European SUV Boom Keeps On Booming, Nissan Qashqai Leads Sales Chart In 2016

According to JATO Dynamics, European car registrations in 2016 represent the second-highest point since 2007, a.k.a. the year before the credit crunch made a mess of everyone and everything. Naturally, the Volkswagen Golf remains the top-selling car in the Old Continent, but SUVs are also selling by the bucketload.
Nissan Qashqai 16 photos
Photo: Nissan
JATO Dynamics European car sales in 2016 (by segment)JATO Dynamics European car sales in 2016 (by model)JATO Dynamics European car sales in 2016 (by brand)JATO Dynamics European car sales in 2016 (by country)Nissan QashqaiNissan QashqaiNissan QashqaiNissan QashqaiNissan QashqaiNissan QashqaiRenault CapturRenault CapturRenault CapturRenault CapturRenault Captur
15.14 million new vehicles were registered in Europe last year, up 6.5 percent compared to 2015. In 2007, however, registrations exceeded 16 million. The biggest markets for new vehicles continue to be Germany (3.3 million), the UK (2.7 million), and France (2 million). Italy (1.8 million) and Spain (1.1 million) are not too far behind. Cyprus, on the other hand, lags behind (11,054).

In terms of brands, Volkswagen continues to be the leader despite the whole Dieselgate fiasco. From January 2016 to December 31, 2016, the brand moved 1.7 million vehicles in the Old Continent. Renault ranked second (1.1 million), and Ford third (1.05 million). Cadillac moved only 731 vehicles.

If I may point out the obvious, the compact-sized Nissan Qashqai and subcompact Renault Captur outsold extremely popular models such as the Ford Focus, Volkswagen Passat, Skoda Fabia, and BMW 3 Series. It’s rather clear, then, that the sport utility vehicle boom is far from over in the Old Continent. As a brief refresher, 2015 was the first time the sport utility vehicle (crossover included) outperformed all other automotive segment in Europe.

Segment-wise, JATO highlights that SUV sales increased 21.4 percent (3.8 million) in 2016 compared to the preceding year. The next most umpteen segment is the subcompact, which moved 3.2 million units. Compact cars and MPVs are next, securing 3 million and 1.4 million vehicles to their names.

"European car registrations have shown good momentum, with 27 out of 29 markets in Europe recording positive growth last year, and 14 of those markets posting double-digit increases,”
said JATO analyst Felipe Munoz.

On the subject of nameplates, the top 10 looks like this:

  • Volkswagen Golf: 492,952
  • Renault Clio: 315,115
  • Volkswagen Polo: 308,561
  • Ford Fiesta: 300,528
  • Opel (and Vauxhall) Corsa: 264,844
  • Opel (and Vauxhall) Astra: 253,483
  • Peugeot 208: 249,047
  • Nissan Qashqai: 234,340
  • Skoda Octavia: 230,255
  • Renault Captur: 217,105
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 Download: JATO Dynamics 2016 European car sales (PDF)

About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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