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

The Ford Focus is #1 in the UK for the first time in 4.5 years. 

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

The UK new car market endures a fourth consecutive month of year-on-year decline in July at -9.3% to 161.997 registrations, the lowest result for the month in five years, leading to a year-to-date tally down 2.2% to 1.563.808 units. All channels are down: business sales are down 23.8% to 5.106, fleet sales are down 10.1% to 89.186 and private sales down 6.8% to 67.705, actually improving their share of the total UK market at 41.8% vs. 40.7% a year ago. Year-to-date, fleet sales are up 0.1% to 817,767, business sales down 0.2% to 60.656 and private sales down 5% to 685.385 and 43.8% share vs. 45.1% over the first seven months of 2016. Petrol cars are down 3%, diesel cars down 20.1% but alternatively fuelled vehicles are up 64.9% to 8.871 units for a new record 5.5% market share.

July registrations 2001-2017 – courtesy SMMT 

Brand-wise, the two UK behemoths are in fact solely responsible for the market decline: Ford plunges 24% to just 10.5% share vs. 11.8% YTD while Vauxhall freefalls 42% to 5th place overall and 7.1% share vs. 7.9% so far this year. This means Volkswagen (+0.4%) remains 2nd while Audi surges 11% to a stellar third place with 8% market share vs. 6.6% YTD, passing BMW (-6%) YTD to now rank 5th. Mercedes (-0.3%) meanwhile gains one spot on June to #4. Skoda (+21%), Toyota (+20%), Seat (+32%) and Porsche (+65%) are the only manufacturers posting a double-digit gain inside the Top 30, while Peugeot (-30%), Citroen (-26%) and Fiat (-45%) also struggle greatly.

The VW Golf misses out on two consecutive months at #1 by just 15 sales. 

After the shock of having the VW Golf as its overall leader for only the second time in history last month, the UK models ranking gets another surprising reshuffle in July, with the Ford Focus taking possession of the pole position and the VW Golf missing out on an incredible two consecutive months at #1 by just 15 units… It is the first time the Ford Focus ends the month at #1 in the UK since February 2013 and only the 5th time it does so in the past seven years (add January 2011, November and December 2012). Last month the Ford Fiesta had its 29 month-long stint in the UK #1 spot interrupted, and instead of reclaiming its rank in July, it falls further down the charts with sales plummeting down 58% to #4 overall, the nameplate’s lowest monthly ranking in the UK since February 2011 when the VW Golf ranked #1 in the UK for the very first time. This fall could be caused by the transition to the new generation.

Kia Sportage UK August 2016The Kia Sportage ranks at a best-ever 6th place overall in July.

The Nissan Qashqai (+2%) jumps four spots on June to land on the third step of the podium, the VW Polo is up 3 but down 22% year-on-year and both the Vauxhall Corsa and Astra painfully lose half their sales compared to June 2016… The Kia Sportage surges to an all-time record 6th place overall, beating its previous best of #8 set in August 2016. It is the 6th time the Sportage has managed to crack the monthly UK Top 10, the first one in February 2016 and the last one in January 2017. Finally, the Mercedes A-Class (#9) and Audi A3 (#10) return into the Top 10, the latter for the first time since last April.

Previous post: UK First Half 2017: Mercedes shines, places C-Class and A-Class in Top 10

Previous month: UK June 2017: VW Golf becomes best-seller for the first time

One year ago: UK July 2016: Vauxhall Astra and Mercedes A-Class shoot up

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

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UK First Half 2017: Mercedes shines, places C-Class and A-Class in Top 10

Mercedes is up 11% and the C-Class up 24% so far in 2017. 

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

A Top 150 models ranking is now available here

The changes to Vehicle Excise Duty, effective April 1, have triggered a pull-forward effect resulting in an all-time record March figure in the UK. In turn, this has led to a First Half total very close to the record sales hit in 2016. The UK market is down just 1.3% to 1.401.811 units, the second highest First Half score in history. Looking into the detail by channel, fleet sales tighten their hold on the market at +1.5% to 728.582 while business sales are up 2.7% to 55.550. Private sales in contrast are down 4.8% to 649.059 and now account for 44.1% of the UK market vs. 45.7% a year ago. All-in-all, a largely artificial performance of the UK market so far in 2017.

Jaguar posts the largest year-on-year gain in the Top 30 at +23%.

