Volkswagen was Europe's top-selling brand in the first quarter, with sales virtually flat compared with 2007 in a market that declined by 1.7 percent overall.
The VW brand sold 403,617 units in the first quarter, beating the runner-up Ford brand, which sold 354,970. General Motors' Opel/Vauxhall brand ranked third, with 338,756 units, followed by the Renault brand, Peugeot and the Fiat brand.
Among companies, Volkswagen AG was by far the top seller, with 783,152 units in the quarter. But that total was down from 804,436 in the first quarter of 2007.
The PSA group, with 535,743 sales, was second, followed by Ford Motor Co., General Motors and Renault. Renault was the only top-five automaker to post an increase in the quarter, boosting sales by 1.6 percent.
Other gainers included BMW Group, 11.2 percent; Daimler AG, 5.0 percent, and Nissan, 47.1 percent.
Toyota Motor Corp. posted the biggest percentage loss among major carmakers, with quarterly sales down 15.5 percent.
In Germany, Europe's largest market, sales rose 2.6 percent. Sales were down 0.7 percent in the United Kingdom, the No. 2 market, and down 10.0 percent in France, the third-largest.
Several eastern European nations posted double-digit sales increases, including Poland (19.5 percent) and Romania (23.6 percent).