The Volkswagen Golf was not Europe’s top-selling car in March for the first time in seven years, according to an analysis last week by Jato Dynamics.
The German family car was ousted by the American supermini Ford Fiesta, with the Ford car outselling the Golf by about 500 cars, or 47,300 compared to 46,800.
“It is historical,” Jato wrote in a blog post.
The third best-seller was VW’s Polo at 40,700 sold in March.
Ford’s momentary success might be music to the ears of US President Donald Trump, who complained just ahead of taking office that more German cars could be seen on the streets of New York than American cars on German streets.
According to Jato Dynamics, there were three main reasons for the Fiesta’s victory. First, the Golf just recently was updated, and according to the automotive business intelligence group, there are usually drops when a refresh takes place.
“The company has run down the old pre-facelift range and not yet got much stock of the facelift range so we are in the natural lull between the two,” Jato explains. “It is a common trend when an important update is introduced.”
The second reason has to do with the lingering effects of Volkswagen’s so-called “dieselgate” scandal, which revealed that the company had equipped engines with software that could deceive emissions tests. Therefore diesel is still under scrutiny by European governments, and it still has a bad reputation, which is impacting demand.
The third reason is that better deals were generally offered for the Fiesta in March.
Jato predicts though that the Golf will rise back to the top of the pile in April and the coming months.
“The updated version has everything to ensure the domination of this model in Europe. Meanwhile Ford prepares the new generation of its Fiesta with the usual negative impact on sales.”