* See the Top 10 best-selling models and Top 42 brands by clicking on the title *
According to figures released by SMMT, the UK new car market drops 8.5% in May to 186.265 registrations, as the March pull-forward effect of the Vehicle Excise Duty changes is still making itself felt. The upcoming general election may also have had a dampening effect on sales this month. Private sales are mainly responsible for the sizeable downturn at -14% year-on-year to 76.554 units while fleet sales drop 5.3% to 103.657, accounting for 55.7% of the market, and business sales go against the grain with a 20.1% surge to a still discreet 6.054 units. Ignoring the surrounding depressed climate, alternatively fuelled vehicles gain 46.7% to reach a record 4.4% market share. Year-to-date, thanks to an all-time record March figure, the market is down just 0.6% to a still very dynamic 1.158.357 units. Private sales are down 4.2% but fleet sales are up 2.4% and business sales up 5.3%.
The brands ranking is once again completely reshuffled. If last month the three German premium brands were the ones shining, this time Volkswagen climbs to 2nd place overall with a contained 2% drop to 8.4% share vs. 7.4% year-to-date. It’s the second time this year after last February that Volkswagen ranks #2 in the UK. Mercedes gains 7% to rank third with 7.9% share vs. 7.2% so far this year and Audi is down just 1% to 5th and 7.4% vs. 6.4% in 2017 so far. Mercedes and Audi assuredly benefit from solid fleet sales this month. Struggling are Ford down 14% to 11% share vs. 12.2% year-to-date, Vauxhall down 14% to 7.5% and BMW down 17% to 6.8%, albeit securing a higher market share than its year-to-date level of 6.8%. Further down, Skoda (+9%), Seat (+11%) and Volvo (+7%) are the only other manufacturers posting year-on-year increases in the Top 20. Below, Porsche (+25%), MG (+33%), Infiniti (+153%) and Abarth (+21%) make themselves noticed with substantial gains.
Model-wise, the Ford Fiesta remains faithful to the pole position, following the market at 8%. It is followed this month by the VW Golf back up five spots on April but down 5% year-on-year and the Nissan Qashqai improving 6%. The VW Polo (+10%), Vauxhall Astra (+7%) and Mercedes C-Class (+13%) also post year-on-year gains while the Mercedes A-Class remains inside the Top 10 at #10 and stays #9 year-to-date. Following another disappointing performance (-17%), the Vauxhall Corsa drops two spots year-to-date to #5, allowing the Nissan Qashqai to lift its ranking to #3 – if maintained until the end of the year this would be an all-time record – and the VW Golf to #4.
Full May 2017 Top 10 models and Top 42 brands below.