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UK March 2018: VW strong in market down 15.7%, diesel down 37.2%

What diesel scandal? The VW Golf is up 29% in a market down 16%.

* See the Top 42 brands and Top 10 models by clicking on the title *

As expected, new car sales in the UK take a 15.7% year-on-year hit in March, traditionally one of the two high-selling months in the country as new license plates get released. The combined effects of an artificially boosted score a year ago in March 2017 when sales were brought forward to avoid an impending tax rise, poor consumer confidence following Brexit and negative perceptions over diesel emissions mean the UK market is down to 474.069 units, roughly equivalent to its 2014 level of 464.824 registrations. The year-to-date volume is down 12.4% to 718.489 sales, also the lowest since 2014 (688.122).

March UK sales return to their 2014 level.

According to a survey by Auto Trader, over 60% of recent or prospective car buyers have had their decision-making influenced by Britain’s exit from the European Union, including some delaying a purchase. Of note are diesel sales imploding 37.2% to just 153.594 and 32.4% share vs. 43.5% a year ago while petrol sales edge up 0.5% to 296.349 and 62.5% share vs. 52.4%. Alternatively Fuelled Vehicles (hybrid, EV and PHEV) are up 5.7% to 24.126 or 5.1% share, one percentage point above its level of March 2017. All distribution channels are hit in equal measure: private sales drop 16.5% to 228.623, fleets sink 15% to 222.595 and business sales fall 14.3% to 22.851.

The Ford Kuga posts a 6th consecutive month in the Top 10 and now ranks #6 YTD.

In the brands ranking, after having defied the overall gloom last month with a 22% gain, market leader Ford falls flat in March with a painful 30% drop to just 10.6% share. Volkswagen on the other hand manages to limit its fall to just 4% resulting in an improved 8% share. This is the 10th time in the past 11 months that VW ranks #2, a position it snapped over the Full Year 2017 away from Vauxhall, down another 20% this month but up 3 spots on February. Mercedes (-7%) lead healthy premium carmakers BMW (-9%) and Audi (-3%) all improving their share.

What market decline? McLaren soars 78% year-on-year in March.

Hyundai is the only Top 10 carmaker to post a year-on-year gain, albeit a very slim 0.4%. Nissan (-34%) is the hardest hit while Kia (-4%) and Toyota (-8%) beat the market. Further down, McLaren (+78%), MG (+49%), Abarth (+17%), Mitsubishi (+15%), Subaru (+8%), Seat (+6%), Lexus (+4%) and Honda (+2%) can be proud to be the only Top 40 manufacturers in positive. At the other end of the scale, Infiniti (-84%), Aston Martin (-46%), Smart (-45%), Bentley (-36%), Maserati (-36%), Fiat (-34%), Dacia (-30%), Jeep (-27%), Land Rover (-26%), DS (-24%) and Renault (-24%) all lose at least a quarter of their sales compared with March 2017.

China-made MG sales soar 49% this month in the UK.

Model-wise, the Ford Fiesta posts a third consecutive win but falls faster than the market at -24% to 4.1% share, followed by the VW Golf gaining a staggering 29% to 2.9% share. The Nissan Qashqai leaps up to #3 with a contained 13% year-on-year decline allowing it to #3 YTD which would be a new record if sustained until the end of 2018. The Vauxhall Corsa jumps from outside the February Top 10 back to #4 but loses 27%, yet that’s better than the Ford Focus crumbling down 45% just as the new generation is about to be revealed in China. Excellent performance of the Ford Kuga at #6, down just 6% and lodging a 6th consecutive Top 10 finish: it now ranks #6 YTD vs. #12 in FY2017. Mercedes manages to place both the A-Class (#8) and C-Class (#9) in the Top 10 while the Kia Sportage rounds it out.

Previous post: UK Full Year 2017: Discover the Top 150 best-selling models

Previous month: UK February 2018: Ford ignores surrounding gloom at +22%

One year ago: UK March 2017: Upcoming tax change triggers all-time record month

Full March 2018 Top 42 brands and Top 10 models below.

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UK Full Year 2017: Discover the Top 150 best-selling models

The new model propels the Honda Civic up 58% to #22. 

* See the Top 156 best-selling models by clicking on the title *

We can now study in a lot more detail Full Year 2017 data for the UK with a Top 155 models available instead of the traditional meagre ten best-sellers. The Kia Sportage (-1%), Ford Kuga (+11%) and Nissan Juke (+0.3%) all within 5.000 sales of the Top 10, while below the Audi A3 (-13%), Vauxhall Mokka (-10%) and BMW 3 Series (-2%) all lose foot. The VW Tiguan (+44%) and Hyundai Tucson (+15%) post the largest year-on-year gains in the 2017 Top 20 in the UK, landing at #20 and #18 respectively. Below, the Honda Civic leaps up 58% and 36 spots to #22, with the Peugeot 3008 (+145%), Citroen C3 (+94%), Audi A5 (+72%), Honda Jazz (+44%) and Nissan X-Trail (+16%) also very dynamic in the Top 50.

