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UK April 2017: Qashqai teases Fiesta, two Mercedes in Top 4 in market down 20%

The Nissan Qashqai is only 527 units off the overall top spot this month. 

* See the Top 10 best-selling models and Top 42 brands by clicking on the title *

After an all-time record month in March when registrations were pulled forward ahead of Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) changes put in place on April 1, the UK market logically feels the pain in April: down a harsh 20% year-on-year to 152.076 units, the lowest April figure since 2012. Private sales are hit the hardest at -28% to 59.912 while business sales are down 21% to 5.486 and fleet sales down just 12% to 86.678 or 57% of the overall market vs. 52.2% a year ago and 49.9% year-to-date. At 972.092 units, the year-to-date tally remains above its level of a year ago by just 1.1%, reaching a new record.  Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, predicts demand will stabilise over the year as the turbulence created by these tax changes decreases.

2001-2017 April scores. Source SMMT 

The strength of fleet sales this month is reflected both in the brands and the models ranking, both vigorously reshuffled. The traditional market leader, Ford, drops 31% and is followed this time by the three premium brands in exceptional shape. Mercedes is up 10% to 2nd place overall with 8.8% share, its highest ranking and share in the UK ever. Audi drops 4% but frankly outsells Volkswagen down 41% to a paltry 6th place. Finally BMW is up 3% to rank 4th above Vauxhall (-33%). Other brands ignoring this month’s gloomy context are Hyundai (-3%), Kia (-8%) and Skoda (-9%) in the Top 10, Seat (+12%), Smart (+7%) and Ssangyong (+10%) below.

The Mercedes A-Class shoots up to #4 overall this month. 

The models ranking also gets a strong facelift. The Ford Fiesta remains in the lead but drops 37% year-on-year and has the Nissan Qashqai (-1%) only 527 units below. The Mercedes C-Class (+5%) shoots up 7 spots on last month to land on the third step of the podium while the Mercedes A-Class surges to a record 4th place thanks to 3.608 sales, making it two Mercedes in the Top 4 for the first time in UK history. The Audi A3 down just 5% to #8 and the BMW 1 Series up to #10 complete a fleet-biased Top 10. Almost all the traditional strong sellers take a bigger hit than the market itself: the Ford Focus is down 38%, the VW Golf down 43%, the VW Polo down 31% and the Vauxhall Corsa down 39%. Only the Vauxhall Astra is in line with the market at -19%.

Previous month: UK March 2017: Upcoming tax change triggers all-time record month

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

Full April 2017 Top 10 models and Top 42 brands below.

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