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UK: Nameplates’ Records now available!

The Ford Cortina sold 193,784 units in 1979, a volume record for the UK

* Click on the title for the Top 25 best-selling nameplates and Top 25 foreign nameplates! *

* Many thanks to Florian for making this post possible! *

Now that we have a lot more detail on car sales in the UK from 1965 up to now, I can share with you a ranking exclusive to Best Selling Cars Blog: the best-selling nameplates in the country, ranked by their volume record year. Since 1965, 15 nameplates have sold upwards of 100,000 annual units at least once, with only one foreign model among them: the Peugeot 206.

Peugeot 206

The Ford Cortina holds the record for the highest volume delivered in a single year in the UK with 193,784 units sold in 1979. The Ford Escort follows at 181,218 in 1989 and the Ford Sierra rounds up the podium at 175,911 also in 1989, making it the highest-selling model that never managed to be #1... The Austin Morris 1100, Ford Fiesta and Focus are the only other nameplates to have crossed the 150,000 annual sales mark.

Austin Metro

Vauxhall's highest seller was the Cavalier with 138,357 units in 1990, while the Austin Metro peaked at 137,303 sales in 1983. Notice the Morris Marina at #11 thanks to 114,600 units sold in 1973 and the Ford Anglia at #18 with 84,589 sales in 1965. Note the strongest years of the legendary Austin Mini, launched in 1959, may not appear in this ranking that starts in 1965.

Peugeot 306

The Top 3 foreign models volume records were all delivered in 2002: the Peugeot 206 at a seemingly unbeatable 101,019 units, which earned it a record 4th place, the highest ranking ever reached by a foreign model in the UK, the Renault Clio at 86,336 sales and the VW Golf, the only other foreign model to have ever broken into the year-end UK Top 5, with 73,262 units. Notice the Peugeot 306 at #4, having broken the foreign model volume record 4 times between 95 and 98!

Nissan Micra

In fact, Peugeot places no less than 8 models in the Top 15 highest selling foreign nameplates: the 206 (#1), 306 (#4), 207 (#5), 307 (#8), 205 (#12), 405 (#13), 106 (#14) and 406 (#15). Note the BMW 3 Series at #7 with a peak of 65,489 units in 2003. The Nissan Micra holds the record for a Japanese model with 54,175 sales in 1989 but interestingly it never managed to break into the year-end Top 10, a feat that the Datsun Sunny (in 1977, 78, 82 and 83), Datsun Cherry (1981) and Nissan Qashqai (2010 and 11) have managed.

UK Top 25 best-selling nameplates and foreign nameplates below.

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Categories: UK
  1. Vavon
    December 25th, 2011 at 03:08 | #1

    @Rick Maverick
    Altough a lot of people think so, the UK never built the Peugeot 205.
    However they did build the following Peugeots in Ryton: 309, 405, 306 and 206.
    Furthermore all the 206 RC’s/206 GTI 180s and 206 SWs were built in the UK!

  2. December 25th, 2011 at 02:41 | #2

    Do you know if the ‘Austin Morris 1100′ figures would include the MG, Vanden Plas, Riley and Wolseley variants? Not that it would make a huge difference, for one thing the Riley and Wolseley ones weren’t introduced until September 1965. Interesting that the car’s best year comes before the larger-engined 1300s were available.

  3. Rick Maverick
    December 24th, 2011 at 23:48 | #3

    These outstanding salesfigures of the P 206 and 306 are partly due to the loyalty of the Brits towards foreign makes actually BUILDING their cars in the UK.

    In the defunct Talbot factories Peugeot manufactured the 205, 206 and, if I am correct, a slice of the 306 production.

    Is it a coincidence Peugeot UK sales dropped considerably the moment PSA decided to halt production in Britain??

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