The Jaguar F-Pace is up 38 spots on 2016 to #64.

As far as English nameplates are concerned, below the Mini (-1%) at #8, the Range Rover Evoque (-8%) recedes five ranks to #26, teased by the Land Rover Discovery Sport (+3%) up two to #27, while the Jaguar F-Pace surges 59% and 38 spots on 2016 to end its first full year in market at #64. The Mini Countryman (#73), Range Rover Sport (#74), Jaguar XE (#77) and Land Rover Discovery (#80) follow. The Range Rover Velar is the only new UK nameplate to manage to make its way into the annual Top 150 for the year at #136. Note no MG nameplate (now the property of SAIC) is among the Top 155 best-sellers.

The Toyota C-HR is the most popular recent launch in the UK in 2017. 

Over in the recent launches aisle, the Toyota C-HR is the winner at this little game, landing directly at #53 with just under 15.000 units finding a new UK home in 2017. The Japanese mini crossover distances the Audi Q2 at #62 with a little more than 12.600 sales, the Seat Ateca at #83 with almost 10.500 deliveries and the Skoda Kodiaq at #104 with 6.600 units. Just below are the Fiat Tipo (#107), Suzuki Ignis (#109) and Hyundai Ioniq (#122), with the Volvo S/V90 (#133) and Kia Niro (#138) also making the cut.

Previous post: UK February 2018: Ford ignores surrounding gloom at +22%

First FY2017 post: UK Full Year 2017: VW Golf and Nissan Qashqai break records in market down 5.7%

Previous year: UK Full Year 2016: Second annual record in a row despite Brexit

Two years ago: UK Full Year 2015: Market up 6% to record 2,633,503 units

Full Year 2017 Top 156 models ranking table below.

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UK February 2018: Ford ignores surrounding gloom at +22%, Fiesta and Kuga up

The Ford Fiesta hits its highest market share in the UK in almost 4 years.

* See the Top 42 best-selling brands and Top 10 models by clicking on the title *

The Brexit effect is nowhere near disappearing in the UK with an 11th consecutive month of year-on-year decline in February at -2.8% to 80.805 registrations, the weakest February score in the UK since 2015. Year-to-date, sales are down 5.1% to 244.420, and the situation is about to get much worse as the number plate change month of March hit all-time record levels in 2017 as registrations were pulled forward to avoid VED changes. Back to February: for once, private sales pull the market up at -2% to 35.277 units and 43.7% share vs. 43.3% a year ago, while fleet are down 2.5% to 44.554 and 55.1% share vs. 55% a year ago and business sales are down an abysmal 30.4% to just 974 units. Year-to-date, fleet sales behave the best at -2.1% to 134.073 and 54.9% share vs. 53.1% a year ago, with private sales down 7.1% to 104.682 and 42.8% share vs. 43.7% and business sales are down 29.8% to 5.665 and 2.3% share vs. 3.1%. Diesel sales continue their freefall at -23.5% to 28.317 in February and -24.9% and 87.020 year-to-date, as opposed to a 14.4% rise for petrol sales this month to 48.941 and +10.4% year-to-date to 144.833. Alternatively Fuelled Vehicles (AFV) gain 7.2% in February to 3.547 and 4.4% share, up 18.7% year-to-date to 12.567 and 5.1% share.

The Ford Kuga breaks into the UK Top 5 for the first time this month.

Brand-wise, Ford stuns with a fantastic 22% year-on-year gain to 14.9% share and over 12.000 sales. Volkswagen drops 4% but ranks #2 brand for the 9th time in the past 10 months, and its direct followers are the only two other carmakers posting double-digit gains in the Top 10: BMW (+10%) and Audi (+17%). Mercedes (-0.2%) outsells Vauxhall lodging another paltry month, down 23% to #6 for the third time in the past five months. Further down, Dacia (+139%), Porsche (+108%), MG (+68%), Mitsubishi (+45%), Seat (+36%) and Subaru (+29%) post the most spectacular sales uplifts while on the other end of the scale, DS (-56%), Nissan (-54%), Infiniti (-50%), Ssangyong (-38%), Renault (-37%), Bentley (-28%) and Jeep (-25%) struggle the most.

BMW sales are up 10% year-on-year in February, with the 3 Series in the Top 10.

In the models ranking, the Ford Fiesta confirms it is definitely on the mend with the new generation now taking a grip in the market. Up a stunning 21% to 6.4% share, the Fiesta delivers its highest market share and year-on-year gain since August 2014 (6.5% share and up 42%). In 2nd place, the VW Golf (-1%) posts a 10th consecutive month inside the UK Top 2, followed by the Ford Focus (+4%). The Mercedes A-Class gains two spots on January to rank #4, its highest ever UK ranking also hit last April. The Ford Kuga is up four ranks on last month to break into the monthly UK Top 5 for the very first time, beating its previous record of #6 hit last August. Below the Vauxhall Mokka X, Mini and Mercedes C-Class, the BMW 3 Series snaps a third Top 10 ranking in the past 9 months after last June and November, even though it drops 13% year-on-year.

