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UK May 2018: Ford Focus up 48% in rebalancing market up 3.4%

Demo sales of the 4th gen and discounts on the 3rd push the Ford Focus up 48%.

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

It’s a second consecutive year-on-year gain in May for UK new car sales at +3.4% to 192.649 units. Far from an indication of market recovery, this growth is, like last month, a rebalancing of sales following May 2017 down a sharp 8.5% as sales had been pulled forward to March due to Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) changes. The good news is private sales are solely responsible for this month’s uplift at a solid +10.1% to 83.682 and 43.4% share vs. 40.8% a year ago. In contrast, business sales are down a steep 9.6% to 6.057 and 2.8% share vs. 3.3% and fleet sales drop 0.7% to 103.490 and 53.7% share vs. 55.9%. A better indication of the market’s ill health this year is the YTD tally down 6.8% to 1.079.049 with private sales down 5.7% to 492.570, fleet sales down 7.1% to 547.637 and business aales down 16.2% to 38.842. Petrol cars deliveries continue to rise at +23.5% to 119.149 and 61.8% in May, 10 percentage points above its level of May 2017, whereas diesel sales endure a 14th consecutive month of decline at -23.6% to 62.260 and 32.3% share vs. 43.8% a year ago. Alternatively Fuelled Vehicles leap up 36.1% to 11.240 with plug-in hybrids up 72.7%, hybrids up 22.6% and pure electrics up 18.7%.

UK May sales 2002-2018

Ford retains the lead of the brands ranking, following the market at +3% but posting weak 11% market share, below its YTD level of 11.4% (-13%). In contrast Volkswagen continues to stand out with deliveries up 16% this month to 9.4% share, by far the largest gain in the Top 10 and one percentage point above its YTD level. Vauxhall (-0.4%) manages to climb back up to #3 despite a soft decline, painstakingly outselling all three premium Germans Audi (-1%), Mercedes (-9% but placing both the A-Class and C-Class in the May Top 9) and BMW (+2%). Nissan (-18%) is hit hard but remains at #7 above Hyundai, Toyota and Kia all up 1%. Further down, Seat (+46%), Land Rover (+17%), Renault (+15%), Suzuki (+15%), Volvo (+14%) and Honda (+13%) are the other double-digit gainers in the Top 20 while among smaller brands Lotus (+900%), Jeep (+115%), MG (+105%), Abarth (+79%), Porsche (+56%), Subaru (+49%), McLaren (+37%), Alfa Romeo (+32%), Dacia (+30%), Mitsubishi (+23%) and Jaguar (+20%) all impress.

Volkswagen is up 16%, the largest year-on-year gain in the Top 10.

Over in the models ranking, after a 58% surge in April, the Ford Fiesta falls back to earth in May at -9% to just 3.6% share, its lowest so far in 2018, but remains in pole position. Deliveries of the fourth generation won’t start until August – with the Vignale high-end trim coming in October and the Active crossover-styled in January 2019, but demo sales combined with heavy discounts on the outgoing third gen propel the Ford Focus up by a whopping 48% year-on-year to hit its highest UK ranking since last July at #2. The Focus therefore puts an end to a record 12 consecutive months at either #1 or #2 by the VW Golf, knocked down to #3 in May even though it is up a very solid 17%. The Nissan Qashqai is also down one rank to #4 and is now threatened by the Focus for the #3 spot YTD with a gap thawing to just 210 units vs. 1.827 last month. Thanks to the new generation, the VW Polo posts a 2nd connective month in the Top 5 but surprisingly drops 7% year-on-year. The Mini (-1%) is back inside the Top 10 as is the Audi A3 for the first time since last October.

Previous month: UK April 2018: Market rebounds 10.4% on weak year-ago base

One year ago: UK May 2017: Volkswagen #2 brand in market down 8.5%

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

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UK April 2018: Market rebounds 10.4% on weak year-ago base

Sales of Ford Fiesta in the UK are up 58% year-on-year in April.

