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UK July 2017: Ford Focus and VW Golf on top, market down 9.3%

The Ford Focus is #1 in the UK for the first time in 4.5 years. 

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

The UK new car market endures a fourth consecutive month of year-on-year decline in July at -9.3% to 161.997 registrations, the lowest result for the month in five years, leading to a year-to-date tally down 2.2% to 1.563.808 units. All channels are down: business sales are down 23.8% to 5.106, fleet sales are down 10.1% to 89.186 and private sales down 6.8% to 67.705, actually improving their share of the total UK market at 41.8% vs. 40.7% a year ago. Year-to-date, fleet sales are up 0.1% to 817,767, business sales down 0.2% to 60.656 and private sales down 5% to 685.385 and 43.8% share vs. 45.1% over the first seven months of 2016. Petrol cars are down 3%, diesel cars down 20.1% but alternatively fuelled vehicles are up 64.9% to 8.871 units for a new record 5.5% market share.

July registrations 2001-2017 – courtesy SMMT 

Brand-wise, the two UK behemoths are in fact solely responsible for the market decline: Ford plunges 24% to just 10.5% share vs. 11.8% YTD while Vauxhall freefalls 42% to 5th place overall and 7.1% share vs. 7.9% so far this year. This means Volkswagen (+0.4%) remains 2nd while Audi surges 11% to a stellar third place with 8% market share vs. 6.6% YTD, passing BMW (-6%) YTD to now rank 5th. Mercedes (-0.3%) meanwhile gains one spot on June to #4. Skoda (+21%), Toyota (+20%), Seat (+32%) and Porsche (+65%) are the only manufacturers posting a double-digit gain inside the Top 30, while Peugeot (-30%), Citroen (-26%) and Fiat (-45%) also struggle greatly.

The VW Golf misses out on two consecutive months at #1 by just 15 sales. 

After the shock of having the VW Golf as its overall leader for only the second time in history last month, the UK models ranking gets another surprising reshuffle in July, with the Ford Focus taking possession of the pole position and the VW Golf missing out on an incredible two consecutive months at #1 by just 15 units… It is the first time the Ford Focus ends the month at #1 in the UK since February 2013 and only the 5th time it does so in the past seven years (add January 2011, November and December 2012). Last month the Ford Fiesta had its 29 month-long stint in the UK #1 spot interrupted, and instead of reclaiming its rank in July, it falls further down the charts with sales plummeting down 58% to #4 overall, the nameplate’s lowest monthly ranking in the UK since February 2011 when the VW Golf ranked #1 in the UK for the very first time. This fall could be caused by the transition to the new generation.

Kia Sportage UK August 2016The Kia Sportage ranks at a best-ever 6th place overall in July.

The Nissan Qashqai (+2%) jumps four spots on June to land on the third step of the podium, the VW Polo is up 3 but down 22% year-on-year and both the Vauxhall Corsa and Astra painfully lose half their sales compared to June 2016… The Kia Sportage surges to an all-time record 6th place overall, beating its previous best of #8 set in August 2016. It is the 6th time the Sportage has managed to crack the monthly UK Top 10, the first one in February 2016 and the last one in January 2017. Finally, the Mercedes A-Class (#9) and Audi A3 (#10) return into the Top 10, the latter for the first time since last April.

Previous post: UK First Half 2017: Mercedes shines, places C-Class and A-Class in Top 10

Previous month: UK June 2017: VW Golf becomes best-seller for the first time

One year ago: UK July 2016: Vauxhall Astra and Mercedes A-Class shoot up

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

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