Previous month: UK January 2018: 10th consecutive year-on-year decline at -6.3%

One year ago: UK February 2017: Golf pushes Volkswagen to #2 YTD, stable market

Full February 2018 Top 42 brands and Top 10 models below.

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UK January 2018: 10th consecutive year-on-year decline at -6.3%

The Ford Fiesta hits its highest market share in the UK in almost a year.

* See the Top 42 brands and Top 10 models by clicking on the title *

UK sales record their 10th consecutive month of year-on-year decline in January at -6.3% to 163.615 registrations. Business sales are the hardest hit at -29.7% to 4.686 and 2.9% share vs. 3.8% in January 2017, while private sales are down 9.5% to 69.416 and 42.4% share vs. 43.9% a year ago and fleet sales over-perform at -1.8% to 89.513 and 54.7% share vs. 52.2%. SUVs are the only segment to gain volume year-on-year at +6.6% to 20.2% share. Petrol sales are up 8.5%, diesel sales down an abysmal 25.6% and alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) are up 23.9%. In the brands ranking, Ford maintains its leadership despite a 14% drop to 12% share while Vauxhall manages to climb back into 2nd place for the first time since March 2017 in spite of a 9% year-on-year decline, edging past Volkswagen (-3%) for just 73 sales. Mercedes falls 9% but climbs back to #1 premium after falling to #3 in December, distancing Audi (+1%) and BMW (+6%). Toyota (+7%) is the biggest gainer in the Top 10, outselling Nissan (-30%) for the first time this decade. Further down, MG (+132%), Porsche (+45%), Mini (+26%), Abarth (+25%), Mitsubishi (+17%) and Lexus (+11%) all go against the grain and post double-digit gains.

UK January sales 2002-2018. Source: SMMT

In the models ranking, the Ford Fiesta is down just 2% to hot 5.1% share, its highest in the UK since February 2017, topping all 4 UK nations for the first time since June 2016. Below, the VW Golf (-21%) continues its streak of 9 consecutive months inside the UK Top 2, with the Ford Focus (-14%) back to the third spot it held over the Full Year 2017 above the Nissan Qasqhai (+10%). The Vauxhall Mokka X leaps to 5th place overall, its highest UK ranking since last August (#3), the Mercedes A-Class confirms it is now a regular fixture atop the UK charts, posting a 5th consecutive Top 10 month at #6, the Kia Sportage is up to #7 despite sales down 14% and the Ford Kuga makes it four SUVs in the UK Top 9 this month.

Previous post: UK Full Year 2017: VW Golf and Nissan Qashqai break records in market down 5.7%

One year ago: UK January 2017: Mercedes C-Class soars 40% to record 4th place

Full January 2018 Top 42 brands and Top 10 models below.

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UK: Nameplates Records now updated with 2017 data

The Ford Cortina sold 193,784 units in 1979, a all-time annual volume record.

* Click on the title for the Top 25 best-selling nameplates and Top 30 foreign nameplates *

We can share with you an updated ranking exclusive to BSCB: the best-selling nameplates in the country, ranked by their volume record year and covering the past 50 years since records began. Since 1965, 15 nameplates have sold upwards of 100.000 annual units at least once, with only one foreign model among them: the Peugeot 206.

Peugeot 206

The Ford Cortina holds the record for the highest sales volume achieved in a single year in the UK with 193.784 units sold in 1979. The Ford Escort follows at 181.218 in 1989 and the Ford Sierra rounds up the podium at 175.911 also in 1989, making it the highest-selling model that never managed to be #1… The Austin Morris 1100, Ford Fiesta and Focus are the only other nameplates to have crossed the 150.000 annual sales mark.

Austin Metro

Vauxhall’s highest seller is the Cavalier with 138.357 units in 1990, while the Austin Metro peaked at 137.303 sales in 1983. Notice the Morris Marina at #11 thanks to 114.600 units sold in 1973 and the Ford Anglia at #18 with 84.589 sales in 1965.

Peugeot 306

The Top 2 foreign models volume records were delivered in 2002: the Peugeot 206 at a seemingly unbeatable 101.019 units, which earned it a 4th place, at the time the highest annual ranking ever hit by a foreign model in the UK. The Renault Clio comes in 2nd at 86.336 sales that same year and the VW Golf ranks third with a new record of 74.605 hit in 2017, also beating the record for highest ranking for a foreign nameplate at #2 that year.

The Datsun Cherry ranked #8 in the UK in 1981, a Japanese ranking record for over 30 years.

