Best-selling cars in Europe 2021
28 May 2021 - Autocar
Peugeot 208 returns to top spot for April, while two other Peugeots breach the top 10
The first part of 2021 has been tough, and the European car industry is still struggling under the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In April, new car registrations soared 261% compared with the same period last year, according to the latest data from Jato Analytics.
However, demand is still far from pre-pandemic levels and the 1,029,008 vehicles registered across the 27 EU markets during the month is 23% less than in April 2019.
Jato said: "These results indicate that recovery is going to be slower than many may have expected, and in the short term, this will not offer much encouragement to OEMs already busy dealing with the challenges of adapting to emissions compliance."
EVs and SUVs continued to be the main drivers of growth for the market. EVs posted a market share of 15% in April 2021, compared to 11% in April 2020. Demand for pure electric models increased by 338% to 71,500 vehicles, and plug-in hybrid registrations grew 507% to 81,000 vehicles.
The market has also been boosted by strong demand for individual models, such as the Volkswagen Golf, the Toyota Yaris 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 April 2021:
1 Peugeot 208 18,387, +347%
The latest-generation 208 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 and returns, after a few disappointing months, to the top of the bestseller list.
2 Peugeot 2008 18,328, +584%
In February, the 2008 crossover came second on this list; this month, it also shows strong. Registrations have increased a whopping 584% on April 2020, consolidating an 51% increase in February. This gives it the second 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.
3 Volkswagen Golf 17,763, +132%
March was an excellent month for the Golf, as it overtook the Peugeot 208 to come top in the rankings. April sees the quintessential family hatch lose this crown, but compared with last year, demand for the model in Europe grew by 132% – although this is less than half the average growth in the market. New variants – including the GTI Clubsport and R should help the model solidify its strong position in future months.
4 Toyota Yaris 17,365, +438%
Although the Toyota Yaris has slipped from first in January to fourth in the runnings this month, April was still a good month for the Ford Fiesta rival. A total of 17,365 examples were purchased, representing a 438% increase on last year, an impressive boost over January, when its sales increased by only 3%. Expect another strong performance in May, 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.
5 Volkswagen T-Roc 17,168, +355%
Volkswagen's characteristic blend of ergonomics and practicality, wrapped up in a crossover-shaped package was always going to be a hit in Europe. Of all the models on this list, the T-Roc gained the fifth most ground compared with April 2020, with registrations rising 355%, significantly outperforming the general market trend. Its 17,168 sales allowed it to jump one place in the rankings and made it the second-best-selling SUV/crossover in Europe, too.
6 Opel/Vauxhall Corsa 16,934, +312%
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 has been hoping for continued strong sales, and after a difficult few months, these arrived in April. 16,934 Corsas were registered in Europe, over three times the amount moved in April 2020.
7 Renault Clio 16,859, +167%
Gaining 167% more 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.
8 Fiat 500 15,771 +734%
The small and stylish Fiat 500 is a new entry to the top 10 best sellers list, driven chiefly by demand for its new electric variant, the 500e. In mid-range trim, this car boasts 199 miles of range, which outperforms several of its same-sized EV rivals. Retaining the 500's appealing retro look, the EV looks to be profiting, even 14 years later, from Fiat's canny decision to revive its 'people's car' in 2007.
9 Peugeot 3008 14,743 +527%
The third Peugeot in this list, the 3008 SUV returned to the bestsellers list this month shifting 14,743 units. The 3008 received a mid-life update late last year, bringing it in line with its newer 208, 2008 and 508 stablemates with an updated design and upgraded interior technology. A new plug-in hybrid powertrain option was also added and the changes certainly appear to be having the desired effect on demand: it's up 537% from April last year.
10 Citroën C3 14,692, +372%
The C3 dropped from its seventh spot from last month with 14,692 registrations. 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 by 372%.