The Tesla Model Y is the best-selling vehicle in the UK for the first time.
For the all-important month of March which traditionally accounts for around 20% of the annual total, new car sales in the UK fall -14.3% year-on-year to just 243,479 units according to data by SMMT. This is the weakest March volume since 1998 (213,374), prior to the introduction of the biannual plate system and even worse than pandemic-affected March 2020 (254.684) when dealerships had started to close… As a result, the year-to-date tally tilts into negative at -1.9% to 417,560. Carmakers have prioritised more profitable sales to private buyers and small businesses, with private sales up 8.2% year-on-year to 137,236 units and 56.4% share vs. 48.3% in March 2021 and business sales up 20% to 6,905 and 2.8% vs. 2.4%. In contrast, fleet sales sink -34.4% to 99,338 and 40.8% vs. 53% a year ago. Year-to-date, the contrast is similar with private sales up 22.1% to 227,320 and 54.4% share vs. 43.8% over the same period in 2021, fleets down -22.3% to 180.046 and 43.1% vs. 54.4% and business sales up 32.9% to 10,194 and 2.4% vs. 1.8% last year.
In terms of alimentation, petrol is down -25.6% to 102,349 and 42% share vs. 48.4% a year ago, diesel implodes -55.2% to 13,736 and 5.6% share vs. 10.8% and MHEV (Mild Hybrid) drops -19.1% to 44,285 and 18.2% share vs. 19.3%. BEV is the star of the month with a surge of 78.7% year-on-year to 39,315, its highest ever monthly volume, a share of 16.1% of the market vs. 7.7% a year ago and more units than during the Full Year 2019 (37,850). HEV is up 28.4% to 27,737 and 11.4% vs. 7.6% and PHEV down -7.5% to 16,037 and 6.6% share vs. 6.1%. Year-to-date, petrol falls -15% to 177,769 and 42.6% share vs. 49.2% over the same period in 2021, diesel dives -51.2% to 23,686 and 5.7% share vs. 11.4% last year, MHEV edges down -4.7% to 74,067 and 17.7% share vs. 18.3%, BEV soars 101.9% to 64,165 and 15.4% share vs. 7.5% a year ago, HEV is up 52.2% to 48,112 and 11.5% share vs. 7.4% and PHEV is up 11.8% to 29,761 and 7.1% share vs. 6.3% over the first 3 months of 2021.
The Ford Puma is now #3 year-to-date in the UK.
Over in the brands ranking, Ford (-19.8%) signs its first monthly win since February 2021 despite falling faster than the market to a lukewarm 7.3% share. Only 14 units below we find Kia (+58.8%) surging ahead with the only year-on-year gain in the Top 7 and holding onto the year-to-date top spot. Toyota (-4.7%) resists very well and lifts two spots on February to #3 while Audi (-19.8%) is up three to #4 and Mercedes (-29.3%) up one to #5. Leader last month, BMW (-28.8%) drops to #6 in March just as the leader over the Full Year 2021 Volkswagen (-38.3%) endures the steepest fall in the Top 13. Tesla (+93.3%) is in flamboyant shape at #8 and posts its first ever 1-2 in the models charts (see below). Hyundai (+21.3%) closes out the Top 10 in perfect fashion. Further down, notice MG (+136.8%) scoring the largest uptick in the entire market, Polestar (+135.5%), Fiat (+70.4%), Cupra (+60.3%), Dacia (+45%) and Porsche (+42.4%) all making waves.
First UK Top 10 finish for the Toyota C-HR
Model-wise, as mentioned above the Tesla Model Y and Model 3 historically top the charts and are within 7 units of each other. Although Tesla always peaks during end of quarters when most deliveries are made, this is still an impressive performance that sends the Model Y to #6 year-to-date and the Model 3 to #7. The Vauxhall Corsa (-30.4%) takes a harsh hit year-on-year but remains the #1 vehicle in the UK year-to-date, while the Nissan Qashqai (-18%) reappears in the Top 10 at #4 thanks to the new generation. The Hyundai Tucson leaps to #5 and ranks #4 year-to-date just as the Ford Puma (-2.7%) ranks #6 and is up to #3 YTD. The Kia Sportage (+11.7%) returns to the Top 10 at #7 and ranks at a formidable #2 YTD. The Ford Kuga follows and the Toyota C-HR manages its first ever Top 10 finish in the UK at #9. Finally, once the uncontested leader in the country, the Ford Fiesta secures a spot inside the Top 10 for the first time since August 2021.
Full March 2022 Top 42 All-brands and Top 10 models below.