Volkswagen saw its market share in the ‘Big Five’ European car markets drop to 11.6% in July, down from 13.2% in the previous year, according to JATO Dynamics.

France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK make up the ‘Big Five’, which accounts for 72% of all new car registrations in Europe.

The German carmaker suffered a significant sales fall in the ‘Big Five’ European car markets, with 13.9% fewer new car registrations in July 2016 compared to the previous year, as the emissions scandal continued to hang over the company.

Despite this, Volkswagen cars remained the most popular by far, with 97,145,000 sold in the ‘Big Five’ markets in July 2016.

The Volkswagen Golf and Polo models emerged as Europe’s most popular models, selling 25,466,000 and 17,892,000 in July respectively.

Felipe Munoz, global automotive analyst, JATO Dynamics said: “Traditionally there is a drop in demand ahead of summer, but it is clear that Europe has started to feel the effect of Volkswagen’s emissions issue.

“The Volkswagen Golf continued to lead as Europe’s favourite model, but its dominance is more vulnerable than ever.”

Overall, new car registrations in the ‘Big Five’ markets were down 2% on average in July.

The markets did not perform uniformly poorly, however, and there were slight gains in Spain, Italy, and the UK.

Spain saw the highest growth, with a 4.4% increase compared to July 2015 in new car registrations to 108,769 units.

Italy experienced 2.6% growth in new car registrations to 137,368 units, while the UK saw sluggish growth of just 0.1% as private sales continued to drop.

However, these results could not mitigate the dramatic declines seen in Germany and France, which saw the ‘Big Five’ experience a net fall in new car registrations.

In France total registrations for July fell 9.6% compared to the same month in 2015, to 132,893 units. Germany, Europe’s largest car market, experienced a 3.9% decline in new car registrations to 278,878 units.

In a year-to-date comparison with 2015, each of the ‘Big Five’ experienced an increase, with new car registrations increasing most strongly in Italy, surging 17% to 1,188,200.

Sport utility vehicles (SUVs) increased market share in July, accounting for 25.8% of all new car registrations.

Munoz added: “Despite the slowdown in the market, the demand for SUVs is increasing, and is expected to keep growing, especially with new models being unveiled in the upcoming months.”