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2008 Full Year Best-Selling Car Manufacturers in Britain

by Henk Bekker

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New passenger vehicle registration statistics in the UK show the car market falling by 11% in 2008. Ford, Vauxhall, Volkswagen, and Peugeot were the best-selling car brands in Britain.


2008 was a very weak year for the motor industry in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK). Statistics released by the SMMT on new car registrations in the UK in 2008 showed the overall passenger car market declining by 11.2% to only 2,131,795 vehicles – the worst showing since 1996.

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Ford, Vauxhall, Volkswagen (VW), and Peugeot confirmed their positions as the best-selling car manufacturers in Britain but virtually all other car brands saw a fall in the number of passenger vehicles sold in the UK in 2008.

The Top Selling Car Marques/Brands in the UK, 2008

The top 30 motor-car manufacturers in Great Britain in 2008 according to new passenger vehicle registration statistics released by the SMMT were:

  1. Ford … 322,514 … 15.13 … -7.58
  2. Vauxhall … 298,912 … 14.02 … -9.78
  3. Volkswagen … 179,189 … 8.41 … -9.05
  4. Peugeot … 118,701 … 5.57 … -18.75
  5. BMW … 113,132 … 5.31 … -6.94
  6. Toyota … 105,717 … 4.96 … -10.78
  7. Audi … 100,845 … 4.73 … -0.02
  8. Renault … 89,570 … 4.20 … -29.37
  9. Honda … 83,805 … 3.93 … -20.95
  10. Citroen … 81,237 … 3.81 … -16.89
  11. Mercedes-Benz … 74,883 … 3.51 … -9.04
  12. Nissan … 66,336 … 3.11 … -0.14
  13. Fiat … 55,325 … 2.60 … -6.87
  14. Mazda … 49,858 … 2.34 … -2.14
  15. MINI … 40,736 … 1.91 … -14.53
  16. Skoda … 37,100 … 1.74 … -7.03
  17. Volvo … 33,358 … 1.56 … +10.98
  18. Land Rover … 32,567 … 1.53 … -30.04
  19. Kia … 31,324 … 1.47 … +6.65
  20. SEAT … 29,397 … 1.38 … -15.50
  21. Hyundai … 28,036 … 1.32 … -5.81
  22. Suzuki … 26,095 … 1.22 … -20.59
  23. Jaguar … 20,346 … 0.95 … +8.73
  24. Chevrolet … 18,372 … 0.86 … +0.09
  25. Saab … 16,074 … 0.75 … -32.01
  26. Mitsubishi … 15,552 … 0.73 … -18.35
  27. Lexus … 10,122 … 0.47 … -33.05
  28. Smart … 7,526 … 0.35 … +43.30
  29. Alfa Romeo … 5,950 … 0.28 … -19.10
  30. Porsche … 5,918 … 0.28 … -30.65

The British Car Market in 2008

The top four best selling car manufacturers in Britain in 2008 retained their positions from 2007 with the top three seeing an increase in market share. Of the top ten manufacturers, Renault was the biggest looser moving down from fifth to eighth place with sales declining by almost 30%. Honda dropped down one place with sales down 21%.

BMW, Toyota, and Audi improved their overall rankings but all saw a decline in overall unit sales. However, of the major manufacturers Audi did particularly well to register a decline of only 0.02% (19 cars) for the year 2008.

Of the top 30 car manufacturers, five brands actually managed to sell more cars in Britain in 2008 than in 2007. Smart (owned by Mercedes Benz) saw an increase in sales of over 43%, Kia improved by almost 7%, while Chevrolet (selling mostly small Korean-sourced cars in the UK) improved sales by 0.09%. More surprising was the increase in cars sold by more luxury manufacturers Jaguar (up 9%) and Volvo (up 11%).

For the eighth consecutive year, the Ford Focus headed the list of top ten best-selling cars in Britain in 2008.

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