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UK June 2018: Historical win for Volkswagen, BMW up to record #2 spot: 2 German brands atop the UK market for the first time ever

Volkswagen is the #1 carmaker in the UK for the first time, the Tiguan breaks into the Top 10.

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

After two months in positive rebalancing from year-ago months depleted by pull-forward sales in the wake of Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) increases, the UK new car market returns to more on-trend decline in June at -3.5% to 234.945 units, the lowest June score since 2014. Year-to-date volumes are now down 6.3% to 1.313.994. Although they do fare better than the market as a whole, private sales still drop in June at -0.6% to 94.694, gaining over one percentage point of market share at 40.3% vs. 39.1% in June 2017. In a somewhat positive sign, fleet sales drop faster than the market at -6.4% to 129.977 and 55.3% share vs. 57.1% a year ago and its business sales (defined in the UK as buyers with fewer than 25 vehicles on their books) that pull the market towards a smaller drop this month, ending a 11-month drought with a very robust 11.3% gain to 10.274 units and 4.4% share. Diesel sales continue their fall from grace at a painful -28.3% this month to 74.361 units and 31.7% share vs. 42.5% in 2017 just as petrol sales gain 12.3% to 145.035 and 61.7% share vs. 53.1% a year ago and alternatively fuelled vehicle sales soar 45% to 15.549 and 6.6% share vs. 4.4% in June 2017. Smaller cars remain the most popular with the Supermini and Lower Medium segments holding 57.4% of the UK market in June. As is the case in most parts of the world, SUVs grow fastest at +16.4% or 6.710 more sales than in June last year.

June sales 2002-2017. Source SMMT

It’s a historical month for the UK brands ranking, the theatre of a spectacular reshuffle. For the first time in history according to BSCB archives, Volkswagen is the most popular carmaker in the UK thanks to deliveries going against the grain at +3% to 23.224 and 9.9% share. After stepping to the monthly UK 2nd place for the first time back in April 2015 and to the annual UK 2nd place for the first time last year, Volkswagen now achieves the ultimate performance in this market. It’s worth noting that this isn’t VW’s highest share in the UK: the German carmaker having crossed the symbolic 10% share mark three times over the past 3.5 years: in February 2015 (10%), April 2015 (10.1%) and December 2017 (10.1%). Volkswagen however remains far below Ford in the YTD ranking as we’ll detail shortly. Let’s also note that Volkswagen has recently managed to increase the pressure atop the monthly UK models ranking as well with the Golf: after a lonely stint as the outright best-seller in the country in February 2011, the Golf replicated the performance no less than three times in 2017, in June, August 2017: and December, becoming that year the first foreign nameplate to manage an annual podium finish (in fact #2) since UK sales records started in 1965.

BMW surges 20% year-on-year to snap the #2 spot in the UK for the first time in history.

It’s not one but two surprises atop the best-selling brands in the UK in June: deliveries up a gigantic 20% – especially given the current depressed context – propel BMW to 2nd place overall, the carmaker’s highest ever monthly ranking in the UK, beating its previous best of #3 hit in December 2012, December 2015 and November 2016. Two German brands leading the UK market: this is a historical first. Below, it’s an extremely difficult month for Ford (-18%) and Vauxhall (-13%), with Ford slipping below 10% share for only the second time this decade after last September. Mercedes (-5%) and Audi (-4%) limit their fall and hold onto their YTD ranking at #5 and #6 respectively, with Kia up a splendid 15% to #8, Hyundai up 9% to #9, Toyota up 1% to #7 and Nissan falling apart at -34% to round up the Top 10. Further down, MG (+177%), Jeep (+77%), Bentley (+36%), Seat (+33%), Subaru (+31%), Abarth (+24%), Mitsubishi (+14%), Lexus (+12%), Suzuki (+12%), Mazda (+11%), Citroen (+10%) and Skoda (+10%) all brave the icy market conditions to deliver double-digit gains (or triple-digit, in the case of now Chinese-owned MG). In contrast, Infiniti (-75%), Lotus (-57%), McLaren (-34%), Dacia (-30%), Fiat (-29%), Smart (-28%), Renault (-23%) and DS (-18%) all but crash.

Boosted up 17% by the new generation, the Polo makes it 3 VWs in the UK Top 10 for the first time.

Over in the models ranking, the Ford Fiesta maintains its leadership thanks to deliveries up 3% year-on-year while the VW Golf returns to the #2 spot it holds YTD, after having its streak of 12 consecutive month in the UK Top 2 interrupted by the Ford Focus last month. The Vauxhall Corsa (+6%) climbs back onto the UK podium for the first time since March 2017, the Mini (-12%) is up three spots on May to #4, its highest monthly ranking so far in 2018 and the new generation propels the VW Polo up 17%, scoring a third consecutive month in the Top 5. Justifying BMW’s ranking record, both the 3 Series (#7) and 1 Series (#10) appear inside the UK Top 10 this month, the latter doing so for the first time since last November. Below the Ford Focus (-42%) and Nissan Qashqai (-23%) both imploding, the VW Tiguan breaks into the UK Top 10 for the very first time at #9 with 3.527 sales, making it 3 Volkswagens in the Top 10 for the first time in history – a timely performance illustrating the German carmaker’s historic win this month.

Previous month: UK May 2018: Ford Focus up 48% in rebalancing market up 3.4%

One year ago: UK June 2017: VW Golf becomes best-seller for the 2nd time ever

Full June 2018 Top 42 brands and Top 10 models below.

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