In the brands ranking, the Top 3 best-sellers continue to see their combined share drop at 27.7% vs. 29.2% a year ago. If Ford (-2%) and Volkswagen (-1%) roughly follow the market with stable market shares year-on-year, Vauxhall is in great difficulty at -15% to just 8% share vs. 9.4% a year ago. In contrast, Mercedes surges 11% top leapfrog both BMW (+1%) and Audi (+0.2%) to rank 4th overall. Nissan (+8%) and Kia (+9%) impress in the Top 10, with the latter up two spots to #9 whereas Peugeot (-13%) slips out at #11. Land Rover (+7%), Seat (+20%), Volvo (+8%), Suzuki (+9%), Jaguar (+23%) and Porsche (+13%) shine further down.

The Mercedes A-Class breaks into the YTD Top 10 in the UK. 

Model-wise, the Ford Fiesta remains in the lead and is headed towards a 9th consecutive annual win in the UK, despite a 7% drop and being outsold by the VW Golf for the first time in June. The freefall of the Vauxhall Corsa (-21%) has triggered a reshuffle atop the sales charts: the Ford Focus (+3%), VW Golf (-2%) and Nissan Qashqai (-0.2%) all gain one spot compared to a year ago while the Corsa is down to #5. If these rankings were to hold until the end of the year, the VW Golf (#3) and Nissan Qashqai (#4) would hit all-time highs. Helped by the new generation, the Vauxhall Astra is up a solid 14% but remains in 6th place. The Mercedes C-Class posts the largest gain in the Top 10 at +24% and is up three spots to #7. The Mercedes A-Class breaks into the Top 10 at #10 and makes it two Mercs in the Top 10, as many as Ford, VW and Vauxhall.

Previous post: UK June 2017: VW Golf becomes best-seller for the 2nd time ever

One year ago: UK First Half 2016: Record volume but Brexit brings cloudy horizon

Full H1 2017 Top 10 models and Top 42 brands vs. Full H1 2016 figures below.

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UK June 2017: VW Golf becomes best-seller for the 2nd time ever

The VW Golf is up 30% to snap its 2nd ever UK pole position. 

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

It’s a third consecutive month of decline for the UK new car market which continues to readjust after the recent changes to Vehicle Excise Duty triggered a pull-forward effect in March. Sales slow down their fall in June at -4.8% to 243.454 units, bringing the year-to-date tally down 1.3% to 1.401.811 units. All channels decline this month: private sales are down 7.8%, fleet sales down 2.4% and business sales down 8.3%. Alternatively fuelled vehicles on the other hand are up 29% to 10.721 registrations, holding a record 4.4% of the market for the second month running.

The Ford Focus is up 21% to #3. Picture 

Brand-wise, leader Ford falls faster than the market at -10% to 11.1% share while Volkswagen surges 18% to hold the 2nd place for the second consecutive month, outselling Vauxhall in freefall at -18%. BMW (+2%), Mercedes (+1%) and Audi (+4%) follow, with BMW overtaking Audi for 5th place year-to-date. In the Top 20, only Seat (+15%) manages a double-digit year-on-year gain along with Volkswagen. Further down, Porsche (+30%) and Dacia (+45%) shine while among struggling manufacturers, Renault (-20%), Fiat (-21%), Citroen (-22%), Infiniti (-33%), Subaru (-38%), DS (-51%) and Jeep (-75%) fare the worst.

The Vauxhall Astra is up 24% in June in the UK. 

The models ranking is the theatre of an extremely rare event: a new #1. For the first time since December 2014 (Vauxhall Corsa), the Ford Fiesta isn’t the best-seller in the UK. For only the second time in its 43-year career after February 2011, this honour goes to the VW Golf as it transitions with the facelifted model available this summer. The Golf soars 30% on June 2016 to 8.808 units, almost 200 more than the Fiesta down a harsh 24%. This first win earns the Golf a third spot in the year-to-date ranking, overtaking the Nissan Qashqai. The Ford Focus (+21%) and Vauxhall Astra (+24%) also impress inside the Top 4 whereas the Vauxhall Corsa (-35%) and Nissan Qashqai (-13%) are in difficulty. The BMW 3 Series (#8) snaps its first Top 10 UK ranking since last February.

Previous month: UK May 2017: Volkswagen #2 brand in market down 8.5%

One year ago: UK June 2016: Brexit triggers 2nd year-on-year drop in 4 years

Full June 2017 Top 10 models and Top 42 brands ranking tables below.

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

The Nissan Qashqai now ranks #3 year-to-date in the UK. 