The Peugeot 306 at #4 broke the foreign model volume record 4 consecutive times between 95 and 98. In fact Peugeot, once a local producer, places no less than 8 models in the Top 17 highest selling foreign nameplates: the 206 (#1), 306 (#4), 207 (#5), 307 (#9), 205 (#13), 405 (#14), 106 (#15) and 406 (#17). Sister brand Citroen places the Xsara at #6 and the Saxo at #24. Note the BMW 3 Series at #7 thanks to a peak of 65.489 units in 2003. The next best-selling premium nameplates are the Mercedes C-Class (#20) and A-Class (#23) both thanks to volume records established in 2017.

The Nissan Micra held the record annual volume for a Japanese model from 1989 to 2015.

In 2015 the Nissan Qashqai became the first Japanese model to break into the annual UK Top 5, beating this record in 2017 to #4. In 2015 also, the Qashqai broke the annual volume record for a Nippon model (60.814) previously held by the Nissan Micra since 1989 (54.175), then lifting it to 62.682 in 2016 and 64.216 in 2017. Interestingly, the Micra never managed to break into the year-end Top 10, a feat that only the Datsun Sunny (in 1977, 78, 82 and 83) and Datsun Cherry (1981) have managed.

UK All-time Top 25 best-selling nameplates and Top 30 foreign nameplates below.

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UK Full Year 2017: Golf and Qashqai break records in market down 5.7%

The VW Golf hits an all-time high 2nd place in 2017 in the UK.

* See the Top 42 All-brands and Top 10 models by clicking on the title *

Consult over 50 years worth of UK Historical Data here

There is now a Top 150 models ranking available here

If 2016 was surprisingly a record year despite Brexit, 2017 marks the first year-on-year decline since 2011, down a more logical 5.7% to 2.540.617 – still the third best result in the past decade – and plagued by nine consecutive months of decline from April onwards, culminating in a 14.4% loss in December. Uncertainties concerning the still ongoing Brexit negotiations as well as worries on diesel engine penalties have kept UK car buyers at home. All channels decline in 2017, but none more so than business sales down 7.8% to 97.564 and 3.8% share wit private sales also falling faster than the market at -6.8% to 1.123.860 and 44.2% share vs. 44.8% a year ago. Fleet sales do better at -4.5% to 1.319.193 and gain market share at 51.9% vs 51.3% in 2016. Diesel sales a freefalling at -17.1% to 1.065.879 and 42% share vs. 47.7% a year ago whereas petrol sales are up 2.7% to 1.354.917 and 53.3% share vs. 49% in 2016. The big (and only?) winners in 2017 are alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) up a stunning 34.8% to a record 119.821 sales and 4.7% share.

Annual UK volumes 2001-2017. Source: SMMT

The Nissan Qashqai hits a record #4 and topped the UK charts for the first time in September. 

In 2017, the UK brands ranking has been the theatre of a descent to hell for local manufacturer Vauxhall, down an abysmal 22% to third place and 7.7% share vs. 9.3% in 2016 but outside the monthly podium for 6 out of 12 months and stuck at #6 below the three German premium brands in both October and November. Even worse: during these two months there were no Vauxhalls in the Top 10 models, potentially for the first time since 1979 or ever. Ford remains in the lead but drops 10% to 11.3% while Volkswagen (+1%) advances to #2 for the first time in history. Mercedes (+7%) leapfrogs BMW (-4%) and Audi (-1%) to become the best-selling premium brand in the UK while Toyota (+5%), Hyundai (+1%) , Kia (+4%) and Land Rover (+4%) all progress on the ladder thanks to positive results. Aston Martin (+62%), Infiniti (+22%), Maserati (+19%), Seat (+18%) and Abarth (+12%) are among the rare carmakers to post double-digit gains as double-digit declines are more frequent: Mitsubishi (-12%), Smart (-14%), Mazda (-16%), Peugeot (-17%), Citroen (-18%), Lotus (-18%), Renault (-19%), Ssangyong (-19%), Subaru (-26%), Fiat (-27%), DS (-43%), Jeep (-55%)…

New volume record for the Mercedes C-Class in the UK.

Over in the models ranking, the Ford Fiesta easily manages to remain in pole position for the 9th straight year (12 times at #1 in total) despite a harsh 22% decline pulling the nameplate below 100.000 annual units for the first time since 2011, and while only having topped the monthly charts seven times. There are four record-breakers in the Top 10 in 2017 – tellingly the only four nameplates that gain ground this year all break their all-time volume records. Firstly the VW Golf is up 7% to leap two spots to 2nd place, establishing a new volume record for the nameplate and a new annual ranking record for any foreign nameplate (the Peugeot 206 at #4 is the closest). The VW Golf managed to top the monthly UK charts 3 times this year (June, August and December) whereas it had only happened once before in the 43 year-history of the nameplate: in February 2011. The Golf is also on a 8 month-streak of consecutive Top 2 monthly rankings.

