UK First Half 2016: Record volume but Brexit brings cloudy horizon

Ford Mustang UK June 2016. Picture courtesy autocar.co.ukFord Mustang – Ford remains the #1 brand in the UK but drops 3%.

* NOW UPDATED with the Top 120 models and Top 40 brands *

The First Half 2016 sales results for the UK are brilliant: up 3% to 1.420.636, the highest-ever 6 month-result in the history of automobile in the country. However, as we pointed out in our study UK: Brexit means no sales record in 2016 and production uncertainty, the chances of a second consecutive record year in the UK are near-to-none. Barely a week after the country voted to exit the European Union, the UK market posted its 2nd year-on-year decline in 4 years in June – the first was last November. The 2nd half of the year will be a difficult and uncertain one for UK sales as the market finds a new equilibrium outside the EU, both in terms of production and private consumer behaviours.

Mercedes C Class UK June 2016. Picture courtesy autocar.co.ukMercedes sales are up 18% year-on-year in the UK so far in 2016. 

Meanwhile we are witnessing a fragmentation of the market brand-wise, with the Top 3 best-sellers each losing volume and almost one percentage point of share market year-on-year: Ford is down 3% to 171.192 and 12.1%, Vauxhall down 7% to 132.947 and 9.4% and Volkswagen is the hardest hit at -9% to 109.566 and 7.7%. The podium accounts for 29.2% of the UK market over H1 2016 vs. 31.9% a year ago. Reversely, the three luxury brands coming next in line all display arrogant health: BMW is up 14% to overtake Audi (+4%) in 4th place with 6.4% share while Mercedes is up an even more impressive 18% to 6.2%. Below, Nissan (-6%), Peugeot (-4%), Toyota (+1%) and Hyundai (+3%) all display declining or – at best – identical market shares compared to a year ago. Further down, Honda (+17%), Land Rover (+18%), Renault (+21%), Jeep (+42%), Smart (+63%), Jaguar (+68%), Ssangyong (+74%) and Infiniti (+157%) are among manufacturers frankly outpacing the market.

Vauxhall Mokka UK June 2015. Picture courtesy autocar.co.ukThe Vauxhall Mokka breaks into the YTD Top 10. 

Model-wise, the Ford Fiesta is headed straight towards an 8th consecutive year in pole position despite sales down a harsh 11% to 63.833. Yet that’s a better hold than the Vauxhall Corsa (-15%) and Ford Focus (-14%) rounding up the podium. In fact, the Top 7 best-sellers – in an order that is unchanged compared to H1 2015 – all lose volume year-on-year in a clear illustration of market fragmentation. The VW Golf and Nissan Qashqai, both at -2%, are the least affected at #4 and #5 respectively. The Mini (+4%) is the first model to improve at #8 with 24.293 units sold, while the Vauxhall Mokka breaks into the Top 10 to reach a best-ever #9 (+5%) and the Mercedes C-Class drops 11% but retains its spot among the country’s 10 favourite vehicles.

Hyundai Tucson UK June 2016Splendid landing by the Hyundai Tucson in the UK. 

Just outside the familiar Top 10, the Mercedes A-Class surges 44% to #11, the Kia Sportage is up 78% to #13 and the Ford Kuga up 18% to #17. The Range Rover Evoque gains 6 spots and 18% to #22, the Hyundai Tucson is the most popular new launch, landing at #26 above the Renault Kadjar at #41. The Vauxhall Viva misses out on a Top 50 ranking for a few hundred units, with the Fiat 500X at #59, the Jaguar XE at #60 and the Citroen C4 Cactus at #69.

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Full Year 2015 post: UK Full Year 2015: Market up 6% to record 2.633.503 units

One year ago (1): UK 1st Half 2015: Registrations up 7% to highest-ever half year score

One year ago (2): UK 1st half 2015: Now with Top 360 All-models ranking (BSCB exclusive)

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UK June 2016: Brexit triggers 2nd year-on-year drop in four years

Mini UK June 2016. Picture courtesy autocar.co.ukThe Mini Harch is up 13% to 5th place in May in the UK. 

