A thorough analysis of the European car market by JATO Dynamics shows that the sixth-generation Volkswagen Golf is the number one car in Europe based on new car sales, despite the regions' car markets' continued stagnation.
The Volkswagen Golf was crowned as Europe's top-performing car, despite a decrease in sales volume. The brand sold 39,811 models in June 2012 compared with 41,567 in June last year - a drop of 4.2 per cent.
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Compared against the same month in 2011, Volkswagen, Audi and BMW were the only manufacturers of the top ten brands to record an increase in sales during June 2012.
The Vauxhall Corsa came second with the Volkswagen Polo coming third. The Renault Megane roared into the top five. Models that saw the biggest increase in sales were the Peugeot 208, Volkswagen Up, the latest-gen BMW 3-series and the Mercedes-Benz B-class.
Volkswagen according to volume was number one in the top ten manufacturers list, beating both Opel/Vauxhall and Renault. Ford and Fiat saw huge drops when compared against last year, falling 17.2 and 18.2 per cent respectively.
The European market is still struggling to recover from the recession, underlined by Opel/Vauxhall's recent troubles and Peugeot slashing 8,000 jobs by 2014.
New car registrations across Europe in June indicate the market is down from the same period as last year. The decline appears to be slowing though - June is only down by two per cent when compared with 6.6 per cent for the year to date.
According to JATO, of the five biggest markets in Europe only the UK and Germany saw an increase in sales. France saw a small decline whereas Italy and Spain recorded terrible results. Outside of the top 10, Hyundai and Kia posted large increases, up 23.2 and 18.9 per cent respectively.
Vice-president of research at JATO Gareth Hession highlights the performance of the Renault Megane in the Netherlands, pointing to its 90g/km emissions as a reason for its breakthrough into the top five.
"The performance of the Renault Mégane demonstrates how CO2 taxation can have a major impact on the customer's choice of car. With the EU pushing for lower CO2 emissions for 2020, this is a trend that will continue to influence the market."
Written by John Meadowcroft