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UK August 2020: Sales swing back down -5.8%, Ford Puma soars to record #4, Kia Niro in Top 10

The Ford Puma is up to a world-best 4th place in the UK in August.

After lockdown pent-up demand was released in July (+11.3%), the UK new car market swings back into negative territory in August at -5.8% year-on-year to 87.226 units, yet still managing the second biggest August volume in the past 15 years. The year-to-date tally now stands at 915.615 units, down -39.7% or 600.000 units on the same period in 2019. As is the case in most of Europe, August summer holiday sales only account for a small percentage of the annual volume and September, a crucial plate change month, will provide a much better barometer of the UK market’s health. We have revised our 2020 UK forecast up from 1.62 million units (-30%) last month to 1.65 million (-28%).

2004-2020 UK August sales. Source: SMMT

Private sales remain almost stable at -1.7% to 39.833 and 45.7% share vs. 43.8% in August 2019 whereas fleet sales skid -5.5% to 45.943 and 52.7% vs. 52.5% and business deliveries implode -57.9% to just 1.450. Year-to-date, private sales are off -35.6% to 434.355 and 47.4% vs. 44.4% over the same period in 2019, fleet sales drop -42.6% to 463.444 and 50.6% vs. 53.2% and business sales are down -51.4% to 17.816. Petrol sales edge down -14.7% to 49.376 and 56.6% share vs. 62.5% and off -44.6% YTD to 543.376 and 59.3% share vs. 64.6% in 2019. Diesel sales crumble -39.5% to 14.296 and 16.4% share vs. 25.5% and -59.7% YTD to 162.097 and 17.7% share vs. 26.5% in 2019. HEV+MHEV is up 180% to 15.043 and 17.2% share vs. 5.8% a year ago and up 34.9% YTD to 135.557 and 14.8% share vs. 6.6% in 2019. BEV is up 77.6% in August to 5.589 and 6.4% share vs. 3.4% a year ago and up 157% YTD to 44.708 and 4.9% share vs. 1.1% in 2019. PHEV is up 221.1% in August to 2.922 and 3.3% share vs. 1% and up 67.7% YTD to 29.877 and 3.3% share vs. 1.2% in 2019.

Skoda sales soar 28.6% in August, the largest gain in the Top 10.

Ford (+0.7%) outpaces the UK market to create some breathing space with #2 Volkswagen (-22.4%) at 12.4% share vs. 10.1% for the German manufacturer. The gap is a lot thinner year-to-date at 9.8% and 9.1% respectively. Audi (-32.5%) clings onto its podium spot despite a ghastly year-on-year fall, with BMW (+10.4%) and Mercedes (+3.8%) rounding out the Top 5 in very solid shape. For only the second time in the past 17 months, embattled Vauxhall (+4.3%) manages a year-on-year uptick to edge up to #6 overall vs. #7 YTD. Skoda (+28.6%) and Kia (+21.1%) score the largest year-on-year gains in the Top 10 by far, while further down Renault (+49.8%), Land Rover (+21.8%), Hyundai (+14.5%), Dacia (+14.5%), Nissan (+12.6%) and Mini (+10.7%) all post very satisfying double-digit increases in this depleted context. Beyond the Top 20, MG (+52.3%), Abarth (+23.7%), Fiat (+22.2%), Dacia (+14.5%) and Porsche (+9.8%) stand out whereas Tesla (-58.9%) celebrates one year of commercialisation of the Model 3 in dreadful fashion.

MG scores the biggest year-on-year uptick in market at +52.3%.

We have two newcomers in the UK monthly Top 10 in August. But first, the Ford Fiesta (-15.2%) reclaims the top spot it holds year-to-date while the VW Golf (-25.3%) climbs back to #2 despite a steep fall and a new generation and the Ford Focus (+26.9%) surges ahead and cements its presence in the UK podium. Cracking both the UK Top 10 and Top 5 for the first time, the Ford Puma soars directly to 4th place overall this month with 2.4% share, after ranking inside the Top 10 of 3 out of 4 UK nations in July. This way, the Puma equals its world-best ranking record, having also hit #4 in Italy in August. Even though it drops 4 spots on last month, the Vauxhall Corsa (+30.7%) continues to benefit fully from the new model and single-handedly pulls the brand in positive (see above). The VW Polo (+14.4%) and Tiguan (+0.8%) also manage positive results and make it 3 Volkswagens in the Top 8. Finally the Kia Niro also breaks into the Top 10 for the first time in the UK in what is shaping up to be a historical month for the nameplate in Europe: it also tops the Swedish charts for the first time and ranks #1 in the Netherlands for the 4th time…

Previous month: UK July 2020: Pent-up demand, enticing offers lift market up 11.3%, Vauxhall Corsa leads again

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

Full August 2020 Top 40 All-brands and Top 10 models below.

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