* Now updated with the Top 155 models and Top 40 brands *

New car sales in the UK are down 0.8% in June to 255.766 registrations. Although this is still the 2nd best June score ever and it leads to a record first half at 1.420.636 units, it is also only the 2nd year-on-year monthly drop in four years and the question on everyone’s lips is: did Brexit have to do anything with it? Given the Brexit vote happened on June 23, it means that private sales cannot have been impacted, as these typically reflects orders from months before. Yet the end of June is typically a time where manufacturers load up on “artificial” sales such as short-term rentals, demo sales and self-registrations in order to meet half-year targets. So a 0.8% drop in a record environment can definitely mean carmakers have become bearish when it was time to push. Given the market remains pulled up by fleets (+4.5% in June) while private sales are lagging behind (-4.5%), this is very good news for the remainder of the year in the UK, as we already detailed in the post UK: Brexit means no sales record in 2016 and production uncertainty.

June-new-car-registrations-2000-to-present-chartSource: SMMT

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “It is far too soon to determine whether the referendum result has had an impact on the new car market. The first six months saw strong demand at record levels but the market undoubtedly cooled over the second quarter. It’s important government takes every measure to restore business and economic confidence to avoid the market contracting in the coming months.” Brand-wise, Ford (-9%), Vauxhall (-15%) and Volkswagen (-19%) still dominate but all lose significant market share, whereas just below BMW (+9%), Mercedes (+19%) and Audi (+3%) all gain significant ground. Let’s also notice Renault (+38%), Mini (+22%), Honda (+17%), Jaguar (+33%), Jeep (+60%), Smart (+25%) and Infiniti (+447%) all posting very solid year-on-year improvements.

Renault Kadjar UK June 2016. Picture autocar.co.ukRenault posts the largest year-on-year gain of any manufacturer in the Top 25. 

The Top 10 best-selling models show a paltry figure: 8 of them are down vs. June 2015 including the Top 4 most popular nameplates in the country: the Ford Fiesta (-9%), Vauxhall Corsa (-8%), Ford Focus (-25%) and VW Golf (-11%). Only the Mini (+13%) shooting up three spots on May to #5, its best monthly ranking so far in 2016, and the Mercedes C-Class up 4% to remain in the Top 10 at #10 show positive results. Disappointing scores from the locally-produced Nissan Qashqai (-18%) and the Vauxhall Astra, down 12% despite a new generation. The Vauhxall Mokka is back inside the Top 10 despite sales down 13% to 4.356.

Previous post (1): UK May 2016: Discover the Top 135 models (BSCB Exclusive)

Previous post (2): UK: Brexit means no sales record in 2016 and production uncertainty

Previous month: UK May 2016: Brexit uncertainty cools market growth to +2.5%

One year ago: UK June 2015: Mini and Vauxhall Mokka shine in market up 13%

Full June 2016 Top 40 brands and Top 155 models below.

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UK May 2016: Discover the Top 135 models (BSCB Exclusive)

Mercedes GLE Coupe UK May 2016First UK Top 100 ranking for the Mercedes GLE.

* See the Top 135 models ranking by clicking on the title *

As per the BSCB tradition, after the traditional All-brands ranking and Top 10 models, we can now explore a much more detailed UK models ranking for May: this time a Top 135. Just outside the familiar Top 10, the Mercedes A-Class, Ford Kuga and Vauxhall Mokka all gain two spots on April to rank #11, #12 and #13 respectively. Reversely, the Audi A3 (-4) and Kia Sportage (-6) step out of the April Top 10 whilst still registering solid scores. Reinvigorated by the new model, the Mercedes E-Class is up 11 ranks on last month to #19, the Audi A4 is stable at #23 vs. #33 so far this year and the BMW 4 Series is up 6 to #28 vs. #35 year-to-date.

Renault Kadjar UK May 2016The Renault Kadjar hits a best-ever #38 in the UK this month. 

The Hyundai Tucson (#27) dominates recent launches once again, ahead of the Land Rover Discovery Sport (#33), the Renault Kadjar hitting a best-ever #38 and the Fiat 500X at #54. Further down, the Mercedes GLE breaks into the UK Top 100 for the very first time at #96, the Smart Forfour (#99) is back inside it for the first time since last August, the Seat Alhambra leaps up to #115 and the Jaguar F-Pace drops 26 spots on April to #131.

Previous post: UK: Brexit means no sales record in 2016 and production uncertainty

Previous May post: UK May 2016: Brexit uncertainty cools market growth to +2.5%

One year ago: UK May 2015: Ford Focus and Mini shine, positive run about to end?

