Shock and horror at the top of the European car sales ranking: in March 2017 the Volkswagen Golf is not the best selling car in Europe, for the first time since at least 2011 (our monthly data only goes back to 2012) but likely since March 2010. The Ford Fiesta leads the ranking despite being due for replacement by the next generation, which has already been revealed. This is the result of two factors: firstly the Fiesta is boosted by its strength in the UK market, where it’s traditionally been the best seller, and which is traditionally the largest market in Europe in March, and secondly, the Golf is struggling after its recent facelift with sales down 18%, due to increased choice of in-house crossover alternatives with the new generation Tiguan and Seat Ateca. Still, this won’t be the beginning of the end of Golf domination, expect the model to continue to lead the charts for the rest of the year as it usually does. The Volkswagen Polo is third again, which means it outsells the Renault Clio for the first time since last October. For the second month in a row the Nissan Qashqai is the best selling crossover in Europe, also helped by its popularity in the UK where it’s produced.
The Ford Focus scores its highest ranking since March last year when it was in 7th place too, up 9 places from last month. It’s also the first time in 12 month it outsells the Opel/Vauxhall Astra. The Renault Captur returns to the top-10, keeping the Volkswagen Tiguan in 11th place for the second straight month. The Fiat 500 benefits from its popularity in the UK to outsell sister model Panda for the first time this year, while the Citroën C3 (#13) has its highest monthly volume since at least 2004, thanks to the success of the new generation. Now that supply issues have been solved, the Renault Megane returns to the top-20, outselling the Peugeot 308 (#25) for the first time this year. Their crossover siblings Peugeot 3008 (#35) and Renault Kadjar (#37) are very close together this month, but the 3008 manages to stay ahead as it has been for all three months this year as it sells more units in a single month than its predecessor has ever managed. Both French crossovers still trail their South-Korean rivals Hyundai Tucson (#30) and Kia Sportage (#31), though. The Fiat Tipo (#36) beats its previous volume record from last January by 6.000 units, as it takes 2nd place in its home market Italy which for the first time takes more than 50% of the model’s sales, as reports surface that Fiat dumped 5.000 unordered Tipos on Italian dealers at the end of February.
The new generation Nissan Micra is up to #42, the nameplate’s highest ranking in 6 years with its highest volume in as many years, a very promising start for the model. The Toyota C-HR also improves its volume but is down 13 ranks on February to #45. One spot above we find the BMW X1, also scoring a record volume for the nameplate, and so does, amazingly, the Volvo XC60 at #48 with over 12.000 sales. And this is still all for the outgoing model, that’s already 9 years old, while the new generation has already been revealed and is expected to reach showrooms within the next few months. For the second month in a row, the Audi Q2 is the brand’s best selling crossover in 62nd place, ahead of the Q3 in 66th. Helped by its dependence on the UK market, the Ford Ecosport (#68) outsells the Jeep Renegade (#69) for the first time since the launch of the latter. The Ford Ka+ (#92) outsells the Opel Karl/Vauxhall Viva (#92) for the second consecutive month, which is a bit of a disgrace for the latter as the Ka+ has a higher base price and has received less than stellar reviews from the press.
The Nissan Leaf (#142) and Renault Zoe (#143) both sell over 3.500 units, which is a record for the latter while the former performed even better in this same month last year. Just as the Alfa Romeo Stelvio arrives in 220th place with just over 1.000 sales, the Giulia hits its best volume since its launch with over 2.700 sales in 164th place. That’s way behind its rival Jaguar XE in 124th place with 4.445 sales, but that’s just a temporary high thanks to the UK market. The XE is actually down 3,5% on March 2016. Its SUV sister F-Pace does hit a new record at 5.228 sales in 113th place, ahead of the BMW X3 (#116) and Audi Q5 (#118). Similarly, the new generation Land Rover Discovery in 132nd place outsells the Volvo XC90 (#138) and Audi Q7 (#139), immediately breaking record monthly volume for the nameplate. Customer deliveries of the Skoda Kodiaq have also started now, with 2.594 units at #169. At #183, the Ford Mustang sells over 2.000 monthly units in Europe for the first time ever.
Year-to-date, the Fiesta has leapfrogged the Clio to reclaim 2nd spot, although it’s unlikely to hold on to that position in the coming months as it goes into a model change. The Opel/Vauxhall Corsa jumps from 9th in the first two months to 5th for the quarter, while the Volkswagen Tiguan makes the exact opposite move. The Ford Focus re-enters the top-10 to the detriment of the Fiat Panda, while the Renault Captur gains 5 places to #14 and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class gains 6 places to #18. In contrast, the Volkswagen Passat loses 8 spots to #24, the Dacia Duster loses 9 places to #36 and the BMW X1 loses 8 places to #38. The BMW 3-series wins 7 places to enter the top-30, while the Mini gains 8 places to #35 and the Renault Kadjar wins 9 places to #43. Despite reaching its highest monthly volume since its launch, the Toyota C-HR loses 7 spots to #41. The BMW 5-series wins 12 places to #55 and the Nissan X-Trail wins 13 places to #58, while the Nissan Micra makes the biggest jump in the top-150 with a gain of 30 spots on its position after the first two months, it is now in 62nd place. But the trophy for biggest gainer in the YTD ranking goes to the new Land Rover Discovery, up 71 places to #179.
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