RAC Cars News


Ford Fiesta retains the top spot in the UK

By raccars Published

Ford Fiesta

Last month showed a return to stability for new car sales in the UK.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has for some time been predicting that new car sales in the UK would slow to attain a more stable and sustainable level and it appears that is exactly what happened in July. Sales were up but only by a fraction to 178,523 units.

Nonetheless, this confirms that new car sales are still up year on year, as sales were 2.8 per cent lower in July last year. So far this year total new car sales stand at about 1.6 million units.

Fleet sales higher than private sales

Private sales are slower than fleet sales again; 51.1 per cent of new sales were to fleet buyers, 45.1 per cent were private sales and 3.8 per cent went to business buyers. 'Dieselgate' will no doubt be held responsible for a small decrease in diesel car sales, down 1.1 per cent year on year despite an increase of 1.9 per cent to more than 150,000 units for 2016 to date. Petrol sales barely moved in either direction compared to July last year - 14 additional units made their way out of showrooms this July - but have increased 2.7 per cent over 2016 as a whole.

Alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) continue an apparently unstoppable march into the mainstream with sales rising by more than 1,000 units this July compared to the same month last year. However AFVs still only claim a 2.4 per cent market share with 51,394 units registered so far in 2016.

The Ford Fiesta continues its lead

The Ford Fiesta retains its large margin as the UK's best-selling model, with 7,990 unit sales in July and 71,823 for the year to date. The Vauxhall Corsa is in second place but some way behind with 47,962 unit sales, with the Ford Focus taking third place on 43,626 unit sales.

The Focus is followed by the VW Golf, then the Nissan Qashqai in fifth, the Vauxhall Astra sixth, the VW Polo seventh, the Mini eighth, the Vauxhall Mokka ninth and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class in tenth place for a fairly familiar looking top ten best sellers list.

Manufacturer ups and downs

Citroen is continuing to suffer a loss of traction with its market share down by 21.56 per cent year on year, while Mitsubishi, SsangYong and Fiat all saw their market shares fall by about 25 per cent and Porsche lost about 45 per cent of its market share compared to July 2015. However over the year to date Porsche has enjoyed a good 2016 so that overall its market share for the year is only down by 0.28 per cent, and similarly Fiat's 1.44 per cent loss in market share for the year to date comes thanks to a healthier performance earlier in the year.

The picture is pretty grim for Renault, losing 31 per cent of its market share compared to the same month last year, but overall sales have grown by 14 per cent in 2016 to give the French firm a 3 per cent market share. Lotus, however, was July's worst performer, with only one unit sale to its name last month after selling 39 cars in July last year. Lotus sales for the year to date stand at 141 units.

On the whole smaller volume manufacturers showed the most growth in July, particularly Infiniti, where sales were up by an amazing 191 per cent year on year to give it a 0.22 per cent market share. Mercedes-Benz grew 15 per cent year on year and 18 per cent for 2016 to date for a 6.27 per cent market share. It has sold more than 100,000 cars this year after holding only a 5.46 per cent market share in July 2015.

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