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UK September 2021: Toyota and Kia on top, Ford down to #7, market freefalling -34.4% to weakest in 23 years

First UK Top 10 finish for the Toyota Aygo.

As the microchip crisis bites hard, the UK new car market freefalls -34.4% year-on-year in the all-important month of September to just 215.312. This month is traditionally the second strongest in the year as it coincides with a biannual plate change. But September 2021 is the weakest since 1998, a year before this two-plate system was introduced in 1999, and down -44.7% on the pre-pandemic 10-year average (389.680). The year-to-date tally is now up just 5.9% to 1.316.614 units and down -29.4% on the pre-pandemic 10-year average (1.864.937). As a result of this very weak September performance we have revised our Full Year 2021 Forecast from 1.73m to 1.66m (+2%).

In terms of buyer type, private sales resist relatively well in context at -25.3% to 120.560 units and 56% share vs. 49.2% in September 2020 but fleets take a big hit at -43.1% to just 90.445 units and 42% share vs. 48.5% a year ago while business sales evolve similarly at -43.3% to 4.307 and 2% share vs. 2.3% in 2020. Year-to-date, this time private sales are weaker at +4.9% to 624.871 and 47.5% share vs. 47.9% over the same period in 2020, with fleets outperforming the market at +7% to 666.163 and 50.6% share vs. 50.1% a year ago. Business sales are stable at +0.6% to 25.580 and 1.9% share vs. 2%. 

Source: SMMT

As far as fuel type is concerned, in September petrol crumbles -46.6% to 94.314 and 43.8% share vs. 53.8% in September 2020, diesel implodes -77.3% to just 10.658 and 5% share vs. 14.3% a year ago but alternatively fuelled vehicle sales significantly enlarge their footprint. The big winner this month is BEV up 49.4% to 32.721, a monthly volume record and only 5.000 units below the Full Year 2019 figure (37.850). The share of BEV in September is up to 15.2% vs. 6.7% a year ago. Mild Hybrid (MHEV) is down -11.6% to 38.774 but improves its share to 18% vs. 13.4% in 2020, HEV is down -5.1% to 24.961 and 11.6% share vs. 8% and PHEV is up 11.5% to 13.884 and 6.4% share vs. 3.8%. Year-to-date, petrol drops -13.7% to 621.598 and 47.2% share vs. 57.9% over the same period in 2020, diesel is off -43.8% to 117.605 and 8.9% vs. 16.8% a year ago, MHEV shoots up 101.1% to 244.947 and 18.6% share vs. 9.8%, BEV surges 87.9% to 125.141 and 9.5% share vs. 5.4% in 2020, HEV is up 43.6% to 120.283 and 9.1% vs. 6.7% and PHEV soars 104.9% to 87.040 and 6.6% share vs. 3.4% a year ago.

We have a completely unheard of order in the UK brands ranking: Toyota (-13.9%) takes the overall lead for the very first time with a 7.9% share, its previous best being #3 in June 2020 and July 2021. Perhaps even more surprisingly, it distances Kia (+11.8%) at 7.7% of the market, lodging the largest year-on-year gain in the Top 10 and shooting up 4 spots on August to a record 2nd place overall. This means the Top 2 brands are 100% Asian for the first time in UK history. Leader in August, Volkswagen (-39.9%) is down to #3 this month ahead of BMW (-25.8%) resisting better than the market and Audi (-43.7%) in difficulty. Hyundai (+5.2%) sports the only additional year-on-year gain in the Top 10 and advances to #6.

The Tesla Model 3 is the outright best-seller in the UK for the 5th time.

The overall leader for decades and as recently as over the Full Year 2020, Ford (-61.8%) completely crashes to just 5% share and a lowest ever 7th place. This means Kia, BMW and Hyundai all outsell Ford in the UK for the first time. Ford falls almost to the level of Vauxhall (-45.9%) also devastated at #8. Just below Mercedes (-62.7%) in dire straits, Tesla (+27.7%) lifts 16 spots on August to end the month at #11, with MG (+48.6%) the only additional gainer in the Top 25. Among smaller brands, Alpine (+130%), Subaru (+128.7%), Maserati (+49.4%), Polestar (+17.4%), DS (+13.1%) and Jeep (+5.9%) impress with year-on-year gains.

Model-wise, we have a third leader in as many months and faithful to the brand’s its end-of-quarter backloading, the Tesla Model 3 is easily the best-seller for September with 3.2% share. It signs its 5th overall win in the UK after April 2020, May 2020, December 2020 and June 2021. Leader year-to-date, the Vauxhall Corsa (-49.4%) rallies back up 5 spots on August to snap the 2nd place overall despite losing almost half its September 2020 volume. The BMW 3 Series leaps up two ranks on last month to a record third place, last hit almost 15 years ago in December 2006. The Toyota Yaris slips down one spot to #4 while the Nissan Qashqai (-37.3%) is back inside the Top 10 at #5 but suffers year-on-year. The Kia Sportage (-13.6%) is down two to #6 while the VW Polo (-45.2%) is down five to #7. Very first UK Top 10 finish for the Toyota Aygo at #8 ahead of the Kia Niro celebrating its fourth Top 10 appearance after August 2020, January 2021 and February 2021. The VW Golf (-46.8%) points its bonnet at #10, which means there are no Fords in the UK Top 10 for the first time since statistics started in 1965. The Ford Puma (-45.2%) however advances to #4 year-to-date while the Ford Fiesta (-81.3%) drops to #3 YTD below the VW Golf.

Previous month: UK August 2021: Ford Puma scores first ever win in market down -22%

One year ago: UK September 2020: Corsa #1 for third time in four months in market down -4.4%

Full September 2021 Top 42 All-brands and Top 10 models below.

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