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UK: Brexit means no sales record in 2016 and production uncertainty

EU-Brexit-referedum

The decision by UK voters to choose to leave the European Union after 43 years will trigger a “period of uncertainty” according to BMW, who manufactures Mini and Rolls-Royce cars in the UK. Most analysts including myself agree. After smashing its all-time volume record last year to 2.633.533 units, the UK market is set to fall 4% in 2016 amid economic instability and currency volatility according to Equity analysts Evercore ISI. This is to be compared with a pre-Brexit forecast of 3% growth. Given the current 4% year-on-year increase at end-May, this means a 10% drop over the next 6 months until the end of the year, which is also the decline rate Evercore ISI is predicting for the Full Year 2017, leading to a 2.5% percent fall in European production.

Jaguar F-Pace UK April 2016. Picture courtesy autoexpress.co.ukTroubled waters ahead: UK’s largest carmaker Jaguar Land Rover, and BMW though its Mini and Rolls-Royce operations.

A June 2016 survey by independent pollster ComRes showed 77% of members of the trade body for the UK automotive sector, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), said remaining in Europe would be best for their business. Throughout the campaign, all carmakers with operations in the UK had multiplied the warnings that a Brexit would impact negatively both sales and production in the country. Now that Brexit has become a reality, the industry is bracing for troubled waters ahead. Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “The British public has chosen a new future out of Europe. Government must now maintain economic stability and secure a deal with the EU which safeguards UK automotive interests. This includes securing tariff-free access to European and other global markets, ensuring we can recruit talent from the EU and the rest of the world and making the UK the most competitive place in Europe for automotive investment.”

Nissan Qashqai UK June 2016Built in Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, the Nissan Qashqai is the #1 UK-made export to the EU.

The UK automotive industry is mainly owned by foreign manufacturers including Nissan, Toyota and Honda, who set up factories in the UK mainly to export to the EU. Tata Motors’ Jaguar Land Rover remains the UK’s largest carmaker, but is followed closely by Nissan, present in the UK for 32 years and manufacturing 475.000 cars annually, notably to hot-seller Qashqai, most of them for export inside the EU. Sunderland in northern England, where Nissan has its operations, was among the constituencies that surprised pundits by voting for Brexit. This quote by AN Europe.

Toyota Auris UK June 2016Toyota manufactures the Auris for the EU in Burnaston, Derbyshire.

Toyota, a local manufacturer for the past 24 years, warned its employees that the UK’s withdrawal from the EU may lead to levies of as much as 10% on the cars it builds in Britain. The Japanese carmaker exports 90% of the vehicles it manufactures in the UK, and 75% of these are sold in the EU. One Asian automaker executive with manufacturing capacity in Britain, speaking on condition of anonymity to Automotive News Europe, said: “We don’t have any choice but to be more cautious with our investment decisions, including moves like whether to produce a new or significantly redesigned vehicle model in the UK.”

UK May 2016: Brexit uncertainty cools market growth to +2.5%

BMW 3 Series UK May 2016BMW sales are up 26% and the 3 Series breaks into the Top 10 for the first time this year. 

* See the Top 10 best-selling models and Top 40 brands below.

According to figures released by The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), May 2016 new car sales in the UK are up by a shy 2.5% to 203.585 cars, May’s strongest tally since 2002 but in fact corresponding to a market decline given the higher number of selling days compared to May 2015. Worse news: the entire market is pulled into positive thanks to fleet sales up 9% to 109.471 units and 53.8% share vs. 50.8% a year ago whereas private sales are down 3% to 89.094 and 43.8% vs. 46.2% in May 2015. Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “the low growth is evidence of the market cooling in the face of concerns around economic and political stability. Whether this is the result of some buyers holding off until the current uncertainty is resolved or a sign of a more stable market for new cars remains to be seen.”

May UK registrations 2000-2016 (Source: SMMT):

May-new-car-registrations-2000-to-present-chart-e1465201211583

Ford tops the brands ranking but drops 2% to 11.7% share, Vauxhall tumbles down 21% to just 8% share vs. 9.2% year-to-date but reclaims the #2 spot off Volkswagen by the skin of its teeth: 16.300 sales vs. 16.505 (-7%) for the German carmaker. BMW is up 26% to bypass both Audi (+1%) and Mercedes (+21%) with 15.423 deliveries and 7.6% share. Peugeot (+19%), Kia (+13%), Land Rover (+27%), Renault (+15%) and Honda (+17%) also impress inside the Top 20. Big gainers among smaller brands include Jaguar (+64%), Smart (+42%) and Ssangyong (+64%).

Nissan Qashqai UK May 2016. Picture courtesy autoexpress.co.ukThe Nissan Qashqai is the only nameplate in the Top 8 to gain ground year-on-year.