First annual UK Top 10 ranking for the Mercedes A-Class.

Secondly, below the Ford Focus (-1%) knocked down to #3 the locally produced Nissan Qashqai edges up 2% in 2017 to a new all-time high volume of 64.216 units and to a record annual #4 spot, even ranking #1 for the very first time in September. These are both records for any Japanese nameplate on sale in the UK, with the second best annual ranking hit by the Datsun Cherry in 1981 (#8). In terms of volume, the second most popular Japanese car in UK history is the Nissan Micra at 54.175 in 1989. Just as the Vauxhall Corsa (-32%), Astra (-19%) and VW Polo (-12%) freefall, two Mercedes nameplates are at all-time highs: the C-Class is up 4% to a new volume record, posting its third ever annual Top 10 ranking after 2012 and 2016. For the A-Class (+6%) on the other hand, its 10th spot for 2017 make it the first year among UK’s 10 favourites with a new volume record also, meaning 2017 is the first year in history Mercedes places two nameplates inside the UK Top 10. Finally, the BMW 4 Series broke into the monthly UK Top 10 for the first time in October.

Previous month: UK November 2017: Mini hits highest rank, 8th straight decline (-11.2%)

Previous year: UK Full Year 2016: Second annual record in a row despite Brexit

Two years ago: UK Full Year 2015: Market up 6% to record 2,633,503 units

Full Year 2017 Top 42 All-brands and Top 10 models vs. Full Year 2016 figures below.

Full December 2017 Top 42 All-brands and Top 10 models below.

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UK November 2017: Mini hits highest rank, 8th straight decline (-11.2%)

The Mini Hatch is up 15% to a highest-ever third place in the UK in November.

* See the Top 40 brands and Top 10 models by clicking on the title *

No sign of improvement for the UK market, plagued by uncertainties on both Brexit negotiations and diesel cars penalties. Sales register an 8th consecutive year-on-year drop in November and second consecutive double-digit decline at -11.2% to 163.541, the lowest score for the month since 2013. Year-to-date, UK registrations are now down 5% to 2.388.144, returning to the 2014 level (2.310.237). All channels decline but private sales resist better: down 5.1% to 74.065, improving their share to 45.3% vs. 42.4% a year ago whereas fleet sales are down 14.4% to 85.007 or 52% share vs. 53.9% in November 2016 and business sales implode 33.6% to 4.469. Year-to-date data shows a different picture: fleet sales beat the market at -3.9% to 1.228.967 units or 51.5% share vs. 50.8% over the same period in 2016, while private sales are down 6.3% to 1.066.951 or 44.7% share vs. 45.3% and business sales are down 5.4% to 92.226. Like it was the case for the previous few months, diesel sales single-handedly pull the market down with an abysmal 30.6% year-on-year drop in November to 61.730 units or 37.7% share vs. 48.3% in November 2016, while petrol sales are up 5% to 92.944 or 56.8% share vs. 48.1%. Alternatively fuelled vehicles continue to shoot up at +33.1% to 8.867 or 5.4% share vs. 3.6% a year ago. Year-to-date, diesel sales are down 16.1% to 1.008.267 or 42.2% share vs. 47.8%, petrol sales are up 3.1% to 1.268.641 or 53.1% share vs. 48.9% and AFV sales up 34.6% to 111.236 or 4.7% share vs. 3.3%.

Land Rover sales are up 18% at home in November. 

Market leader Ford underperforms at -18% to 11.1% share, with Volkswagen resisting well at -3% to 8.6% ahead of BMW (-17%), Audi (-6%) and Mercedes once again going against the grain with a 6% year-on-year improvement to 7.4% share. Vauxhall (-35%) is stuck at a lowest-ever 6th place for the second month running – whereas it ranked on the podium every single month in 2015 and 2016 – but manages to remain #3 year-to-date. Below Nissan crumbling down 24%, Hyundai resists at -1%. Land Rover (+18%) and Mini (+20%) post brilliant scores, the only two mass market brands with double-digit year-on-year gains. The others are: MG (+79%), Maserati (+32%), Abarth (+26%), Bentley (+23%) and Alfa Romeo (+21%). At the other end of the scale, Lotus (-61%), Jeep (-53%), Fiat (-43%), Smart (-43%), DS (-39%), Renault (-38%) and Volvo (-25%) are struggling.

The BMW 1 Series is at its highest in the UK since September 2013. 

