* 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):
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.
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.
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.
Full February 2016 Top 10 models and Top 40 brands below.