While the European new car market did not have a good year in 2022, there were some interesting surprises in the overall model ranking. According to the data released from JATO, the top-selling new car in the region was the Peugeot 208 with 206,816 units in 30 European markets. The volume for the small French hatchback increased by 5% compared to 2021 allowing Peugeot to take the lead of this ranking once again since the year 2007.

In fact, the 208 dethroned the long reign of the Volkswagen Golf, which led the European car market since 2008 uninterrupted. This big change was explained by the continuous sales drops of the German hatchback all over Europe following issues with software, availability, and more competition within the Volkswagen group. The bad situation of the Golf put it at fifth position in the ranking, well behind the Dacia Sandero, the Volkswagen T-Roc, and the Fiat/Abarth 500.

The Citroen C3 and Peugeot 2008 out of the top 10

Other big winners in the top 10 include the Fiat 500, which jumped from the 9th position in 2021 to 4th last year. The Volkswagen T-Roc jumped from the 6th position to 3rd becoming the best-selling SUV in Europe and dethroning the Peugeot 2008.

The latter was out of the top 10 as its volume dropped by 28% but was still Peugeot’s second top-seller and Stellantis' most popular SUV. The Citroen C3 fell from the 10th position in 2021 to the 11th in 2022. These two models were replaced in the top 10 by the Hyundai Tucson, at 8th, and the Dacia Duster at 9th position. They actually outsold another traditional hot-seller, the Renault Clio, which dropped from the 4th position in 2021 to the 10th last year.

Top 10 models in Europe - 30 new car registrations 2022 - graphic

The Tesla Model Y shines

Further down the ranking the Tesla Model Y did really well with 138,128 units. It was able to outsell the Model 3 and become the top-selling electric vehicle in Europe. However, the results of the Model Y could not exceed the 141,952 units registered by the Model 3 in 2021. Still, with 233,307 units registered Tesla was the 18th best-selling brand in Europe ahead of other important brands like Seat, Mini, Mazda, or Suzuki.

The Toyota Yaris Cross posted a big increase too. Volume jumped 27,272 units in 2021 to 136,986 units last year. Although Toyota arrived late to the B-SUV, the Yaris Cross is proving to be the right bet: it was the 4th best-selling B-SUV.

Top 25 brands in Europe - 30 new car registrations 2022 - graphic

The Kia Sportage also posted an important increase thanks to the arrival of the latest generation; it was the second best-selling C-SUV only behind its cousin the Hyundai Tucson.

These two SUVs were able to outsell big sellers such as the Nissan Qashqai, Volkswagen Tiguan, Ford Kuga and Peugeot 3008.

Other winners of the year

The Opel/Vauxhall Mokka at the 32nd position registered 97,547 units, up by 34%. Similarly, thanks to the new generation, the Peugeot 308 also recorded a big increase, up by 80% to 90,160 units but still far from the leaders, the Volkswagen Golf with more than 177,000 units and the Toyota Corolla with almost 130,000 units. Cupra did a great job with the Formentor, with 87,175 units, up by 68%, and outselling any single Seat.

The Renault Arkana, Mercedes C-Class, Volkswagen Taigo, Dacia Jogger, Dacia Spring, MG ZS, BMW 4-Series, Hyundai IONIQ 5, MG HS, Cupra Born, Polestar 2, Kia EV6, and Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross, posted very good results too.

Best-selling car in Europe 1990-2022 - graphic

The author of the article, Felipe Munoz, is Automotive Industry Specialist at  JATO Dynamics.