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

According to figures released by SMMT, the UK new car market drops 8.5% in May to 186.265 registrations, as the March pull-forward effect of the Vehicle Excise Duty changes is still making itself felt. The upcoming general election may also have had a dampening effect on sales this month. Private sales are mainly responsible for the sizeable downturn at -14% year-on-year to 76.554 units while fleet sales drop 5.3% to 103.657, accounting for 55.7% of the market, and business sales go against the grain with a 20.1% surge to a still discreet 6.054 units. Ignoring the surrounding depressed climate, alternatively fuelled vehicles gain 46.7% to reach a record 4.4% market share. Year-to-date, thanks to an all-time record March figure, the market is down just 0.6% to a still very dynamic 1.158.357 units. Private sales are down 4.2% but fleet sales are up 2.4% and business sales up 5.3%.

May sales 2001-2017. Source SMMT

The brands ranking is once again completely reshuffled. If last month the three German premium brands were the ones shining, this time Volkswagen climbs to 2nd place overall with a contained 2% drop to 8.4% share vs. 7.4% year-to-date. It’s the second time this year after last February that Volkswagen ranks #2 in the UK. Mercedes gains 7% to rank third with 7.9% share vs. 7.2% so far this year and Audi is down just 1% to 5th and 7.4% vs. 6.4% in 2017 so far. Mercedes and Audi assuredly benefit from solid fleet sales this month. Struggling are Ford down 14% to 11% share vs. 12.2% year-to-date, Vauxhall down 14% to 7.5% and BMW down 17% to 6.8%, albeit securing a higher market share than its year-to-date level of 6.8%. Further down, Skoda (+9%), Seat (+11%) and Volvo (+7%) are the only other manufacturers posting year-on-year increases in the Top 20. Below, Porsche (+25%), MG (+33%), Infiniti (+153%) and Abarth (+21%) make themselves noticed with substantial gains.

Model-wise, the Ford Fiesta remains faithful to the pole position, following the market at 8%. It is followed this month by the VW Golf back up five spots on April but down 5% year-on-year and the Nissan Qashqai improving 6%. The VW Polo (+10%), Vauxhall Astra (+7%) and Mercedes C-Class (+13%) also post year-on-year gains while the Mercedes A-Class remains inside the Top 10 at #10 and stays #9 year-to-date. Following another disappointing performance (-17%), the Vauxhall Corsa drops two spots year-to-date to #5, allowing the Nissan Qashqai to lift its ranking to #3 – if maintained until the end of the year this would be an all-time record – and the VW Golf to #4.

Previous month: UK April 2017: Qashqai teases Fiesta, two Mercedes in Top 4 in market down 20%

One year ago: UK May 2016: Brexit uncertainty cools market growth to +2.5%

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

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

The Nissan Qashqai is only 527 units off the overall top spot this month. 

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

After an all-time record month in March when registrations were pulled forward ahead of Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) changes put in place on April 1, the UK market logically feels the pain in April: down a harsh 20% year-on-year to 152.076 units, the lowest April figure since 2012. Private sales are hit the hardest at -28% to 59.912 while business sales are down 21% to 5.486 and fleet sales down just 12% to 86.678 or 57% of the overall market vs. 52.2% a year ago and 49.9% year-to-date. At 972.092 units, the year-to-date tally remains above its level of a year ago by just 1.1%, reaching a new record.  Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, predicts demand will stabilise over the year as the turbulence created by these tax changes decreases.

2001-2017 April scores. Source SMMT 

The strength of fleet sales this month is reflected both in the brands and the models ranking, both vigorously reshuffled. The traditional market leader, Ford, drops 31% and is followed this time by the three premium brands in exceptional shape. Mercedes is up 10% to 2nd place overall with 8.8% share, its highest ranking and share in the UK ever. Audi drops 4% but frankly outsells Volkswagen down 41% to a paltry 6th place. Finally BMW is up 3% to rank 4th above Vauxhall (-33%). Other brands ignoring this month’s gloomy context are Hyundai (-3%), Kia (-8%) and Skoda (-9%) in the Top 10, Seat (+12%), Smart (+7%) and Ssangyong (+10%) below.

The Mercedes A-Class shoots up to #4 overall this month. 

The models ranking also gets a strong facelift. The Ford Fiesta remains in the lead but drops 37% year-on-year and has the Nissan Qashqai (-1%) only 527 units below. The Mercedes C-Class (+5%) shoots up 7 spots on last month to land on the third step of the podium while the Mercedes A-Class surges to a record 4th place thanks to 3.608 sales, making it two Mercedes in the Top 4 for the first time in UK history. The Audi A3 down just 5% to #8 and the BMW 1 Series up to #10 complete a fleet-biased Top 10. Almost all the traditional strong sellers take a bigger hit than the market itself: the Ford Focus is down 38%, the VW Golf down 43%, the VW Polo down 31% and the Vauxhall Corsa down 39%. Only the Vauxhall Astra is in line with the market at -19%.

