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UK August 2019: Tesla Model 3 lands with a bang (#3), VW T-Roc cracks Top 10 (#7) in market down -1.6%

The Tesla Model 3 lands directly at #3 in the UK. Picture auto

The UK new car market is down for the 6th consecutive month in August but limits its fall to just -1.6% to 92.573 units, the 2nd largest August tally in the past 17 years (see below), leading to a year-to-date volume down -3.4% to 1.519.016. Private sales hold strong at -1.7% to 40.538 and 43.8% share while fleet sales fall -3.5% to 48.583 units and 52.5% share vs. 53.5% in August 2018 and business sales surge 38.6% to 3.452 and 3.7% share vs. 2,6%. Year-to-date, this time it’s fleet sales (-1.5%) faring better at 807.447 and 52.3% vs. 52.2% while private sales drop -3% to 674.910 and 44.4% vs. 44.3% and business sales freefall -34.7%to 36.659 and 2.4% vs. 3.6%.

The VW T-Roc breaks into the UK Top 10 for the very first time in August.

Petrol sales edge up 1% to 59.019 and 63.8% share vs. 62.1%, diesel registrations dive for the 29th straight month at -12.2% to 24.484 and 26.4% vs. 29.6% while hybrids soar 36.2% to 4.014 and 4.3% vs. 3.1% and EVs surge 377.5% to 3.147 and 3.4% share vs. 0.7% and PHEVs implode -71.8% to 907 and 1% vs. 3.4%. Year-to-date, Petrol is up 2.4% to 994.941 and 65.5% vs. 61.8%, Diesel down -19.3% to 410.012 and 27% vs. 32.3%, Hybrid up 20.2% to 60.989 and 4% vs. 3.2%, PHEV down -37% to 17.594 and 1.2% vs. 1.8% and EV up 93.1% to 17.393 and 1.1% vs. 0.6%.

UK August registrations 2003-2019. Source: SMMT

In the brands ranking, Volkswagen (+0.7%) edges past Ford (-4%) to score its first UK pole position of the year (and since November 2018), securing 12.2% of the market vs. just 9% so far in 2019. Audi (+19.5%) shoots up to #3, lodging the largest year-on-year gain in the Top 20 and climbing onto the UK podium for the 2nd time in the past 12 months (alongside last April). Mercedes (+3.5%) and Vauxhall (-4.2%) round up the Top 5, Toyota (+16.2%) is the only other Top 10 brand to manage a double-digit gain, Seat (-0.4%) surges 4 spots to #8 vs. #14 YTD and both BMW (-19.1%) and Peugeot (-9%) sink. Below, we estimate Tesla to leap up to #15 with 2.4% share, with DS (+112.5%), Porsche (+86.2%), Jeep (+77.2%), Lexus (+57%), Alfa Romeo (+34.2%), Ssangyong (+29%), Dacia (+27.1%), Volvo (+19.7%) and MG (+13.1%) are among the most dynamic.

Audi sales surge 19.5% in August, the largest gain among the Top 20 brands.

The UK models ranking has got its lot of surprises in August. Below the Ford Fiesta (-12.6%) and VW Golf (-17.7%) replicating the YTD order, SMMT published the third place as “Other” because Tesla did not want to disclose sales detail, but it is the Tesla Model 3 that lands with a bang directly in third place with over 2.000 sales and 2.2% share. This is the the first time in UK history a pure EV breaks into the monthly Top 10, let alone the Top 5 or the podium. A very impressive start indeed, but keep in mind August is the 2nd weakest volume month of the year below February and therefore allows for such volatility in the rankings, and Model 3 sales are actually deliveries of orders made years ago and tend to come by batches. September, coinciding with the bi-annual licence plate change and traditionally the 2nd largest month of the year with over 330.000 sales, will be the true test of how successful the Model 3 really is in the UK.

The Ford Ecosport secures its 2nd ever UK Top 10 finish. Picture

Below, the Ford Focus (+64.6%) loses the #2 YTD spot to the VW Golf despite very dynamic sales due to the arrival of a new generation, and the Mercedes A-Class (+97.3%) almost doubles its sales year-on-year to score an incredible 11th Top 5 finish over the past 12 months (only exception was #10 in June). The Ford Kuga (-6.9%) is up one spot on last month to #6 but only holds onto the title of #1 SUV in the UK for a mere 85 sales off the VW T-Roc breaking into the UK Top 10 for the very first time directly at #7, outselling the VW Tiguan. The Vauxhall Corsa (+38.7%) shows insolent health and steals the #4 YTD spot off the Nissan Qashqai (-7.5%) which has disappeared from the Top 10, and the Ford Ecosport scores its 2nd ever Top 10 finish after last February (#9).

Previous month: UK July 2019: Citroen (+29.3%), Toyota (+22.6%) stun in 5th straight market decline (-4.1%)

One year ago: UK August 2018: Pre-WLTP push has VW #1 brand for 3rd month in a row

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

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