* See the Top 10 best-selling models by clicking on the title! *
After leading for 4 months in 1995-1996, the Fiat Punto finally makes its mark over the European car market and puts an end to 14 years of uninterrupted domination by the VW Golf. The Fiat Punto is #1 during 10 out of 12 months this year, the Golf popping up to #1 in April and the Ford Fiesta leading a very odd month of August.
The Italian superstar sells 588,590 units this year, up 5%, and the VW Golf drops to #2 at 503,000 units (-21%). The Golf 4 launched in September to an extremely slow start, to the point where the Opel Corsa, #3 at 500,000 sales (+3%), and the Opel Astra, #4 at 498,000 (-2%), nearly passed it. Boosted by very strong sales of the Scenic SUV version, the Renault Megane is up 35% and 5 spots this year at #5. Note a different source places the Astra #3, Megane #4 and Corsa #5.
The Opel Vectra stays very strong and leads its category at #9 with 385,800 sales, partly due to its success in the UK. Notice the Fiat Bravo/Brava breaking into the Top 10 briefly: #9 in February at 29,510 sales and in March at 34,750, the nameplate’s best position and volume still to this date.
Previous year: Europe 1996: VW Golf resists Fiat Punto assault
Full Year 1997 and January to August Monthly Top 10 Ranking Tables below.