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UK Full Year 2017: Golf and Qashqai break records in market down 5.7%

The VW Golf hits an all-time high 2nd place in 2017 in the UK.

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If 2016 was surprisingly a record year despite Brexit, 2017 marks the first year-on-year decline since 2011, down a more logical 5.7% to 2.540.617 – still the third best result in the past decade – and plagued by nine consecutive months of decline from April onwards, culminating in a 14.4% loss in December. Uncertainties concerning the still ongoing Brexit negotiations as well as worries on diesel engine penalties have kept UK car buyers at home. All channels decline in 2017, but none more so than business sales down 7.8% to 97.564 and 3.8% share wit private sales also falling faster than the market at -6.8% to 1.123.860 and 44.2% share vs. 44.8% a year ago. Fleet sales do better at -4.5% to 1.319.193 and gain market share at 51.9% vs 51.3% in 2016. Diesel sales a freefalling at -17.1% to 1.065.879 and 42% share vs. 47.7% a year ago whereas petrol sales are up 2.7% to 1.354.917 and 53.3% share vs. 49% in 2016. The big (and only?) winners in 2017 are alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) up a stunning 34.8% to a record 119.821 sales and 4.7% share.

Annual UK volumes 2001-2017. Source: SMMT

The Nissan Qashqai hits a record #4 and topped the UK charts for the first time in September. 

In 2017, the UK brands ranking has been the theatre of a descent to hell for local manufacturer Vauxhall, down an abysmal 22% to third place and 7.7% share vs. 9.3% in 2016 but outside the monthly podium for 6 out of 12 months and stuck at #6 below the three German premium brands in both October and November. Even worse: during these two months there were no Vauxhalls in the Top 10 models, potentially for the first time since 1979 or ever. Ford remains in the lead but drops 10% to 11.3% while Volkswagen (+1%) advances to #2 for the first time in history. Mercedes (+7%) leapfrogs BMW (-4%) and Audi (-1%) to become the best-selling premium brand in the UK while Toyota (+5%), Hyundai (+1%) , Kia (+4%) and Land Rover (+4%) all progress on the ladder thanks to positive results. Aston Martin (+62%), Infiniti (+22%), Maserati (+19%), Seat (+18%) and Abarth (+12%) are among the rare carmakers to post double-digit gains as double-digit declines are more frequent: Mitsubishi (-12%), Smart (-14%), Mazda (-16%), Peugeot (-17%), Citroen (-18%), Lotus (-18%), Renault (-19%), Ssangyong (-19%), Subaru (-26%), Fiat (-27%), DS (-43%), Jeep (-55%)…

New volume record for the Mercedes C-Class in the UK.

Over in the models ranking, the Ford Fiesta easily manages to remain in pole position for the 9th straight year (12 times at #1 in total) despite a harsh 22% decline pulling the nameplate below 100.000 annual units for the first time since 2011, and while only having topped the monthly charts seven times. There are four record-breakers in the Top 10 in 2017 – tellingly the only four nameplates that gain ground this year all break their all-time volume records. Firstly the VW Golf is up 7% to leap two spots to 2nd place, establishing a new volume record for the nameplate and a new annual ranking record for any foreign nameplate (the Peugeot 206 at #4 is the closest). The VW Golf managed to top the monthly UK charts 3 times this year (June, August and December) whereas it had only happened once before in the 43 year-history of the nameplate: in February 2011. The Golf is also on a 8 month-streak of consecutive Top 2 monthly rankings.

First annual UK Top 10 ranking for the Mercedes A-Class.

Secondly, below the Ford Focus (-1%) knocked down to #3 the locally produced Nissan Qashqai edges up 2% in 2017 to a new all-time high volume of 64.216 units and to a record annual #4 spot, even ranking #1 for the very first time in September. These are both records for any Japanese nameplate on sale in the UK, with the second best annual ranking hit by the Datsun Cherry in 1981 (#8). In terms of volume, the second most popular Japanese car in UK history is the Nissan Micra at 54.175 in 1989. Just as the Vauxhall Corsa (-32%), Astra (-19%) and VW Polo (-12%) freefall, two Mercedes nameplates are at all-time highs: the C-Class is up 4% to a new volume record, posting its third ever annual Top 10 ranking after 2012 and 2016. For the A-Class (+6%) on the other hand, its 10th spot for 2017 make it the first year among UK’s 10 favourites with a new volume record also, meaning 2017 is the first year in history Mercedes places two nameplates inside the UK Top 10. Finally, the BMW 4 Series broke into the monthly UK Top 10 for the first time in October.

Previous month: UK November 2017: Mini hits highest rank, 8th straight decline (-11.2%)

Previous year: UK Full Year 2016: Second annual record in a row despite Brexit

Two years ago: UK Full Year 2015: Market up 6% to record 2,633,503 units

Full Year 2017 Top 42 All-brands and Top 10 models vs. Full Year 2016 figures below.

Full December 2017 Top 42 All-brands and Top 10 models below.

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