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UK October 2021: Sales off -24.6% to weakest October in 30 years, VW Polo leads, Peugeot 2008 cracks Top 10

The Peugeot 2008 posts its first ever Top 10 finish in the UK this month.

The semi conductor shortage continues to impact the UK new car market in October, with sales down -24.6% year-on-year to just 106.265 units, the lowest October volume in 30 years: since 1991 (101.107). The year-to-date tally is now up just 2.8% year-on-year at 1.422.879. As a result we have revised our Full Year 2021 forecast for the UK down from 1.66 to 1.64 million units (+0.4%). SMMT has it at 1.66 million and 1.96 million in 2022. In October, private sales resist a lot better than the market at -3.3% to 58.405, improving their share from 42.9% a year ago to 55%. In contrast, fleet sales tumble down -40.4% to 46.075 and 43.4% share vs. 54.8% in October 2020. Business sales are hit ever harder at -45.5% to 1.785 and 1.7% share vs. 2.3%. Year-to-date, here too private sales over perform at +4.1% to 683.275 and 48% share vs. 47.4% over the same period in 2020, while fleet sales edge up 1.8% to 712.239 and 50.1% share vs. 50.5% and business sales drop -4.6% to 27.365 and 1.9% share vs. 2.1%.

Looking at sales by alimentation, in October petrol drops -30.6% to 48.384 and 45.5% share vs. 49.5% a year ago, diesel is down -66.4% to just 7.028 units and 6.6% share vs. 14.9% in October 2020, MHEV is down -20.2% to 17.667 and 16.6% share vs. 15.7% and HEV drops -21.5% to 8.649 and 8.1% share vs. 7.8%. Plug-in vehicles on the other hand actually see an increase year-on-year. BEV is up a whopping 73.1% to 16.155 units and 15.2% share vs. 6.6% in October 2020 and PHEV is up 7.5% to 8.382 and 7.9% share vs. 5.5% a year ago. Year-to-date, petrol is down -15.2% to 669.982 and 47.1% share vs. 57% over the same period in 2020, diesel implodes -45.8% to 124.633 and 8.8% share vs. 16.6% last year, but all other alimentation are up significantly on their 2020 level. MHEV is up 82.5% to 262.614 and 18.5% share vs. 10.4% in 2020, BEV soars 86% to 141.296 and 9.9% share vs. 5.5% last year, HEV is up 36% to 128.932 and 9.1% share vs. 6.8% and PHEV surges 89.8% to 95.422 and 6.7% share vs. 3.6%. In fact, the plug-in revolution is so intense in the UK that SMMT forecasts more sales for the category in 2021 than in 2010 to 2019 combined!

Source: SMMT

We have a reshuffled brands ranking again with Volkswagen (-24.2%) reclaiming the top spot it holds year-to-date but still relatively weak at 8.5% share vs. 9.2% so far this year. BMW (-28.2%) is up two spots on September to land at a record 2nd place, a position it has only held once before: in June 2018. Kia (+22.1%) continues to go against the grain and is the only year-on-year gainer in the Top 7. The next four carmakers fall faster than the market, most notably Ford (-47.3%) albeit up one spot on an even more disastrous score in September to #6. Audi (-40.3%), Mercedes (-37%) and Vauxhall (-26.5%) also struggle. Hyundai (+34.5%) forges ahead, meaning the only gainers in the Top 12 are Korean. First time leader last month, Toyota (-35.5%) is hit hard and falls to #9 ahead of Peugeot (-3.9%) resisting well. Below, Porsche (+33.6%), MG (+23.6%), Dacia (+5.3%), Suzuki (+2.2%) and Mini (+1.9%) shine with year-on-year upticks while among smaller brands Polestar (+217.9%), Alpine (+216.7%), Maserati (+76.1%), Ssangyong (+74.7%) and Subaru (+31.3%) stand out.

The UK models ranking is becoming markedly more volatile this year as it fragments further. The VW Polo (+60.4%) rallies back up six spots on last month to score its second ever monthly win after last July. Only 34 units below, the Mini (+1.1%) is up to a record 2nd place whereas it didn’t even rank inside the September Top 10. The Nissan Qashqai (+14.3%) is back up two ranks to #3, the Ford Focus (-3.1%) enables the manufacturer to place one model inside the Top 10 unlike last month, and the YTD leader, the Vauxhall Corsa (-35.1%) is down three ranks to #5. The Kia Niro equals its highest ever UK ranking at #6, also reached last February, the Volvo XC40 is up to #7, its best placement since last February (#5) while the Peugeot 2008 breaks into the UK Top 10 for the very first time at #9 and the Hyundai Tucson lodges its third ever Top 10 finish at #10 after April 2019 (#10) and last August (#6). The YTD order also gets a shake up, with only 1.734 sales separating the #2 from the #7. The VW Polo soars to #3 and the Mercedes A-Class is up to #4 while the Ford Fiesta (-86% for the month) goes from #3 to #5.

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

One year ago: UK October 2020: Earthquake as Mercedes A-Class takes overall lead in market down -1.6%

Full October 2021 Top 40 brands and Top 10 models below.

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