Model-wise, the Ford Fiesta remains in the lead but drops 12% to 8.236 sales and the VW Golf manages to hold onto the #2 spot for the second consecutive month despite a 3% fall. In fact, reiterating a trend we saw last month, seven of the Top 8 best-sellers post year-on-year declines in May. The Vauxhall Astra surprisingly falls 21% despite the arrival of a new generation, the Ford Focus is down 23% and the Vauxhall Corsa down 25%. Only the Nissan Qashqai up 18% to #5 manages to improve. The Mini is back inside the Top 10 at #8, the Mercedes C-Class holds strong at #9 and the BMW 3 Series returns among UK’s 10 favourites for the first time in 2016 so far at #10.

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One year ago: UK May 2015: Ford Focus and Mini shine, positive run about to end?

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UK April 2016: Discover the Top 150 models (BSCB Exclusive)

Jaguar F-Pace UK April 2016. Picture courtesy autoexpress.co.ukThe Jaguar F-Pace just misses out on a first Top 100 UK ranking in April. 

* See the Top 150 best-selling models by clicking on the title *

As per the BSCB tradition, after the traditional All-brands ranking and Top 10 models, we can now share with you a much more detailed UK models ranking for April: this time a Top 150. The Nissan Juke (#11), Mini (#12) and Mercedes A-Class (#13) just miss out on a Top 10 ranking this month, with the Range Rover Evoque (+3 spots on March), Audi A1 (+16), Hyundai Tucson (+13) and Audi A4 (+24) also faring extremely well inside the Top 25. The Seat Leon is up 21 ranks to #31, the Audi Q3 up 35 to #32, the Renault Kadjar up 3 to #39 and the Skoda Superb up 47 to #57.

Infiniti Q30 UK April 2016. Picture courtesy autoexpress.co.ukThe Infiniti Q30 breaks into the UK Top 150 for the first time this month. 

But the title of outstanding performer of the month goes to the Jaguar F-Pace making its very first appearance inside the monthly UK Top 150 directly at #105 with 513 sales. This makes the F-Pace the third best-selling Jaguar in the country below the XE (#73) and XF (#84). Notice also the arrival of the Infiniti Q30 at #149 with 249 units sold in April.

Previous post: UK April 2016: Volkswagen above Vauxhall, Kia Sportage in Top 10 again

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One year ago: UK April 2015: Volkswagen above Vauxhall in best April in a decade

Full April 2016 Top 150 models Ranking below.

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UK April 2016: Volkswagen above Vauxhall, Kia Sportage in Top 10 again

Kia Sportage UK April 2016Kia Sportage

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UK new car sales markedly slow down their growth in April at just +2% to 189.505 registrations, still the best April score in over a decade – since 2003 when 194.312 new cars were registered. This means the year-to-date total is now up 4% to 961.285 units. Below Ford down 7% to 23.311 sales and 12.3% share, as it was also the case a year ago Volkswagen outsells Vauxhall despite sales down 10% to 16.877 and 8.9% vs. 16.037 and 8.5% (-3%). In 4th place, Audi reaches an outstanding 7.2% share ahead of Mercedes (+20%), BMW (+1%), Nissan (+2%) and Hyundai (+8%). Kia (+12%), Land Rover (+17%), Renault (+26%) and Honda (+36%) are the other double-digit gainers inside the Top 20. Below, Jaguar (+109%), Suzuki (+27%), Jeep (+115%), Infiniti (+91%) and Bentley (+89%) also shine.

April UK registrations 2000-2016 (Source: SMMT):

April-new-car-registrations-2000-to-present-chart

Model-wise, the Ford Fiesta remains the best-seller in the country despite sales down a harsh 23% to 7.913. In fact, five of the top 7 best-sellers are down this month, with the Ford Focus (-12%), VW Polo (-13%) and Vauxhall Corsa (-18%) suffering the most. Keeping their head above the water are the VW Golf (+5%) up to a stunning 2nd place overall and the Vauxhall Astra up 14% to #5 thanks to the new model. The event in the Top 10 is however the return of the Kia Sportage: at #9 with 3.167 sales, it’s the nameplate’s 2nd incursion among UK’s ten favourites after last February (#9 also) and after ranking #12 in record-high March. The new generation clearly has hit a nerve with UK consumers. This 2nd stint inside the Top 10 makes the Sportage only the 2nd Koran models to ever rank inside the monthly UK Top 10 more than once along with the Hyundai i10 (six times between July 2009 and December 2011, peaking at #3 in August 2009).

