Home > Europe > Europe 1998: VW Golf, Renault Megane and Fiat Punto lead

Europe 1998: VW Golf, Renault Megane and Fiat Punto lead

VW Golf IV

1998 is a turbulent year as far as the best selling models ranking is concerned, with no less than 4 models vying for the first place.

The VW Golf is back on top at a brilliant 672,662 sales, up 34% year-on-year. Its year had started very poorly though, with the 4th generation really struggling at the start of its career: the Golf was 8th in January and 7th in February! It ranked 1st in May 98 for the first time in over a year and never looked back, peaking at 69,715 sales in July and holding the pole position 8 times out of 12 this year.

Renault Megane Scenic

The Renault Megane is the success story of the year. Already up 35% at #5 in 1997, it is up a further 3 spots and 21% to rank 2nd best selling car in Europe this year. Never a French model had been that successful outside of its native country. The Megane even ranked #1 in Europe in March (63,620 sales) and April (60,600)! This success is mostly due to the Scenic SUV version which accounts for half of Megane’s European sales.

Down 2 spots to 3rd place, the Fiat Punto is still solid at 560,986 sales (-5%). It was the best selling car in Europe in January and February, and in the YTD ranking up to July, but couldn’t resist the ramping up of the Golf. In 4th with 558,717 sales and up 12%, the Opel Astra sees the effect of its 3rd generation launched mid-year: from July onwards it ranked consistently on the podium, stepping up to #2 from September on, and only 3,000 sales below the Golf in November.

Citroen Xsara

Further down the ranking, the Renault Clio is boosted by its facelift, up 3 spots and 21% in 7th, the Citroen Xsara makes a brief appearance in the Top 10 in July with 28,750 sales and the Peugeot 206 starts what would end up being Peugeot’s most successful run in Europe with a 7th place in November at 28,000 sales.

Full Year 1998 Top 10 and every Monthly Top 10 Ranking Tables below.

You can check out every Monthy 1998 Top 10 here: Europe 1998 Monthly

Europe Full Year 1998:

Pos Model 1998 98/97 1997
1 VW Golf 672,662 34% 2
2 Renault Megane 582,112 21% 5
3 Fiat Punto 560,986 -5% 1
4 Opel Astra 558,717 12% 4
5 Opel Corsa 498,059 0% 3
6 VW Polo 426,256 -1% 6
7 Renault Clio 418,748 21% 10
8 Ford Fiesta 395,000 -6% 8
9 Ford Escort 380,000 -10% 7
10 Opel Vectra 372,000 -4% 9

Europe 1st Half 1998:

Pos Model H1 1998 1997
1 Fiat Punto 322,631 1
2 Renault Megane 313,938 5
3 VW Golf 302,612 2
4 Opel Corsa 275,461 3
5 Opel Astra 230,468 4
6 Ford Fiesta 228,717 8
7 Ford Escort 228,073 7
8 VW Polo 223,932 6
9 Opel Vectra 212,015 9
10 Renault Clio 187,083 10

Source: JATO

L’Auto Journal, France June 1998

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