In the models ranking, the Ford Fiesta manages two consecutive months in pole position for the first time since last May and despite a harsh 23% year-on-year drop whereas the VW Golf continues to deliver stellar performances with sales up 25% in 2nd place, the nameplate’s seventh consecutive month inside the UK Top 2 (a record). The Golf is comfortably headed towards becoming the first foreign nameplate since records began to rank on the UK annual podium. The performer of the month is the Mini up 15% to achieve its highest ever ranking for the new generation launched 18 years ago, also hit in December 2015. It is likely that the last time the Mini ranked higher than #3 in the UK was back in 1980, a year it ended at #4 before crumbling 53% to #10 in 1981, hit by cannibalisation from the Austin Metro. The last time a Mini was on the annual UK podium was in 1979 (#3). The Ford Focus (-2%) and Nissan Qashqai (-16%) are both knocked down one spot on October to #4 and #5 respectively. Replacing the BMW 4 Series which snapped its first ever Top 10 ranking last month, the BMW 1 Series soars to #6, its first UK Top 10 since last April and highest ranking since September 2013. It’s a good month for premium compact cars, with the Mercedes A-Class posting a third consecutive Top 10 finish at #7.

There are no Vauxhall nameplates in the UK Top 10 for the first time in at least 38 years.

Lastly on a more negative note, there are no Vauxhalls in the Top 10 models for the second month running with the Corsa (-44%) and Astra (-50%) both imploding. This occurrence, unthinkable just a few months ago, may have to do with the buyout of the brand by PSA Peugeot-Citroen. At least one Vauxhall has featured in the annual UK Top 10 without interruption since records began in 1965. It will happen again in 2017, with the Corsa at #5 YTD and the Astra at #6, paradoxically up one spot this month due to the VW Polo’s generation transition. But the lowest the best-selling Vauxhall ranked annually was #9 in 1979 (Vauxhall Cavalier – pictured above), so it’s possible (but not certain) that that year no Vauxhall managed to rank inside the Top 10 for at least one month. It’s also very possible that Vauxhall’s absence from the Top 10 in both October and November 2017 are the first time this ever happens. Only seven years ago in February 2011, Vauxhall placed no less than five nameplates in the monthly UK Top 10: Corsa #2, Astra #5, Insignia #6, Zafira #7 and Meriva #10…

Previous month: UK October 2017: First ever Top 10 for the BMW 4 Series

One year ago: UK November 2016: Fleet sales keep market on track for annual record

Full November 2017 Top 40 brands and Top 10 models below.

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UK October 2017: First ever Top 10 for the BMW 4 Series

The BMW 4 Series breaks into the UK Top 10 for the very first time in October.

* See the Top 40 brands and Top 10 models by clicking on the title *

The UK market is getting worse every month with a 7th consecutive year-on-year decline in October and the first double-digit drop since last April at -12.2% to 158.192 registrations. This is the weakest October result since 2013. Year-to-date, UK sales are now down 4.6% to 2.224.603 units. SMMT predicts a Full Year 2017 down 4.7% to 2.565 million units. Double-digit sales decline is across the board with fleet sales down 13% to 83.931, business sales down 26.8% to 4.324 and private sales down 10.1% to 69.937, gaining one percentage point of market share at 44.2% vs. 43.2% in October 2016. Year-to-date, private sales are down 6.4% to 992.910 or 44.6% vs. 45.5% a year ago, fleet sales down 3% to 1.143.937 or 51.4% vs. 50.6% and business sales are down 3.3% to 87.756 for an unchanged 3.9% share. The main culprit this month are diesel-engined vehicles down an abysmal 29.9% to 62.349, losing ten percentage points of market share in one year at 39.4% vs. 49.3% in October 2016. This is the result of uncertainty on city bans of the engine that has prompted UK buyers to step away from diesel cars. Petrol sales are up 2.7% to 87.599 or 55.4% share vs. 47.3% a year ago. Alternatively fuelled vehicles (mainly hybrid and electric) continue to surge at +36.9% to 8.244 and 5.2% share.

The VW Golf climbs to #2 year-to-date, overpowering the Ford Focus. 

The Top 4 carmakers outperform the market, even though the podium in entirely in negative: Ford drops 9% to 12.4% share which is one percentage point above its YTD level, Volkswagen is down a minimal 2% to 8.7% vs. 8.1% year-to-date, only 57 units above sister brand Audi down 7% to 8.7% share also vs. 6.8% so far this year. Mercedes gains 7% this month as it does year-to-date to jump to a stunning 7.7% share vs. 7.1% in 2017. BMW is down a harsh 18% to 7% in 5th place, still above its 2017 level of 6.7%. Things are getting out of control at Vauxhall: the brand steps out of the UK Top 5 for the first time in BSCB’s record with deliveries plummeting 35% to just 6.2% share. This follows lows of #5 last April and September. For reference, Vauxhall remained at #2 in the UK for 22 of the 24 months of the years 2015 and 2016, only dropping to #3 twice. The carmaker’s buyout by PSA Peugeot-Citroen and announced plans to cut the UK workforce seem to have discouraged UK buyers. Nissan, down 31% to #7, is also struggling. Reversely, Toyota delivers the only double-digit gain in the Top 10 at +13%. Further down, notice Abarth (+11%), Ssangyong (+12%), Seat (+16%), Alfa Romeo (+29%), Lotus (+30%), Infiniti (+32%), Aston Martin (+71%) and Maserati (+85%) all posting strong gains whereas Mazda (-25%), MG (-25%), Fiat (-27%), Renault (-27%), Dacia (-29%), Mini (-34%), DS (-35%), Smart (-36%), Jaguar (-39%), Subaru (-61%) and Jeep (-64%) all fall even faster than the market.

