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.

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

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

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

Full May 2016 Top 10 models and Top 40 brands below.

The rest of this content is for members only.
Log In Register

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

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

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

Full April 2016 Top 150 models Ranking below.

The rest of this content is for 1 Year members only.
Log In Register

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

Kia Sportage UK April 2016Kia Sportage

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

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).

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

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

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

Full April 2016 Top 10 models and Top 40 brands below.

The rest of this content is for members only.
Log In Register

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.

* See the Top 160 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 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.

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

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

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

Full March 2016 Top 160 models Ranking Table below.

The rest of this content is for 1 Year members only.
Log In Register

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.

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

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

Full March 2016 Top 10 models and Top 40 All-brands below.

The rest of this content is for members only.
Log In Register

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).

Previous post: 4th BSCB feature in Auto Express, Britain’s biggest selling car weekly

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

One year ago: UK February 2015: VW Golf doubles sales to shoot up to 2nd place

Full February 2016 Top 135 models Ranking Table below.

The rest of this content is for 1 Year members only.
Log In Register

4th BSCB feature in Auto Express, Britain’s biggest selling car weekly

Auto Express Feature 4

After The best-selling cars you’ve never heard of, China on the march and a piece on the re-export phenomenon in the European Union, I have now written a fourth feature in Britain’s biggest-selling weekly car magazine, Auto Express. In this week’s issue on sale today Wednesday 30th March, I go through 50 years worth of best-sellers in the UK, drawing on the historical data available on BSCB.

This three-page Inside Story titled “Chart hits of the past 50 years” features BSCB with the usual signature this time focusing on the historical database but also in the intro of the article: “A look back through the history books flags up some great recovery stories, as well as some fallen heroes – once great names in the business now consigned to the scrapyard. With the help of BestSellingCarsBlog, Auto Express has tracked the past 50 years, taking snapshots of annual UK new car sales every decade to chronicle a period of enormous change.”

I mixed car sales data up with the royal, political, musical and sports news most relevant for each year in order to make this a real trip down memory lane! The Austin/Morris 1100, Ford Cortina, Austin Allegro, Maestro, BMC Mini, Datsun Sunny, Rover 100, Ford Escort and many more are featured. If you live in the UK, go get yourself a copy: it in on sale until next Tuesday 4th April. You can also buy it online here.

UK: Nameplates Records now updated with 2015 data

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 30 foreign nameplates *

We can share with you an updated ranking exclusive to BSCB: the best-selling nameplates in the country, ranked by their volume record year and covering the past 50 years since records began. 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 is 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.

Peugeot 306

The Top 2 foreign models volume records were delivered in 2002: the Peugeot 206 at a seemingly unbeatable 101,019 units, which earned it a record 4th place, the highest annual ranking ever reached by a foreign model in the UK. The Renault Clio comes in 2nd at 86,336 sales that same year and the VW Golf ranks third with 73,880 units hit in 2014, while its highest ranking is a record-equalling 4th position reached in 2011.

Nissan Micra

The Peugeot 306 at #4 broke the foreign model volume record 4 consecutive times between 95 and 98. In fact Peugeot, once a local producer, places no less than 8 models in the Top 16 highest selling foreign nameplates: the 206 (#1), 306 (#4), 207 (#5), 307 (#8), 205 (#13), 405 (#14), 106 (#15) and 406 (#16). Sister brand Citroen places the Xsara at #6 and the Saxo at #22. Note the BMW 3 Series at #7 with a peak of 65,489 units in 2003.

Nissan Qashqai UK 2015Nissan Qashqai

In 2015 the Nissan Qashqai becomes the first Japanese model to break into the annual UK Top 5, and also breaks the annual volume record for a Nippon model (60,814) previously held by the Nissan Micra since 1989 (54,175) Interestingly, the Micra never managed to break into the year-end Top 10, a feat that the Datsun Sunny (in 1977, 78, 82 and 83) and Datsun Cherry (1981) have managed.

UK Top 25 best-selling nameplates and Top 30 foreign nameplates below.

The rest of this content is for 1 Year members only.
Log In Register

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

Kia Sportage UK February 2016The Kia Sportage is the 3rd Korean model to ever break the monthly UK Top 10.

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

The UK new car market is up a splendid 8% year-on-year in February to 83.395 registrations, the largest February score since 2004. This brings the year-to-date total to 253.073 units, up 5% on 2015. Even more satisfying: this growth is solely driven by private sales, up 23% and accounting for 45.2% of the market vs. 39.9% a year ago, whereas fleet sales are down 1% to 53.1% share vs. 58.3 in February 2015.

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

 

Picture1-1-1024x728

Ford dominates the brands ranking once again with 13.8% share thanks to sales up 17% on a year ago whereas its immediate followers both lose significant ground: Vauxhall is down 18% to 9.4% share and Volkswagen down 13% to 8%. BMW (+13%) surges 3 spots on January to land in 4th position above Audi (+22%) and Mercedes (+20%). Notice also Kia (+24%), Skoda (+28%), Honda (+30%), Suzuki (+35%), Seat (+36%), Land Rover (+61%), Smart (+123%) and Jaguar (+209%) all in very solid shape.

Nissan Qashqai UK February 2016The Nissan Qashqai posts a 2nd consecutive month on the UK podium. 

Over in the models ranking, the Ford Fiesta reigns supreme and even improves its market share to 5.4% thanks to sales up 10% to 4.507, above the VW Golf down 19% to 2.574. After ranking at an all-time record 2nd place last month, the Nissan Qashqai confirms its incredible year start by signing a second consecutive (and ever) podium finish at #3 with 2.486 sales (+38%). It still ranks #2 year-to-date. Before 2016, the Qashqai’s best-ever monthly ranking in the UK was #4, hit in January and March 2015… The Vauxhall Corsa (-15%) and Astra (-32%) disappoint while the Ford Focus is solid in 5th place with sales up 17%.

The Hyundai i10 is the highest-ranking Korean model in the UK: #3 in August 2009.

But the event of the month can be found in 9th place: boosted by the new generation, the Kia Sportage makes its very first appearance in the UK monthly Top 10, up from #19 in January and #29 over the Full Year 2015. The Sportage sells 1.521 units for a 1.8% market share and is the third Korean model to ever rank within the UK Top 10 along with the Kia Picanto, #9 in February 2010, and the Hyundai i10, breaking into the UK Top 10 for a total of six times between July 2009 and December 2011, peaking at #3 in August 2009.

The Datsun Sunny was the first Japanese model in the UK Top 10.

For comparison, the first Japanese nameplate to break into the annual UK Top 10 was the Datsun Sunny in 1977 (#10) followed by the Datsun Cherry, #8 in 1981. The Nissan Qashqai, manufactured locally, is the only other Nippon car to rank within the year-end UK Top 10, having done so every year since 2010, and the first one to break into the annual Top 5, just last year. The Qashqai first broke into the monthly UK Top 10 back in May 2009, joining already large ranks of Japanese models at this level, including the Nissan March, Honda Civic and Honda Jazz. The Toyota Yaris (first in August 2009) and Nissan Juke (January 2013) were the last Japanese cars to break into the UK Top 10 for the first time.

Previous post: UK January 2016: Discover the Top 130 models (BSCB Exclusive)

Previous month: UK January 2016: Nissan Qashqai surges to record-breaking 2nd place

One year ago: UK February 2015: VW Golf doubles sales to shoot up to 2nd place

Full February 2016 Top 10 models and Top 40 brands below.

The rest of this content is for members only.
Log In Register