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One year ago: UK April 2015: Volkswagen above Vauxhall in best April in a decade

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UK March 2016: Discover the Top 160 models (BSCB Exclusive)

Land-Rover-Discovery-Sport-Range Rover-EvoqueTotal success: the Discovery Sport and Range Rover Evoque push Land Rover in the Top 10.

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As per the BSCB tradition, after the traditional All-brands ranking and Top 10 models, we can now access more UK models detail for March. The Vauxhall Mokka misses out on a Top 10 ranking for 105 sales at #11, followed by the Kia Sportage very strong again at #12, the Toyota Yaris (+38 spots on February) and Mercedes A-Class. In the luxury SUV aisle, the Range Rover Evoque is up 40 ranks to #20 and the Land Rover Discovery Sport up 47 to #21, both delivery outstanding results and justifying Land Rover’s arrival in the UK Top 10 brands. Renault places the Captur at #22, the Clio at #23 and the Kadjar at #42. The Vauxhall Viva is up 37 spots on last month to #28, the BMW 4 Series up 23 to #29 but the Hyundai Tucson falls 14 to #33.

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One year ago: UK March 2016: Nissan Qashqai hits record in best month this century

Full March 2016 Top 160 models Ranking Table below.

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UK March 2016: First half-million sales month this century

BMW X1 UK March 2016. Picture courtesy autoexpress.co.ukBMW UK sales are up 21% in March to 32.470. 

* See the Top 10 best-selling models and Top 40 All-brands by clicking on the title *

With volumes up 5% year-on-year to an outstanding 518.707 registrations, the UK new car market marks only its third ever time above half a million monthly units, and the first time since the bi-annual plate change took place in 1999. The year-to-date total is up 5% to 771.780 units for the first Quarter. Private sales lag behind the market with a 4% increase to 262.215 units and 50.6% share vs. 51.3% a year ago, while fleet are up 6% to 232.729 and 44.9% and business sales up 15% to 23.763. Ford keeps the lead despite sales down 5% to 60.349, above Vauxhall (+7%) and Volkswagen down just one sale on March 2015. BMW is galloping towards the top of the sales charts with volumes up 21% to 32.470 and maintaining its luxury lead over Audi at 30.483 (+5%) and Mercedes a 30.243 (+14%).

UK March registrations SMMT

Jaguar XF Audi A6 UK March 2016. Picture courtesy autoexpress.co.ukJaguar sales are up 45% in March. Picture autoexpress.co.uk 

Further down, Land Rover is up a splendid 18% to historically break into the Top 10 at #10 with 18.234 sales, detaching such mass manufacturers as Renault (+13%), Hyundai (+2%), Kia (+8%), Citroen or Fiat. Jaguar (+45%), Lexus (+27%), Smart (+88%), Ssangyong (+115%) and Infiniti (+156%) shine. Model-wise, the whopper sales figures pull the ranking back to a more familiar look, with the Top 7 best-sellers now in the same order as in FY2015: the Fiesta (-13%), Corsa (-10%) and Focus (-9%) are in front despite significant drops, followed by the VW Golf (+10%), Nissan Qashqai (-7%), VW Polo (+2%) and Vauxhall Astra, up just 3% in spite of the arrival of the new generation. Fleet favourites, the Mini and Fiat 500 reapear inside the Top 10 whereas the Vauxhall Mokka drops out but holds onto a #10 ranking year-to-date.

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Previous month: UK February 2016: Kia Sportage breaks into Top 10 for the first time

One year ago: UK March 2016: Nissan Qashqai hits record in best month this century

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UK February 2016: Discover the Top 135 models (BSCB Exclusive)

Renault Kadjar Northern Ireland February 2016The Kadjar is already Renault’s best-seller in the UK.

* See the Top 135 best-selling models by clicking on the title *

After the traditional UK Top 10, we now have access to a lot more models ranking detail for February: up to the Top 135 this month. The main event in the Top 10 was the very first appearance of the Kia Sportage among the country’s favourites, but there is also a lot of movement below. We already got a sense of these models performing particularly well in our UK nations February update: the Mercedes A-Class a #11, the BMW 1 Series at #12 and Hyundai Tucson at #19. The BMW 2 Series (#21), Citroen C4 Picasso (#23), Skoda Fabia (#27), Ford C-Max (#33) and Ka (#34) and DS 3 (#37) are also strong, while the Renault Kadjar shoots up from #73 in January to #39 this month, boosted by a 5th place in Northern Ireland and becoming the French manufacturer’s best-seller in the country above the Captur (#56).

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Full February 2016 Top 135 models Ranking Table below.

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