Second ever Top 5 ranking for the Mercedes A-Class in the UK.

The models ranking is the theatre of a few striking events this month. The Ford Fiesta reclaims the monthly top spot after an excruciating four months drought (its last pole position was in May), this despite a 7% drop to 4.6% share. The VW Golf (+23%) celebrates a 6th consecutive month in the Top 2 with a historical #2 spot year-to-date, eclipsing the Ford Focus by 536 sales. If held until the end of the year, this would be by far the Golf’s highest annual ranking in the UK since the nameplate launched back in 1974 and its first ever podium: its previous best is #4 hit in 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2016. Another milestone the VW Golf is about to reach is being the very first foreign nameplate since records began to rank on the UK annual podium. At the moment it holds the #4 record position with the Peugeot 206 which reached that level in 2002. The Ford Focus is up 10% year-on-year and one spot on last month to #3 and the Nissan Qashqai dives down 21% to #4 after historically topping the monthly UK ranking in September.

The Kia Sportage equals its highest ever ranking at #6 despite a 18% drop.

The surprises are not over in the UK October models chart: the Mercedes A-Class is up four ranks on September to land in 5th place, the nameplate’s second Top 5 ranking this year – and ever – after hitting a record 4th place last April. This is only the 6th time the A-Class appears in the monthly UK Top 10, the first one being in July 2016. Despite a 18% year-on-year drop, the Kia Sportage climbs to #6 overall, equalling its highest ever UK ranking also hit last July. It is the 7th time the Sportage has managed to crack the monthly UK Top 10, the first one being in February 2016. At #10, the Ford Kuga delivers its 5th Top 10 ranking after August 2015, August 2016March 2017 and August 2017. Last but not least, we have a new nameplate in the Top 10 this month: the BMW 4 Series, and this is a surprise as it wasn’t aimed by BMW at being its most popular nameplate. Launched in 2013 as a coupe version of the 3 Series, the 4 nevertheless manages a fantastic 9th place in October, and thus becomes only the third BMW on record to break into the UK Top 10. The previous two are the 3 Series (highest: #3 in December 2006, last: #9 last June) and 1 Series (highest: #5 in December 2012, last: #10 last April). As a reference the 4 Series ranked #31 over the Full Year 2016.

Previous month: UK September 2017: Nissan Qashqai first Japanese model to rank #1

One year ago: UK October 2016: Market up 1.4%, Audi > VW for second time in 3 months

Full October 2017 Top 40 brands and Top 10 models below.

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UK September 2017: Nissan Qashqai first Japanese model to rank #1

The Nissan Qashqai is the best-selling vehicle in the UK for the first time in history.

* See the Top 42 brands and Top 10 models by clicking on the title *

The UK market suffers a sixth consecutive month of decline in September, one of the two biggest months of the year as it coincides with new license plates, down 9.3% to 426.170 registrations. This is the first September decline since 2011, pulling the year-to-date total down 3.9% to 2.066.411 and setting the UK towards its first year in negative since 2011 also. The uncertainty surrounding Brexit and the weak pound has delayed purchase decisions and made cars dearer, all combining to affect the UK market negatively. As a result, business (-5.2%), private (-8.8%) and fleet sales (-10.1%) are all in negative this month. Once ultra-dominant Ford (-19%) and Vauxhall (-26%) register the harshest declines in the Top 10 just as Vauxhall falls to a record-low 5th place for the third time this year. Volkswagen has a very solid month, up 8% to 8.5% share vs. 9.3% for Ford, while BMW (-3%), Mercedes (-2%) and Audi (-5%) all decline slower than the market, resulting in improved shares. Aston Martin (+11%), Alfa Romeo (+12%), Seat (+14%) and Infiniti (+59%) are the only carmakers posting double-digit gains in the Top 40, whereas Mazda (-20%), DS (-29%), Smart (-29%), Subaru (-33%), Bentley (-39%), Fiat (-42%), Ssangyong (-54%), Lotus (-57%) and Jeep (-58%) all implode.

The VW Golf posts a 5th consecutive month inside the UK Top 2.

The main event for the month in the UK is the first ever pole position of the locally-produced Nissan Qashqai in the models ranking. The Qashqai had ranked #2 twice before in the UK (January 2016 and April 2017) but had never been the best-selling vehicle in the country before, making it the very first Japanese nameplate to top the charts of any of the Top 4 European markets (Germany, UK, France and Italy). Coincidentally, the Qashqai is also #1 in Spain this month, which means it should easily beat its record European ranking of #5 (hit in February/March 2013, and February/July 2017). Its UK sales are up a whopping 27% year-on-year to 13.499 which actually isn’t the nameplate’s UK volume record (13.742 last March).