Previous month: UK March 2017: Upcoming tax change triggers all-time record month

One year ago: UK April 2016: Volkswagen above Vauxhall, Kia Sportage in Top 10 again

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

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

The Ford Kuga breaks into the UK Top 10 for the third time only. 

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

The February 2017 post has now been corrected with accurate model year-on-year behaviours.

With September, March is traditionally an extremely strong month for UK new car sales as it corresponds to the biannual license plate change, but this year a combination of events has allowed all-time records to be broken. The main element is a recalibration of the Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) taking place on April 1 and applied to vehicles purchased from that date forward. The changes include the end of a VED exemption for ultra-low emission vehicles. As a result, many purchases were brought forward to March in order to still benefit from the old regime and new car sales in the UK in March are up 8.4% year-on-year to 562.337, breaking a 20 year-old all-time monthly record established back in August 1997 at 525.897, this according to SMMT. This means the Q1 2017 tally stands at 820.016, up 6.2% on the same period in 2016 and here too a record.

2001-2017 March scores – Source: SMMT

All categories of buyers see sales increase yet, logically, it’s fleet and business sales that lead the charge as they can include bulk purchases that would benefit the most from a purchase pull forward. Fleet sales are up 12.6% to 46.6% share vs. 44.9% a year ago, business sales up 11.9% to 4.7% share vs. 4.6% in March 2016 and private sales up 4.4% to 48.7% share vs. 50.5% a year ago. This exceptionally high March sales figure has Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, saying: “We will see a slowdown in April, exacerbated by the fact there are fewer selling days this year given Easter timing”. The SMMT still predicts a slight sales decline over the FY2017 due to broader political uncertainties linked to Brexit.

This peculiar situation makes for some fascinating changes in the brands and models ranking. Ford more than doubles the market growth at +19% to 71.837 units and 12.8% share, similar to the share it holds so far in 2017 (12.7%). Local producer Nissan (+30%), Mercedes (+18%), Toyota (+14%) and Land Rover (+24%) also post double-digit gains inside the Top 10 but interestingly Vauxhall (-10%) and Peugeot (-5%) are the only brands to lose ground among the 10 best-sellers this month, potentially the reflection of the purchase of Opel/Vauxhall by PSA-Peugeot Citroen triggering some hesitation with buyers. Further down the ranking, Kia (+16%), Seat (+29%), Volvo (+30%), Jaguar (+69%) and Infiniti (+151%) are among the biggest gainers in market.

Illustrating its strength this month, Ford places two nameplates atop the models ranking for the first time this year with the Fiesta up 8% followed by the Focus up 22%. The Vauxhall Corsa is back up 6 spots on February to #3 despite a 8% drop, ahead of the Nissan Qashqai (+21%) and Vauxhall Astra (+17%) while the VW Golf is struggling at -17% and down four spots on last month to #6. The Mini is up 12% to 10.003 units, the Ford Kuga makes its third ever appearance within the UK Top 10 after August 2015 (#10) and 2016 (#9) in 9th position with a record 9.561 sales, and the Mercedes C-Class also maintains itself within the country’s 10 best-sellers this month at #10.

Previous month: UK February 2017: Golf pushes Volkswagen to #2 YTD, stable market

One year ago: UK March 2016: First half-million sales month this century

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

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

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The UK new car market continues to defy the Brexit odds with a stable February score at -0.3% year-on-year to 83.115 units. This leads to a year-to-date tally of 257.679 units, still up 1.8% on the record pace established in 2016. Once again fleet sales stir the market up at -3.3% to 45.699 whereas private sales are down 4.4% to 36.018 and business sales down 5.3% to 1.398. Diesel is down 5.9% to 115.759, petrol up 7.9% to 131.333 ad alternative fuel vehicles up 27.7% to a still reserved 10.587 units and 4.1% share vs. 3.3% a year ago.

