Consumers are buying fewer cars in Europe this year than they did in 2009, according to new analysis released this week by JATO Dynamics.

The automotive analyst compared car sales data from across the continent and found that the overall market is 1.5 percent down for the year on the same period in 2009.

JATO said that the end of scrappage schemes, and continuing economic issues in Central and Eastern Europe, were the main factors behind the fall.

“Analysing the UK and Germany clearly show the impact scrappage schemes had in supporting new car sales," said the firm's David Di Girolamo.

"Today’s figures represent the natural level of new car demand in these markets.”  

JATO's analysis showed that Volkswagen remains by far the strongest selling brand in Europe, shifting almost 1 million cars this year so far, over 200,000 more than its closest competitor Renault.

The brand's Volkswagen Golf and Polo were the two most popular cars in Europe in July, with the Polo performing particularly well, bucking the trend to post sales gains in all major markets in July, especially in Germany where sales jumped 40 percent year on year.

Year to date, the Ford Fiesta is the second most popular car in Europe after the Golf, with the Polo in third place and the Renault Clio in fourth.

Europe's most popular cars - 2010 year-to-date

1. Volkswagen Golf
2. Ford Fiesta
3. Volkswagen Polo
4. Renault Clio
5. Opel/Vauxhall Corsa
6. Peugeot 207
7. Opel/Vauxhall Astra
8. Ford Focus
9. Renault Megane
10. Nissan Qashqai

Data from JATO Dynamics -

Search for used cars