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

After 12 consecutive months of year-on-year declines, the UK market takes a breather in April with a relatively surprising 10.4% gain to 167.911 registrations with YTD volumes down 8.8% to 886.400. In fact, this is a rebalancing of sales following disruption caused at the same time last year by the Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) change that came into action on 1st April 2017, resulting in significant volumes being pulled forward to March and giving a particularly low comparison base for this month. As it has been the case so far in April in all major European markets covered (France, Italy and Spain), private sales pull the entire market up at +26.3% to 75.607 and 45% share vs. 39.4% a year ago. YTD also they improve their share thanks to a somewhat limited 8.4% decrease to 408.898 and 46.1% share vs. 45.9% a year ago.

…while the VW Golf is up 70%. Picture autoexpress.co.uk

Fleet sales edge up 0.9% to 87.486 and 52.1% share for the month vs. 57% in April 2017 but drop 8.5% YTD to 444.147 and 50.1% share vs. 49.9% over the same period a year ago. Finally business sales sink 12.9% to 4.818 and 2.9% share and down 17.2% YTD to 33.355 and 3.8%. Diesel sales continue to implode over uncertainties on its future acceptance at -24.9% to 51.377 and 30.6% share vs. 45% a year ago, down 31.9% YTD to 291.991 and 32.9% share vs. 44.1% whereas petrol sales soar 38.5% to 107.169 and 63.8% share vs. 50.9% in April 2017 and up 8.9% to 548.351 and 61.9% share YTD vs. 51.8% in 2017. Alternatively Fuelled Vehicles gain 49.3% to 9.365 and 5.6% of the market, up 16.1% to 46.058 and 5.2% YTD.

April car sales are still at their second-lowest since 2012.

In the brands ranking, the top two best-sellers are also among the best performers in the entire market growth-wise. Ford soars 24% year-on-year to 12% share while Volkswagen surges 47% to 8.7%. Stable sales enable Audi to jump from #6 in March to #3 this month at 7.8% share, while Mercedes is down 11% but stays 4th at 7.1% and Vauxhall is up 4% but down two spots on last month to #5. BMW plunges 19% and is knocked down to #6. Toyota is the other great performer in the Top 10 at +31% to 4% share, yet this is a notch below its YTD level at 4.5% and #8. There are a lot of fast-growing marques further down the ranking, among them McLaren (+511%), MG (+279%), Abarth (+68%), Citroen (+44%), Jaguar (+39%), Volvo (+38%), Dacia (+37%), Seat (+35%), Porsche (+33%), Suzuki (+28%), DS (+27%) and Aston Martin (+25%). Reversely, Chevrolet (-77%), Smart (-49%), Ssangyong (-46%) and Infiniti (-39%) suffer heavy losses.

The VW Polo is back inside the UK Top 5 for the first time since last August.

Model-wise, here too the best-sellers are also the best performers with the Ford Fiesta leaping up 58% year-on-year to 4.7% share and the VW Golf shooting up 70% to 3.3%. The Nissan Qashqai remains in third place both this month (-4%) and YTD (-10%) despite declines in both cases, while the Ford Focus rallies back up 11% to #4 but sinks 29% YTD. Thanks to the new generation, the VW Polo is back inside the UK Top 10 for the first time since last October and in the Top 5 for the first time since last August. It’s still not enough to reintegrate the YTD Top 10 whereas it ended 2017 at #7. The Ford Kuga confirms it is now a regular fixture at the highest level with a 7th consecutive month in the Top 10, cementing its 6th place YTD (#12 in FY2017), with the Vauxhall Mokka X backup to #7 and the Mercedes A (-27%) and C-Class (-30%) rounding up the Top 10 with steep declines.

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

One year ago: UK April 2017: Qashqai teases Fiesta, two Mercedes in Top 4 in market down 20%

Full April 2018 Top 42 All-brands and Top 10 models below.

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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.

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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.

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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

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