Top 10 car brands in Europe

Jess Shanahan
- Top 10 - Mar 10, 2017

These European car brands not only sell the most cars across the world but they innovate too. Some are known for practical, reliable cars while others are pushing the boundaries a little more with technology that will propel us into the future.

10. Peugeot

With a recent resurgence in the fleet car market, Peugeot is focusing on quality of its cars and customer service. The 308 launched in 2014 and has been seen as a turning point in the perception of the brand.

9. Ferrari

Perhaps not a brand you see regularly on the roads but the enduring prestige of Ferrari means it has to have a place on this list. Not only that but the manufacturer’s presence in the pinnacle of motorsport, Formula One, means every new model comes packed full of the latest technology.

The La Ferrari is living proof of this with a similar hybrid set up as F1 cars from 2009 to 2013 with their kinetic energy recovery systems (KERS). The KERS in the La Ferrari can provide a boost to the 6.3-litre V12 to bring total output up to 950bhp.

8. Fiat

Fiat cars are not only some of the best-selling over the past few years but they’re classed as some of the best overall, having moved past the old perception that they’re prone to breakdowns. The endless charm of the Fiat 500 has seen sales pick up for the brand but the expansion into the larger vehicle market with the 500 X and 500 L means these cars now appeal to a whole new demographic.

7. Volvo

Volvo has a certain prestige and it often appears in lists of luxury cars alongside the German heavyweights such as BMW, Audi and Mercedes. Volvo is also a popular choice for people looking for company cars. This is down to the fact that there are models, such as the Volvo V40, that can achieve fuel economy in excess of 80 miles per gallon.

6. BMW

This German car brand seems to appear in top 10 lists regularly thanks to its as prestige vehicles, the popularity of its diesel models as company cars, and the introduction of high-tech models such as the electric i3 and hybrid i8 supercar.

BMW is a great all round brand that covers all bases from economic hatchbacks, to luxury saloons, to sports cars, to 4x4s, and more recently leading the charge with its electric vehicles.

5. Porsche

This is another luxury brand that appeals to a wide range of customers. There are the high-end prestige vehicles such as the variety of 911 models (ranging from £76,000 up to £154,000) but there’s also a basic sports car in the 718 Cayman that starts at just £39,000. Porsche also offers the larger Panamera saloon, with space in the back for family, and two SUVs in the Macan and Cayenne.

It's also one of the few brands where classic models retain their value with 70s and 80s 911s doubling in value in the last five years.

4. Volkswagen

While this European brand may have sold the most cars over the few years, its lack of prestige sales and high-tech features stops it from reaching the top spot. The brand has been bolstered by sales in China despite the emissions scandal back in 2015, which saw its sales in the UK fall by 14%.

Volkswagen cars remain popular in the business sector with the Golf being a practical choice for many but there are large saloons available too in the Passat and CC models.

3. Vauxhall

For business users, the practical and economic Corsa and Astra models from Vauxhall remain popular but they’re also some of the best-selling cars for private users too.

The introduction of the OnStar system means Vauxhall now has a powerful technological advantage over other manufacturers within this price range. OnStar allows the driver to call a personal on-board assistant with the touch of a button to get directions to anywhere without having stop and program the satellite navigation. It also has some amazing safety features which will call the OnStar call centre in the event of a crash and an wi-fi hotspot to make sure you’re connected at all times.

2. Audi

Audi is introducing more and more cutting edge technology into its cars thanks to partnerships within motorsport and its dedication to pushing the boundaries with the latest innovations. New cars come with a virtual cockpit, which gives users all the information they could need on car condition, navigation and entertainment, right in front of them. This is powerful when combined with Audi Connect, which acts as a source for information about traffic, weather and directions. It includes search functionality, social media integration and secure high speed Wi-Fi.

Since the 1980s Audi has pioneered the quattro system, which at the time turned the rally world on its head. Instead of a standard four-wheel-drive system that features a heavy transfer box, the quattro system makes use of a much lighter centre differential. Quattro is available on all Audi models, bringing sporty technology to the heart of everything from an A1 up to an R8.

1. Mercedes

Taking the top spot with its perfect mix of prestige, desirability and practicality is Mercedes. The brand’s models have been through a facelift over the past year and this investment has paid off, making it one of the top selling luxury car brands.

Not only is Mercedes enduringly popular with private users but business sales make up a large part of its offering. With slick, professional models such as the C-Class, it’s an easy choice for anyone looking for a company car.

There’s been a lot of investment in technology and Mercedes’ new E-Class comes with a range of exciting features including Drive Pilot, where the car will pilot itself at speeds of up to 130mph on a motorway. The car will also park itself and come to you when summoned by an app, it’s a truly clever car that’s on a par with tech giants such as Tesla.

While Mercedes is known for its luxury saloons, it also makes performance cars under the AMG badge. Mercedes is set to step into the hybrid hypercar market too, just as fellow Formula One teams such as Ferrari and McLaren have done.

This list just goes to show that a combination of luxury, practicality and business appeal, can make a manufacturer popular. All these European brands sell cars across the world and while there will always be a handful of popular models, those at the top of the list will continue to innovate and push the boundaries of what’s possible.

Read the March 2017 issue of Business Review Europe magazine. 

Follow @BizReviewEurope

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