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Sweden: Volvo passed by VW Golf

January 3, 2017

Sweden has reported a decent rise in car sales over the past 12 months. But for the first time in more than half a century, the best-selling vehicle in the Scandinavian country was not its iconic Volvo, but VW's Golf.

Volvo logo
Image: picture-alliance/dpa

Sweden's association for manufacturers and importers of cars, BIL, reported a 7.9-percent rise in car sales in the Scandinavian nation in 2016. It said a total of 372,296 new vehicles were registered last year.

"The strength of the automotive market in 2016 is explained by the strong economic situation, robust purchasing power, record-low interest rates and a stable labor market," BIL Sweden said in a statement.

Surprisingly, the most popular model last year was not one of the cars from Sweden's iconic Volvo brand. For the first time in over half a century, Volvo was beaten by a foreign brand: VW's Golf was the top-selling car model.

Quality matters

"It's been 54 years since another brand than Volvo topped this Swedish statistic," Volkswagen Sweden said in a statement.

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"The last time this happened was in 1962, and Volkswagen was at the top even then," VW added, referring to the Volkswagen Beetle.

Volvo produced its first car in 1927. Despite now being owned by Zhejiang Geely Holding Group of China, Swedes continue to cherish the brand, taking pride in Volvo's decades-old reputation for Scandinavian know-how and quality.

In terms of total sales across all models, Volvo still boasts the largest share of the Swedish car market. Roughly one in five passenger cars on Swedish roads is a Volvo (21.5 percent), with Volkswagen in second position (15.7 percent.)

hg/nz (AFP, BIL Sweden)