Top 10 best-selling cars in Europe 2021

The European car industry is still struggling under the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and semiconductor shortage, but May 2021 saw an increase in electric and plug-in hybrid sales.

In May, new car registrations increased by 73% compared with the same period last year, according to the latest data from Jato Analytics.

Demand is still far from pre-pandemic levels and the 1,073,987 vehicles registered across the 26 European markets during the month is 25% less than in May 2019.

Jato said: “The data is encouraging but the market is recovering slower than many had hoped. Economic uncertainty and a lack of consumer confidence are limiting growth at a time when the industry is also shifting away from traditional powertrains and adapting to strict CO2 emissions regulations.”

Electric vehicles posted a record share in May, making up 16% of the market compared to 11% in April 2021. Demand for pure-electric models increased by 261% to 83,700 vehicles, and plug-in hybrid registrations grew 299% to 87,700 vehicles. The market share for SUVs jumped from 40.2% in May 2020 to 44.6% last month, compared to May 2018, when SUVs accounted for 34% of the market.

The market has also been boosted by strong demand for individual models, such as the Renault Clio, Fiat 500 and Volkswagen Golf, which has taken over the top spot as Europe’s best-selling car. The Tesla Model 3 topped the BEV ranking, and the Ford Kuga was the most popular PHEV.  

Here are the best-selling cars in Europe in May 2021:

1 Volkswagen Golf 23,106 +75% 

The latest-generation Volkswagen Golf arrived in Europe in summer 2020. It’s always been one of the region’s best selling cars, so it’s no surprise to see it back at the top of the list. The quintessential family hatch reclaimed the top spot from the Peugeot 2008. New variants – including the GTI Clubsport and R should help the model solidify its strong position in future months.

2 Renault Clio 19,553, +167% 

Gaining 23% more sales compared with the same period last year, the Clio is the 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.