaris Cross (up 402 per cent to 15th), Ford Puma (16th), Renault Captur (17th), and Ford Kuga (19th).

    JATO didn’t fully break out electric car sales — no doubt a difficult task given many models are now offered with a mix of petrol and EV drivetrains — but the top-selling EV-only models were the Tesla Model Y (13th with 138,128), Tesla Model 3 (33rd with 91,684) , and Volkswagen ID.4 (50th with 67,655).

    Outside the top 50 were the Hyundai Ioniq 5 (37,600), Cupra Born (32,400), and Polestar 2 (32,300).

    PositionModel2022 SalesChangePosition change
    1Peugeot 208206,816+5%+2
    2Dacia Sandero200,550+1%(same)
    3Volkswagen T-Roc181,153-3%+3
    4Fiat/Abarth 500179,863+3%+5
    5Volkswagen Golf177,203-14%-4
    6Toyota Yaris175,713-4%+1
    7Opel/Vauxhall Corsa164,358-9%+1
    8Hyundai Tucson150,803+1%+5
    9Dacia Duster149,648+2%+6
    10Renault Clio143,561-27%-6

    Although the Golf was knocked off its perch, the Volkswagen brand remained Europe’s top marque. Even though sales fell, there’s still a huge distance between it and second-placed Toyota.

    And while Stellantis can now crow about having the best selling European model, the overall picture was less rosy for the French-Italian-American automaker with group sales down 14 per cent to 2.06 million vehicles. All of its major brands, including Peugeot (-15 per cent), Citroen (-16 per cent), Opel/Vauxhall (-12 per cent) and Fiat (-15 per cent), suffered big falls.

    Mercedes-Benz climbed a few spots to reclaim the luxury crown from BMW.

    The biggest improving brands were MG up 116 per cent to 113,672 and 24th place, Cupra up 93 per cent to 141,470 and 21st place, Tesla up 38 per cent to 233,307 and 18th place, and Dacia up 16 per cent to 475,013 and 12th place.

    Hyundai and Kia switched positions, with the latter slipping into the top 10 at Hyundai’s expense. Meanwhile Cupra (141,470) could soon overtake the marque it was spun off from, SEAT (down 38 per cent to 204,021).

    PositionBrand2022 SalesChangePosition change

    Derek Fung

    Derek Fung would love to tell you about his multiple degrees, but he's too busy writing up some news right now. In his spare time Derek loves chasing automotive rabbits down the hole. Based in New York, New York, Derek loves to travel and is very much a window not an aisle person.

    Buy and Lease
    Uncover exclusive deals and discounts with a VIP referral to Australia's best dealers
    Uncover exclusive deals and discounts with a VIP referral to Australia's best dealers