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UK May 2019: Mercedes, Kia, Toyota resist in 8th market drop in past 9 months (-4.6%), lowest volumes in 6 years

The Mercedes A-Class has ranked inside the UK Top 5 for the past 9 months in a row.

New car sales in the UK fall year-on-year for the 8th time in the past 9 months amidst economic and political uncertainty with May deliveries down -4.6% to 183.724 units, the lowest result for the month since 2013 (180.111). This means the year-to-date tally is now down -3.1% to 1.045.824, also the lowest at this stage of the year since 2013 (948.666). Both main channels are affected relatively similarly, with private sales down -5% to 79.431 and 43.2% share vs. 43.4% in May 2018 and fleets down -3% to 100.448 and 54.7% vs. 53.8% while business sales plunge -29% to 3.845 and 2.1% vs. 2.8%. Year-to-date, fleets resist much better (-0.6%) but are still down to 544.656 and 52.1% share vs. 50.8% in 2018, private sales (-2.9%) match the market at 477.922 and 45.7% share with business sales crumbling down -39.8% to 23.337 and 2.2% vs. 3.6%. A meagre petrol sales uptick (+1%) to 120.682 and 65.7% and a 11.7% gain in Alternatively fuelled vehicles (12.142 to 6.6% share vs. 5.6%) isn’t enough to compensate for the continued diesel freefall: another -18.3% this month to 50.900 and 27.7% share vs. 32.3% in May 2018, Year-to-date, petrol is up 3.6% to 693.318 and 66.3%, diesel down -18.4% to 289.273 and 27.7% and AFV up 13.8% to 63.233 and 6%.

UK May sales 2003-2019. Source SMMT

Ford (-5.9%) and Volkswagen (-13%) remain the most popular brands in the country even though they both fall faster than the market. Mercedes (+7.8%) swims upstream, recording the only year-on-year gain in the Top 7 to leap onto the podium for the first time since last October. For once Vauxhall (-3.7%) outperforms its home market and is up two spots on April to #4, holding off Mercedes year-to-date to remain at #3 and distancing Audi (-8%) and BMW (-4.1%) for the month. Kia (+8.3%) and Toyota (+6.8%) sign the only two other upticks in the Top 10 while beyond, Bentley (+80.5%), MG (+49.4%), Volvo (+25.8%), Mitsubishi (+23%), Jeep (+13%), Lexus (+10.8%) and Mazda (+8.8%) make themselves noticed just as Abarth (-69.8%), Infiniti (-52.2%), DS (-45.3%), Ssangyong (-43.2%), McLaren (-42.4%), Subaru (-40.3%), Honda (-26.1%), Renault (-24.9%) and Mini (-22.4%) would rather forget May.

Model-wise, the podium is unchanged on April with the Ford Fiesta (-2.7%), Focus (-15.5%) and VW Golf (-26.9%) strongest and the Focus overtaking the Golf for #2 YTD whereas it ranked at a paltry #5 over the Full Year 2018. The Vauxhall Corsa is back up 5 spots on last month to #4 while the Mercedes A-Class scores an extremely impressive 9th consecutive Top 5 finish at #5, joined by the C-Class at #7 meaning Mercedes places two nameplates in the UK Top 7 for the first time since April 2017 (C-Class #3 and A-Class #4). The Nissan Juke returns to the UK Top 10 for the first time in 8 months (since last September) and the VW Tiguan signs its 6th ever Top 10 finish, all secured in the past 12 months.

Previous month: UK April 2019: Hyundai Tucson snaps first Top 10 in market down -4.1%

One year ago: UK May 2018: Ford Focus up 48% in rebalancing market up 3.4%

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

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