Somewhere James May is smiling. The Dacia Sandero was Europe's best-selling car in July, surpassing the Volkswagen Golf, which fell to second place after being in the top spot since roughly the dawn of time.
This has as much to do with the Golf's fall as the Sandero's 6% increase over July 2020. VW's compact, was down 37% since 2020 and 39% compared to 2019, with 19,425 units sold. Global supply shortages may have something to do with that, but it's hard not to look at two subcompact crossovers within the Volkswagen family that may be stealing its lunch. The rakish T-Roc was the No. 5-selling vehicle in Europe in July, despite itself being down 17%, while the more conventional T-Cross was No. 7 after being up 12%. There's also the VW ID.3, the Golf's electric counterpart, that was the best-selling EV having moved 5,433 units in July. VW's subcompact Polo hatchback was the fourth-best-selling car, so it's not all doom and gloom for cars on the Continent.
Apart from Hyundai and Suzuki, all major brands suffered sales declines in July, many significant. Renault plunged, 54% and 46% respectively. Even Dacia was down, but its drop of 19% was less than others. The brand is part of the Renault Group.
The Sandero was recently redesigned and its range expanded to included a more rugged Stepway variant with fender flares, roof rails, body cladding, etc. Its now in its third generation since the original was launched, buoyed by Top Gear host James May's running gag of updating the audience with "Good news!" regarding the car's possible import into Britain. It was funny at the time.