As the year 2023 draws to a close, it’s time to look back at the automotive landscape in Europe in 2022. Two automotive giants, Volkswagen and Stellantis, retained their dominant positions as the largest carmakers on the continent. However, the real spotlight of the year shone on the brands that captured the hearts and wallets of European consumers. In this article, we’ll delve into the automotive world of Europe, revealing the best-selling brands that emerged as the frontrunners of 2022.
The Volkswagen Group continued to assert its dominance last year, cementing its status as the largest producer of passenger cars across the European Union, Britain, and the EFTA region. But it wasn’t a one-brand show; Stellantis and the Renault Group also made impressive strides in the European car market that experienced a 4.1% contraction, leading to only 11,286,939 new passenger vehicle registrations.
Among the many intriguing statistics of the year, the title of the best-selling car model in Europe in 2022 went to the Peugeot 208. Moreover, it wasn’t just the usual suspects that made an impact. While familiar names occupied the top spots, one brand, Dacia, stood out, with sales surging by an impressive 16%.
In the following paragraphs, we will unveil the complete list of the top 10 best-selling brands and delve into the factors that influenced their market performance.
What are the best-selling brands in 2022?
#10 – Hyundai
- Sales: 518,566
- Fluctuation (2021): +0,5%
Hyundai maintained its position as the tenth best-selling brand in 2022. With 518,566 units sold, the South Korean automaker showcased a consistent performance, demonstrating a marginal increase in sales compared to the previous year. In 2021, Hyundai had recorded 515,960 units sold, making the 2022 figure a modest 0.5% improvement.
As expected, Hyundai’s outcomes reflected in good sales results for the Hyundai Group (of which Kia is a part). The South Korean group thus grew 4,2% last year and secured the 4th largest carmaker in Europe.
#9 – Skoda
- Sales: 538,623
- Fluctuation: – 8,5%
The Czech automaker slipped one position in the rankings, marking a decline in sales performance. In 2022, Skoda recorded sales of 538,623 units, a noticeable drop from the 588,863 units sold in 2021, representing an 8.5% decrease in sales.
Despite the decrease, Skoda’s parent company, Volkswagen Group, still held its ground as the leading carmaker.
#8 – Kia
- Sales: 542,423
- Fluctuation: +7,9%
Kia, the South Korean automaker, showcased an impressive performance in the European automotive market in 2022. Notably, Kia made a substantial leap from the 11th position in 2021 to the 8th place in 2022. This advancement was attributed to Kia’s remarkable sales growth, with 542,423 units sold in 2022, compared to 502,677 units in 2021, representing an outstanding 7.9% increase.
This increase helped the Hyundai Group, of Kia is part of, to strengthen its position as the 4th carmaker in Europe, failing by only 572 sales to take 3rd place in 2022.
#7 – Renault
- Sales: 582,766
- Fluctuation: – 14,21%
Renault encountered a significant shift in its performance in 2022, slipping two positions in the rankings. In 2022, Renault recorded sales of 582,766 units, compared to 678,709 units in 2021, signifying a substantial 14.1% decrease. This decline mirrored the challenges faced by another major player, Peugeot.
Despite the double-digit decline, Renault’s parent company, Stellantis, remained the second-largest car producer in Europe, with a 13.7% decrease in sales.
#6 – Audi
- Sales: 614,545
- Fluctuation: +2,9%
Among the top 10 brands, Audi stood out as the only premium brand to register an increase in sales. The brand recorded 614,545 units sold in 2022, a notable improvement from the 597,231 units sold in the previous year, reflecting a 2.9% growth.
This increase helped the Volkswagen Group maintain its position as the leading carmaker in Europe. Despite a decrease in overall sales, Audi and Porsche had strong sales.
#5 – Peugeot
- Sales: 619,173
- Fluctuation: -14.5%
Despite the acclaim of having the Peugeot 208 as Europe’s favourite car model in 2022, the brand faced significant challenges. In 2022, Peugeot’s sales figures saw a substantial decline, with 619,173 units sold compared to 724,313 in 2021, marking a notable decrease of 14.5%. This decline contributed to Peugeot slipping from its second-place ranking in 2021 to fifth in 2022.
It’s worth noting that this sales decrease was not the most significant among the Stellantis brands, and Peugeot is still the best-selling brand of the Group.
#4 – Mercedes
- Sales: 634,697
- Fluctuation: -1,5%
In 2022, Mercedes-Benz recorded sales of 634,697 units, a modest decline from the 644,450 units sold in 2021, representing a 1.5% decrease. Despite the decline in sales, the brand remained ahead of its premium counterpart, Audi, which experienced an increase in sales.
The sales decline within the Mercedes-Benz Group was mostly influenced by Smart, which showed the most significant decrease in sales, declining by an enormous 39.9%. As a result, Mercedes-Benz retained its position as the 7th carmaker in the group.
#3 – BMW
- Sales: 646,538
- Fluctuation: -5,4%
Despite a slight decrease in sales, BMW managed to move from its usual fourth position to secure third place, marking the first time ever that it occupied this ranking. In 2022, BMW recorded sales of 646,538 units, a decrease from the 683,164 units sold in the previous year, representing a 5.4% change.
This performance was in line with the overall trend within the BMW Group, which also saw a decrease in sales. Consequently, the BMW Group found itself in the fifth position as a carmaker in the European market.
#2 – Toyota
- Sales: 766,769
- Fluctuation: +7,6%
Toyota had a standout year in the European automotive market. The brand experienced a sales increase of 7.6%, with 766,769 units sold compared to 712,505 in 2021. This surge in sales catapulted Toyota to the second best-selling brand in Europe for the first time ever.
Adding to Toyota’s sales performance, the brand also gained recognition in the digital realm: it was the most searched car brand in 2022.
#1 – Volkswagen
- Sales: 1,197,455
- Fluctuation: -6,9%
Volkswagen detained its position as the best-selling car brand in Europe, despite facing production issues and a challenging market landscape. In 2022, Volkswagen sold 1,197,455 units, a decrease from the 1,286,148 units sold in 2021, representing a 6.9% change.
The Volkswagen Group (which includes Audi, SEAT, Skoda, Bentley, Bugatti, Porsche, Lamborghini, Volkswagen, etc.) also managed to preserve its European market leadership. However, the group experienced a 5.7% decrease in sales, equivalent to approximately 200,000 cars.