For the first time in a year, the hugely popular Volkswagen Golf has lost its stranglehold as Europe’s most popular model, handing the accolade to Ford’s well received new Fiesta. The Golf is still number one in the year-to-date (first quarter ).
The Fiesta’s success is set against an overall European new car market which fell nine per cent in March 2009 compared to March 2008. Year-to-date the market fell 16.9 per cent compared with the same period last year.
Several small models have also risen to greater prominence in the top 10, including the VW Polo and Fiat Punto. Much of this can be attributed to Italy where the inclusion of CNG and LPG vehicles in the incentive scheme has provided a boost. Particularly worthy of note is the performance of Fiat’s evergreen Panda, which posted significant sales growth in March, up 62 per cent on last year.
“The Panda is a perfect example of a car that can benefit from today’s market conditions,” says a spokesperson. “It’s a very affordable car to buy new and has become more fashionable recently, cheap to run with low CO2 emissions, and available with diesel, CNG, and LPG variants. It’s an easy step-up into the new car market for those who have been encouraged to scrap their old cars.”
Behind the Fiesta, the top 10 places were rounded off by the VW Golf, Opel Corsa, Peugeot 207, VW Polo, Fiat Punto, Ford Focus, Fiat Panda, Renault Clio, and Opel Astra.
Overall in the first quarter of the year, the total market fell by 16.9 per cent. The Golf still leads year-to-date from the Fiesta, 207, Corsa, Focus, Polo, Punto, Panda, Clio, and Astra.