Source: SMMT

Brand-wise, Ford still reigns supreme in spite of a 14% drop to 9.909 units and 11.9% share vs. 12.7% year-to-date. Volkswagen climbs back up to 2nd place thanks to deliveries up 9% to 7.236 and 8.8%, in the meantime overtaking Vauxhall (-20%) both this month and, historically, year-to-date at 20.293 sales vs. 20.169. Mercedes (+17%) drops to spots on a freak January score to #5, Kia (+12%), Skoda (+12%), Toyota (+25%) and Hyundai (+12%) all fare very well inside the Top 12 while below, let’s notice Mini (+19%), Suzuki (+26%), Land Rover (+39%) and Infiniti (+337%) pushing forward whereas Mazda (-18%), Fiat (+26%), Citroen (-30%), Mitsubishi (-50%) and DS (-54%) all crumble apart.

The Ford Fiesta is down 5% but stays Nb.1 in the UK. 

Model-wise, the Ford Fiesta remains the best-seller in the country despite a 5% year-on-year drop to 4.282 units. It distances the VW Golf lodging another outstanding score at +15% to 2.949 and the Vauxhall Astra doing even better at +33% to 2.170 registrations. The Ford Focus (-17%), Nissan Qashqai (-26%) and Vauxhall Corsa (-43%)  all struggle year-on-year but the Mercedes C-Class is up to #6 and the BMW 3 Series is back inside the Top 10 for the first time since last October.

Previous month: UK January 2017: Mercedes C-Class soars 40% to record 4th place

One year ago: UK February 2016: Kia Sportage breaks into Top 10 for the first time

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

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

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Against all expectations given widespread price rises due to Brexit, the UK new car market starts 2017 in positive with 2.9% year-on-year gain to 174.564 registrations. Even more surprising: private sales lead the growth at +5% to 76.729 and 44% share vs. 43.1% a year ago, fleet sales are up just 1.4% to 91.181 and 52.2% share vs. 53% in January 2016 and business registrations are down 1% to 6.654. Leader Ford trails the market but still improves at +3% to 22.778 sales, ahead of Vauxhall struggling at -9% to 13.870 and Mercedes snapping at its heels at 13.048 (+11%). Volkswagen is also catching up at +8% to 12.967. Further down, Kia has a stunning month, slicing its December ranking in two to #8 with deliveries up 51% year-on-year to 7.661. Land Rover (+18%), Jaguar (+20%), Seat (+24%), Bentley (+36%), Suzuki (+60%), Maserati (+101%) and Aston Martin (+174%) stand out with impressive gains, whereas Peugeot (-19%), Lexus (-20%), Citroen (-29%), Mazda (-34%), MG (-35%) and DS (-39%) all fall flat.

UK January registrations – 2001 to 2017:

Model-wise, the Ford Fiesta holds onto the top spot with a 2% gain ahead of the VW Golf surging 43% and the Ford Focus up 12%. Exceptional performance from the Mercedes C-Class up to a highest-ever 4th place overall thanks to deliveries up 40% on a year ago to 4.230 units. The C-Class’s previous UK best was #6 over four years ago, back in September 2012. The Nissan Juke (+14%) is up two spots on December to #6, enjoying a second consecutive month above its stablemate the Qashqai (#8) and its best monthly ranking since January 2016 when it was also #6 – its personal best still standing at #5 back in October 2014. Finally, at #10 the Kia Sportage is back inside the Top 10 for the 5th time in the past 12 months after last February (#9), April (#9)August (#8) and October (#10), now looking to become a constant fixture among UK’s favourites.

Previous post (1): UK Full Year 2016: Discover the Top 150 models (BSCB Exclusive)

Previous post (2): UK Full Year 2016: Second annual record in a row despite Brexit

Previous month: UK December 2016: Astra and C-Class shine in market down 1%

One year ago: UK January 2016: Nissan Qashqai surges to record-breaking 2nd place

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

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UK: Nameplates Records now updated with 2016 data

The Ford Cortina sold 193,784 units in 1979, a volume record for the UK

* 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 volume delivered 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 record 4th place, the highest annual ranking ever reached 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 73,880 units hit in 2014, while its highest ranking is a record-equalling 4th position reached in 2011.

Nissan Micra

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 16 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 #23. Note the BMW 3 Series at #7 thanks to a peak of 65,489 units in 2003.

Nissan Qashqai UK 2015Nissan Qashqai

In 2015 the Nissan Qashqai becomes the first Japanese model to break into the annual UK Top 5, and also breaks the annual volume record for a Nippon model (60,814) previously held by the Nissan Micra since 1989 (54,175). It breaks this record again in 2016 to lift it to 62.682, while remaining at an all-time high 5th place. Interestingly, the Micra never managed to break into the year-end Top 10, a feat that 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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