There are a few explanations to the Qashqai’s historic first place this month. See below.

So, why the Qashqai and why now? There are a few explanations to this historic #1 spot. Firstly, it wouldn’t have happened without the excruciatingly long generation transition (and more premium positioning) the traditional leader, the Ford Fiesta, is enduring: down another 45% this month to #3 overall. Secondly, a facelifted version with updated equipment and technology launched in July, renewing the interest for the nameplate. We have reached out to both SMMT and Nissan UK for more insights but they remained surprisingly tight-lipped. So we’ll propose a few additional explanations. With the Vauxhall Astra falling by the wayside recently (-48% this month), the Qashqai is one of only a handful of high volume models still produced in the UK, the other two local productions in the September Top 10 being the Mini (#7) and Nissan Juke (#8).

With the pound at record lows, these local productions give more discount leeway to dealers compared to dearer imports from the European Union – such as the Fiesta or Corsa, but then again, the Golf, also imported, is up 16% to a close #2 in September… On uk-car-discount.co.uk, rebates on the new Qashqai range from £3.425 to £6.924, or 18 to 23% of its retail price. In September 92.2% of Qashqai were purchased in England, traditionally fleet-heavy, vs. 90.4% year-to-date, and the Qashqai only appeared in one other nation’s Top 10: #7 in Wales. It did not make it to the Northern Irish nor Scottish Top 10s: logical in Scotland, but not in Northern Ireland. This seems to indicate a particularly strong fleet month for the Qashqai benefiting from heavy discounting. Nissan UK’s silence about its star nameplate’s performance even given pointed questions would make us incline towards that explanation, keeping in mind discount-boosted private sales were also strong, but in England only.

Previous month: UK August 2017: Golf #1, Mokka X and Kuga break records

One year ago: UK September 2016: Fleet sales edge market up 1.6% despite Brexit

Full September 2017 Top 42 brands and Top 10 models below.

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UK August 2017: Golf #1, Mokka X and Kuga break records

First UK podium for the Vauxhall Mokka X. 

* See the Top 40 best-selling brands and Top 10 models by clicking on the title *

UK new car sales are down year-on-year for the fifth consecutive month in August at -6.4% to 76.433 units, yet this is the third highest result for the month in the past decade below August 2016 (81.640) and 2015 (79.060). The year-to-date tally is down a moderate 2.4% to 1.640.241 sales. In August, private sales are down 9.9% to 33.597 and 44% share vs. 45.7% a year ago while fleet sales are down 3.2% to 41.899 and 54.8% share vs. 53% in August 2016. Year-to-date also the market is pulled by fleet: private sales are down 53% to 718.934 and 43.8% vs. 45.2% in 2016 while fleet sales are down just 0.03% to 859.713 and 52.4% share vs. 51.2% over the same period a year ago.

The VW Golf is #1 in the UK for the second time in the past three months. 

In the brands ranking, Ford tumbles down 21% year-on-year to 12.1% share while Volkswagen enjoys a fourth consecutive month in 2nd place thanks to sales surging 22% to 9.1% share. Vauxhall (-22%) is back up two spots on July to #3 but now only has a 1.649-sales advantage over VW year-to-date. Audi is up 2% to 8.2% share in 4th place, well above its YTD level of 6.6%. Kia is down 20% but remains at #8, Skoda (+9%) stays in 9th place vs. #12 year-to-date while Toyota soars 25% at #10. Below, Mitsubishi (+19%), Seat (+23%) and Suzuki (+27%) impress whereas Peugeot (-18%), Citroen (-21%), Jaguar (-22%), Renault (-25%), Fiat (-25%), DS (-38%) and Jeep (-58%) all struggle.

The Ford Kuga hits a record 6th place this month.

Model-wise, the VW Golf, up a spectacular 23% year-on-year, returns to pole position for the second time in the past three months and the the third time ever after February 2011. It distances the Ford Fiesta (-51%) by just 43 units. The Vauxhall Mokka X spectacularly signs its first Top 10 ranking and the first for the Mokka nameplate since August 2016. It also smashes the previous Mokka ranking record by landing on the podium for the first time at #3 (previous best: #5 in November 2015). The Ford Kuga is the second nameplate to smash its ranking record this month: up to #6 vs. a previous best of #9 hit last March and in August 2016. It’s only the fourth time we see the Kuga in the UK Top 10 (add August 2015 at #10)

Previous post: UK First Half 2017: Now available with Top 150 models (BSCB Exclusive)

Previous month: UK July 2017: Ford Focus and VW Golf on top, market down 9.3%

One year ago: UK August 2016: Audi outsells Volkswagen for the first time

Full August 2017 Top 40 brands and Top 10 models below.

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