Top best-selling brands in Europe in 2021

After the disastrous year of 2020, the car industry expected that 2021 would be the start of the recovery. However, it occurred the opposite, with worse results than in 2020, and some best-selling brands in Europe again register declines in sales.

According to the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association’s data, sales in Europe fell by 1,9% compared to 2020. In total, only 10 600 419 cars were registered.

If we analyze only the European Union, the result worsens. Sales volume decreased by 2,4%, i.e., only 9 700 192 vehicles were registered.

Read also: Top best selling cars in Portugal

The main responsible for last year’s disappointing result was the chip crisis. If the pandemic drove customers away from the dealerships, the semiconductor shortage limited the production of new cars. The brands thus were out of new vehicles to deliver to their clients.

However, some car brands managed to dribble the chip shortage and thrive. Hyundai and Toyota are perfect examples. Both brands grew more than 10%in 2021, with Hyundai achieving the most significant increase, close to 22%.

These two Asian brands, along with Europe’s BMW, were the only ones that thrived last year. The others 7 brands present in the top 10 best-selling car brands in Europe experienced declines.

Below is a closer look at the best-selling car brands in Europe.


10th place – Hyundai

Hyundai preto numa estrada junto ao campo, uma das marcas mais vendidas na Europa
  • Sales: 515 886
  • Fluctuation (2020): +21,6%
  • Market Share: 4,4%

The top-selling car brands in Europe start with the highest sales growth. In 2021, Hyundai reported an impressive rise of almost 22%, with 515 886 vehicles registered in European territory. This result secured its 10th place on the board and a 1% increase in market share.

As expected, Hyundai’s excellent results reflected in a good sales result for the Hyundai Group (of which Kia is a part). The South Korean group thus grew 21% last year.

9th place – Ford

Ford Focus azul parado na cidade
  • Sales: 523 970
  • Fluctuation (2020): -19,2%
  • Market Share: 4,4%

Ford was the brand that suffered the sharpest drop in 2021, almost 20%.

After being the 5th most selling brand in 2020, the American company fell to 9th position. Last year, Ford sold 523 970 in Europe.

8th place – Skoda

Skoda verde claro, uma das marcas mais vendidas na Europa
  • Sales: 589 170
  • Fluctuation (2020): -8,5%
  • Market Share: 5%

The Czech brand also registered a significant decrease in sales but managed to stay under 10%, around 8,5%. With market share fixed at 5%, Skoda only sold 589 170 vehicles in Europe.

7th place – Audi

Audi azul claro parado, uma das marcas mais vendidas na Europa
  • Sales: 597 428
  • Fluctuation (2020): -0,5%
  • Market Share: 5,1%

Audi, incorporated into the Volkswagen Group, sold 597 428 cars. This symbolizes a slight decrease of 0,5% relatively to 2020, but secured 5,1% of market share.

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6th place – Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz parado com o pôr do sol como pano de fundo, Volkswagen Polo azul, uma das marcas mais vendidas na Europa
  • Sales: 642 948
  • Fluctuation (2020): -12,5%
  • Market Shares: 5,5%

German compatriot Mercedes-Benz reported a more severe drop in sales, about 12,5%, with only 642 948 cars registered.

The Daimler Group (Mercedes-Benz and Smart) lost market share, from 6,4 to 5,8%, with sales down 11%.

5th place – Renault

A blue Renault Captur, one of the best-selling brands in Europe
  • Sales: 678 736
  • Fluctuation (2020): -17,1%
  • Market Share: 5,8%

Renault was also one of the brands that dropped the most in 2021. The French company, which was the second best-selling in 2020, fell to 5th place with a 17% decline.

The Renault Group also registered decreases of 10,9%, even with the sales growth of Dacia (1,3%) and Alpine (83,6%).

4th place – BMW

BMW azul numa pista de carros, uma das marcas mais vendidas na Europa
  • Sales: 682 895
  • Fluctuation (2020): +1,2%
  • Market Share: 5,8%

Among the premium brands, BMW has the most reasons to celebrate. It was one of the three brands that throve during 2021. The German company increased sales volume by 1,2%, setting its market share at 5,8%.

The BMW Group, composed of BMW and MINI, also registered a 1,3% increase in sales compared to 2020, with 858 762 cars sold.

3rd place – Toyota

A grey Toyota Yaris Cross on a countryside road, one of the best-selling brands in Europe
  • Sales: 712 574
  • Fluctuation (2020): +10,2%
  • Market Share: 6,1%

The podium of the top-selling brands in Europa starts with one of the brands that managed to dribble the crisis. Like Hyundai, Toyota registered impressive sales growth.

With a 10,2% increase compared to 2020, the Japanese brand sold 712 574 cars in European territory. Hyundai thus climbed to 3rd place, after being only in 6th position last year.

The Toyota Group (Toyota and Lexus) also managed to grow, not only in sales volume but also in market share. If in 2020 the percentage didn’t exceed 5,8%, in 2021 the market share was 6,5%.

2nd place – Peugeot

Peugeot 3008 branco numa estrada citadina, one of the best-selling brands in Europe
  • Sales: 724 383
  • Fluctuation (2020): -2,3%
  • Market Share: 6,2%

Peugeot lost 2,3% sales volume compared to 2020. Although Stellantis registered a 1,6% sales decrease across all its brands, the group maintained its market share of 20,2%.

​​1st place – Volkswagen

Volkswagen Polo azul, uma das marcas mais vendidas na Europa
  • Sales: 1 274 137
  • Fluctuation (2020): -6,2%
  • Market Share: 10,8%

The German brand maintained the top spot in the ranking with 1 274 137 registered cars in Europe, but sales volume dropped 6%.

The Volkswagen Group (which includes Audi, SEAT, Skoda, Bentley, Bugatti, Porsche, Lamborghini, Volkswagen, etc.) also preserved its European market leadership. However, sales decreased by 3,7%, about 2,94 million cars, and the market share didn’t surpass 25%.