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UK March 2019: Dacia (+85.5%), Mercedes A-Class (+50.4%) stun in market down 3.4%

Dacia is the best performing brand in the UK market in March.

UK March sales figures are always awaited with bated breath: with new licence plates released, this is traditionally the biggest month of the year, volumes being so large that they have a strong impact on European sales and rankings as a whole. Well the industry can breathe a sigh of relief of sorts, with UK registrations down by a very contained -3.4% to 458.054 units despite prolonged Brexit uncertainty, to be compared with a dismal -15.7% a year ago in March 2018. Make no mistake, this is still the weakest March result since 2013 (394.806) but a catastrophic debacle has been averted so far. The year-to-date tally is down an equally soft -2.4% to 701.036, the lowest Q1 volume since 2014 (688.122). This month it’s fleet sales (+0.3%) that keep the UK market afloat at 223.288 units and 48.7% share vs. 47% a year ago, while private sales match the market at -2.8% to 222.115 and 48.5% share vs. 48.2% and business deliveries plunge -44.8% to 12.651 and 2.8% share vs. 4.8%.

Year-to-date, this time private sales fare the best at -0.8% to 330.613 and 47.2% share vs. 46.4% in Q1 2018, with fleet following close behind at -0.9% to 353.696 and 50.5% share vs. 49.7% and once again business sales ruining the entire picture at -41.4% to 16.727 and 2.4% vs. 4%. The diesel implosion continues at -21.4% in March to 120.677 and 26.3% share vs. 32.4% in March 2018 and -20.3% YTD to 191.784 and 27.4% vs. 33.5% while petrol sales gain 5.1% this month to 312.075 and 68.1% share vs. 62.6%, up 5.9% YTD to 468.415 and 66.8% vs. 61.6%. Alternatively fuelled vehicles are particularly shy in March at +7.6% to 25.302 and 5.5% share vs. +14.7% over Q1 to 40.837 and 5.8% share.

UK March sales 2003-2019. Source SMMT

In the brands ranking, Ford (-18.9%) endures no less than the largest drop among the Top 28 best-selling brands but manages to hold onto the top spot at 8.9% share, distancing Volkswagen (+1.3%), Vauxhall (+2%) and Mercedes (+1%) all going against the grain to post small increases. Kia (+1.4%) and Land Rover (+0.2%) are the only other Top 10 carmakers in positive, the latter breaking into its home Top 10 for the third time in the past 6 months after last October (#7) and November (#8).

In contrast, Nissan (-18.7%), Toyota (-7.4%), Audi (-6.1%) and BMW (-4.2%) all fall faster than the market. Further down, Dacia (+85.5%) posts a sensational surge which is no other than the largest gain in the entire UK market this month hitting a new all-time volume record at 7.443 (previous best 5.773 in March 2017), with MG (+62.8%), Volvo (+26.5%), Citroen (+21.8%), Jaguar (+20.4%) and Bentley (+10.9%) also very impressive. In the naughty corner: Infiniti (-71.9%), DS (-53.9%), McLaren (-50.8%), Maserati (-43.8%), Alfa Romeo (-38.7%), Porsche (-38.7%), and Ssangyong (-28.5%).

Mercedes A-Class sales soar 50.4% year-on-year in March.

Model-wise, the Ford Fiesta (-23.8%) and VW Golf (-20.7%) are in dire straits at each end of the podium just as the Vauxhall Corsa (+13%) shows insolent health, its March performance pulling it from #7 to #2 YTD. The Mercedes A-Class (+50.4%) confirms the new generation has hit the bullseye of UK customers with a 7th consecutive Top 5 finish and a very first five-digit monthly volume in the nameplate’s history. The Ford Focus (+3.5%) and Mini (+2%) buck the negative trend, as do the VW Polo, BMW 1 Series and Toyota Yaris at the tail end of the Top 10.

Previous post: UK Full Year 2018: Now with Top 250 models ranking

Previous month: UK February 2019: Suzuki (+77.2%), VW (+13.1%) shine, Ford Ecosport breaks into Top 10, sales up 1.4%

One year ago: UK March 2018: VW strong in market down 15.7% diesel down 37.2%

Full March 2019 Top 42 brands and Top 10 models below.

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