The Volkswagen Golf
, which had held the top spot every year since 2007, was dethroned by the Peugeot 208
at the top of the European new car sales rankings in 2022. In 2022, the French supermini sold 206,816 units, a 5% increase over 2021, and about 30,000 more than the Golf, which sold 177,203 units.
Why Did the Volkswagen Golf Fail to Impress in 2022?
According to recent data from Jato Dynamics, 11.3 million new cars were sold overall in EU countries last year, including the UK, Norway, Switzerland, and Iceland. That is a 29% decrease from the last year before the pandemic, 2019, and the lowest level seen in the market since 1985. Jato ascribed the decline to the lack of new cars (partially brought on by the problem in the semiconductor supply), inflation, and skyrocketing energy prices—factors made worse by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Volkswagen was one of the manufacturers whose output was restricted last year. This resulted in a 4.56 million global sales total for the brand, a 6.8% decrease from the prior year. Volkswagen warned that the chip shortages will also affect sales in 2023. Its high order backlog is the reason for the Golf's drop from first to the fifth rank.
How Did the SUVs Do in 2022?
Jato also observed excellent SUV sales across several segments: the B-segment Volkswagen T-Roc came in third overall, with 181,153 sales (up 3% from 2021); the Hyundai Tucson came in eighth, with 150,803 sales (up 1%); and the Dacia Duster jumped from 15th to ninth, with 149,648 units sold.
This represented a "growing thirst for SUVs," according to Jato. However, because SUVs are more profitable than traditional body styles, manufacturers prioritised SUV manufacturing through 2022, with increasing supply resulting in higher sales volumes.
Who Were the Overall Winners of 2022?
As previously stated, the Peugeot 208 sold the most units, followed by the Dacia Sandero, which sold 200,500 units.
The Fiat 500 (and its Abarth hot hatch variations) sold about 180,000 units, up 3% from the previous year, while the Toyota Yaris, Vauxhall Corsa, Dacia Duster, and Renault Clio also sold well.
The 27% drop in Clio sales is noteworthy. Renault's supermini dropped from fourth to tenth place in the year, most likely because of chips being transferred to highly profitable Dacia models.
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