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After 12 consecutive months of year-on-year declines, the UK market takes a breather in April with a relatively surprising 10.4% gain to 167.911 registrations with YTD volumes down 8.8% to 886.400. In fact, this is a rebalancing of sales following disruption caused at the same time last year by the Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) change that came into action on 1st April 2017, resulting in significant volumes being pulled forward to March and giving a particularly low comparison base for this month. As it has been the case so far in April in all major European markets covered (France, Italy and Spain), private sales pull the entire market up at +26.3% to 75.607 and 45% share vs. 39.4% a year ago. YTD also they improve their share thanks to a somewhat limited 8.4% decrease to 408.898 and 46.1% share vs. 45.9% a year ago.
Fleet sales edge up 0.9% to 87.486 and 52.1% share for the month vs. 57% in April 2017 but drop 8.5% YTD to 444.147 and 50.1% share vs. 49.9% over the same period a year ago. Finally business sales sink 12.9% to 4.818 and 2.9% share and down 17.2% YTD to 33.355 and 3.8%. Diesel sales continue to implode over uncertainties on its future acceptance at -24.9% to 51.377 and 30.6% share vs. 45% a year ago, down 31.9% YTD to 291.991 and 32.9% share vs. 44.1% whereas petrol sales soar 38.5% to 107.169 and 63.8% share vs. 50.9% in April 2017 and up 8.9% to 548.351 and 61.9% share YTD vs. 51.8% in 2017. Alternatively Fuelled Vehicles gain 49.3% to 9.365 and 5.6% of the market, up 16.1% to 46.058 and 5.2% YTD.
In the brands ranking, the top two best-sellers are also among the best performers in the entire market growth-wise. Ford soars 24% year-on-year to 12% share while Volkswagen surges 47% to 8.7%. Stable sales enable Audi to jump from #6 in March to #3 this month at 7.8% share, while Mercedes is down 11% but stays 4th at 7.1% and Vauxhall is up 4% but down two spots on last month to #5. BMW plunges 19% and is knocked down to #6. Toyota is the other great performer in the Top 10 at +31% to 4% share, yet this is a notch below its YTD level at 4.5% and #8. There are a lot of fast-growing marques further down the ranking, among them McLaren (+511%), MG (+279%), Abarth (+68%), Citroen (+44%), Jaguar (+39%), Volvo (+38%), Dacia (+37%), Seat (+35%), Porsche (+33%), Suzuki (+28%), DS (+27%) and Aston Martin (+25%). Reversely, Chevrolet (-77%), Smart (-49%), Ssangyong (-46%) and Infiniti (-39%) suffer heavy losses.
Model-wise, here too the best-sellers are also the best performers with the Ford Fiesta leaping up 58% year-on-year to 4.7% share and the VW Golf shooting up 70% to 3.3%. The Nissan Qashqai remains in third place both this month (-4%) and YTD (-10%) despite declines in both cases, while the Ford Focus rallies back up 11% to #4 but sinks 29% YTD. Thanks to the new generation, the VW Polo is back inside the UK Top 10 for the first time since last October and in the Top 5 for the first time since last August. It’s still not enough to reintegrate the YTD Top 10 whereas it ended 2017 at #7. The Ford Kuga confirms it is now a regular fixture at the highest level with a 7th consecutive month in the Top 10, cementing its 6th place YTD (#12 in FY2017), with the Vauxhall Mokka X backup to #7 and the Mercedes A (-27%) and C-Class (-30%) rounding up the Top 10 with steep declines.
Previous month: UK March 2018: VW strong in market down 15.7%, diesel down 37.2%
Full April 2018 Top 42 All-brands and Top 10 models below.