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

Nissan Qashqai UK 2015. Picture courtesy locally-produced Nissan Qashqai is the first-ever Japanese car to break the annual UK Top 5. 

* Now updated with the Top 165 models and Top 40 brands *

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It’s official: 2015 is an all-time record year for new car sales in the UK, up a solid 6% to 2.633.503 units, beating the previous best of 2.579.050 units reached 12 years ago in 2003. In fact, it is only the fourth time in history the UK market is above 2.5 million and the first time in over a decade after 2002, 2003 and 2004.  There is however a distinctly nagging feeling to this perfect picture: if in 2014 private and fleet sales were almost exactly at the same level, this year a large part of the year-on-year growth is coming from fleet deliveries up 12% to 1.317.570, reaching an all-time high 50% share vs. just +2.5% to 1.208.812 and 45.9% share for private purchases. Business sales for their part are down 10% to just 107.121 units and 4.1% share. A market boosted by fleet sales is by nature lacking in fundamental health and it’s one of the reasons why SMMT predicts flat overall sales for 2016.

UK new car registrations – rolling year totals, 2009 to present (source SMMT):


Jaguar XE UK 2015The XE single-handedly boost Jaguar sales up 30% at home in 2015.

Brand-wise, the podium is unchanged with Ford sovereign again at 12.7% share above Vauxhall at 10%, while Volkswagen has experienced a rollercoaster year, historically outselling Vauxhall in April to rank #2 overall but sinking 20% in November in the midst of its emissions scandal. BMW takes control of luxury brands thanks to sales up a spectacular 12% to 167.391, overtaking Audi (+4%) with Mercedes (+17%) catching up in 7th place. Hyundai replaces Citroen in the Top 10 and outside, Renault (+14%), Land Rover (+18%), Mini (+18%), Mazda (+20%), Jaguar (+30%), Mitsubishi (+44%), Porsche (+33%), Jeep (+176%) and Smart (+95%) take off. DS appears as a standalone brand at #29.

Vauxhall Mokka UK 2015. Picture courtesy Vauxhall Mokka makes its grand entrance in the annual UK Top 10.

Over in the models ranking, the Ford Fiesta signs a 7th consecutive win with 133.434 sales, and is followed this year by the Vauxhall Corsa boosted up 13% by the new model and overtaking the Ford Focus to land at #2 for the first time since 2012. Below the VW Golf, the Nissan Qashqai (+22%) is the first-ever Japanese model to break the annual UK Top 5 at #5 with 60.814 sales. The Vauxhall Astra falls to its lower UK ranking in 31 years (since 1984) at #7 – the new generation cannot come quick enough – just as the Vauxhall Mokka delivers its very first annual Top 10 ranking at #10. Finally, the Mini (#9) is back inside the annual UK Top 10 for the first time since 2012.

Land Rover Discovery Sport UK 2015The Land Rover Discovery Sport is the most popular all-new model in the UK in 2015.

Outside the Top 10, the Ford Kuga is up 39% and 9 spots to #17, the Renault Captur is up 28% to #24, the Toyota Aygo up 22% to #25, the BMW 4 Series up 60% to #28 and the Ford Mondeo up 47% to #36. The Land Rover Discovery Sport is the most popular all-new model in the UK for 2015, brilliantly breaking ion the Top 50 for its very firs annual appearance at #49 with 16.485 deliveries. It is followed by the Citroen C4 Cactus at #75 (11.357), Hyundai Tucson at #81 (10.203 sales), the Jaguar XE at #85 (9.543), the Fiat 500X at #102, Jeep Renegade at #107, Suzuki Vitara at #110, Smart Forfour at #111 and the Vauxhall Viva at #114. A year rich in novelties indeed!

Previous post: UK December 2015: Mini on podium in record month

Previous year: UK Full Year 2014: Market up 9% to highest level in a decade

Two years ago: UK Full Year 2013: Ford Fiesta marks 10 years at #1

Full Year 2015 Top 165 models and Top 40 brands vs. Full Year 2014 figures below.

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