It’s true that 2020 wasn’t the best of years, especially for the car industry, and Europe was hit particularly hard. Even now, in January 2021, passenger car registrations were down 24% compared with the same period last year, according to the latest data from the European Automobile Manufacturers Association.

Nearly all EU car markets suffered double-digit losses last month, including three of the four major players: Spain suffered most (-51.5%), followed by Germany (-31.1%) and Italy (-14.0%). Only Sweden managed to increase its registrations year on year.

However, despite the general direction towards lower sales, certain brands and cars are bucking the trend, with some models almost doubling their market share for the same period.

Analytics firm Jato Dynamics has compiled data from across Europe and the results are in: from the Toyota Yaris to the Dacia Sandero, these were the best-selling individual models in Europe last month.

The best-selling cars in Europe in January 2021*

Toyota Yaris 18,094, +3%

Historically, one of Europe’s best-selling cars, the Yaris once again climbed to the top step in January. And it’s easy to see why. Although its £19,910 starting price in the latest, fourth-generation guise is relatively expensive, its engines are some of the punchiest in its segment. And it’s a looker, too. Passenger car sales shrunk by 24% across Europe as a whole, but sales for the Yaris increased by 3% compared with the same month last year.

Peugeot 208 17,310, -15%

The Peugeot 208 suffered a 15% drop in demand last month, but still held on to enough sales to make second place in Jato’s rankings. The latest-generation model arrived in Europe in summer 2019 and, thanks in part to an attractive £16,250 starting price and the appeal of an all-new model, had the edge on the Yaris in January 2020, before Toyota ushered in the new-generation car later in the year.

Dacia Sandero 15,922, +13%



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