For the first time in seven years, the Volkswagen has lost its title as the best-selling passenger vehicle in Europe.

According to automotive market researcher Jato Dynamics, the European car industry was positively booming in March 2017, with new registrations for the month totalling some 1,93 million units. This represents an increase of 10,8% when compared to the corresponding month in 2016.

In fact, Jato says last month was the "highest March result ever recorded" on the continent, adding that the sales performance saw the European car market overtake the United States to become the world's second largest region for car registrations.

But just as interesting is the fact that the Golf lost its place atop the best-selling list. The new best-seller for the month? The Ford Fiesta, with 47 263 units registered (the Golf managed 46 795).

"For the first time in seven years, the Volkswagen Golf has been overtaken by the Ford Fiesta as Europe's best-selling car model," said Felipe Munoz, Global Automotive Analyst at Jato Dynamics.

"There are several reasons behind this shift, one of which is that the Volkswagen Golf is also experiencing a natural lull in sales, as it runs down on stock of its pre-facelift range," he explained.

"On top of this, Ford's incentive programme has been more aggressive when compared to Volkswagen. There's also been a general slowdown on diesel registrations across the continent, which has had a notable impact on the Volkswagen Golf, but has left smaller segments, where the Fiesta sits, relatively unaffected," added Munoz.

He went on to emphasise that the change in position "may only be temporary", as he expected the updated Golf model to "reinvigorate sales" once it becomes more readily available.

But Europe still has a clear love of small hatchbacks, with third place going to the Volkswagen Polo (40 669), fourth to the Renault Clio (40 209) and fifth to the Opel Corsa (38 254). The Nissan Qashqai (36 665) took sixth, with the Ford Focus (33 697), Opel Astra (31 288), Peugeot 208 (28 551) and Renault Captur (27 195) rounding out the top ten.