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UK September 2020: Corsa #1 for third time in 4 months, Ford Puma #7, Volvo XC40 #9 in market down -4.4%

The Vauxhall Corsa has topped the UK charts four times in the past year.

New car sales in the UK remain in negative during the all-important September plate change month at -4.4% year-on-year to 328.041 following already weak scores in 2018 and 2019, making 2020 the weakest result for the month since the bi-annual two-plate system was introduced in 1999. As a result the year-to-date tally is now down -33.2% to 1.243.656 units, but with the two large volume months of March and September now out of the way, there’s not much leeway to significantly alter the situation over the last Quarter. This has prompted local manufacturers association SMMT to lower its 2020 Forecast to 1.603.000 units or a -30.6% drop on 2019. We are a little more optimistic and have the 2020 UK market at 1.664.000 units (-28%). SMMT feels “the market still faces continued pressure, with challenges over the next quarter including Brexit uncertainty and the threat of tariffs, stalling fleet renewal hampering efforts to meet climate change and air quality targets, consumer and business confidence is threatened by the forthcoming end of the Government’s furlough scheme, an expected rise in unemployment and continuing restrictions on society as a result of the pandemic”.

Once again private sales resist best at -1.1% to 161.363 and 49.2% share vs. 47.6% in September 2019, with fleet sales down -5.8% to 159.081 and 48.5% share vs. 49.2% a year ago while business sales plunge -31.9% to 7.597 and 2.3% share vs. 3.2%. Year-to-date, private registrations also fare best at -28.9% to 595.717 and 47.9% share vs. 45% over the same period in 2019, fleets are off -36.2% to 622.517 and 50.1% vs. 52.4% and business deliveries implode -46.8% to 25.422 and 2% vs. 2.6%. As far as sales by fuel type, in September petrol sales slide -20.9% to 176.532 and 53.8% share vs. 65% a year ago and diesel sales freefall -38.4% to 46.996 and 14.3% share vs. 22.2% in September 2019. Mild Hybrid (MHEV) sales shoot up 215.1% to 43.866 and 13.4% share vs. 4.1%, HEV is up 55.8% to 26.344 and 8% share vs. 4.9%, BEV shoots up 184.3% to 21.903 and 6.7% vs. 2.2% and PHEV gains 138.6% to 12.400 and 3.8% vs. 1.5%. Year-to-date, petrol is down -40.2% to 719.908 and 57.9% share vs. 64.7% in 2019, diesel off -56.3% to 209.093 and 16.8% vs. 25.7%, MHEV up 127.1% to 121.773 and 9.8% share vs. 2.9%, HEV up 8.1% to 83.993 and 6.8% vs. 4.2% BEV up 165.4% to 66.611 and 5.4% vs. 1.3% and PHEV up 83.7% to 42.277 and 3.4% vs. 1.2%.

Second consecutive Top 10 finish for the Ford Puma at #7.

In the brands ranking, Ford (-20.5%) falls five times faster than the market but still manage to retain the top spot with 8.6% share just above Volkswagen (+39.2%) catching up on WLTP-related weak year-ago sales at 8.3% share. Mercedes (-22.6%) is back up two spots to #3, also reclaiming the #3 YTD spot it held in 2019 off BMW (-23.7%) in difficulty this month. Audi (+71.8%) like VW benefits from weak year-ago volumes at #4. Toyota (+10.2%) and Nissan (+6.2%) also gain ground in the remainder of the Top 10 but Vauxhall (-28.4%), Hyundai (-19.2%) and Kia (-9.1%) underperform. Below, MG (+169.1%), Smart (+154%), Tesla (+73.8%), Bentley (+71.9%), Suzuki (+42.3%), Dacia (+22.4%) and Skoda (+18.4%) score the most spectacular year-on-year upticks whereas Subaru (-48.3%), Mitsubishi (-38.4%), Alfa Romeo (-33.8%), Jaguar (-33.8%), Mini (-28.3%), Citroen (-20.3%), Mazda (-19.5%) and Maserati (-18.9%) struggle.

The Volvo XC40 breaks into the UK Top 10 for the 2nd time this year and ever.

Model-wise, the Vauxhall Corsa (-19.9%) scores a fantastic third win in the past 4 months and 5th in the past 13 whereas before September 2019, it had not ranked #1 for almost 5 years (since December 2014)… The new generation clearly is hitting a nerve with UK buyers as the Corsa accounts for 53% of Vauxhall sales in September and 49% so far in 2020 vs. just 34% over the Full Year 2019… The Ford Fiesta (-18%) is knocked down to #2 and sees its YTD advantage thaw to less than 4.000 units as the Corsa climbs one spot to #2 so far this year. The Mercedes A-Class (-17.6%) rallies back 3 spots on August to secure its first podium finish in one year and fifth ever after September, October and November 2018 and September 2019. The VW Polo (+184.1%) and Golf (-6.7%) round out the Top 5 above the Nissan Qashqai (-17.7%) while the Ford Puma scores a second consecutive Top 10 finish at #7, down 3 spots on last month. The Volvo XC40 signs its first UK Top 10 finish in normal conditions at #9 and 1.7% share even though technically it already ranked #6 last May when the market stalled -89% because of Covid lockdowns.

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

One year ago: UK September 2019: Vauxhall Corsa snaps first win in 5 years in weak market (+1.3%)

Full September 2020 Top 40 brands and Top 10 models below.

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