Best-Selling Cars

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2016 (Full Year) Britain: Best-Selling Car Manufacturers and Brands

by Henk Bekker

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Ford, Vauxhall and Volkswagen were the top-selling car brands in the UK in 2016. Car sales in Britain set a new record high for a calendar year increasing by 2.5% to 2,692,786 new passenger vehicle registrations. German premium brands BMW, Audi and Mercedes Benz gained market share at the expense of the larger mass-market brands.

The British Car Market in 2016 (Full Year)

New passenger vehicle registrations in the UK in 2016 were a record high 2,692,786 cars – an increase of 2.25% from last year, which was the previous record.

The increase in car sales in Britain is attributed to a growing economy, easy credit and creative financing options, as well as interesting new models. The British new car market is highly competitive with well over 400 models on offer. A further 70 car launches are planned for 2017.

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However, the outlook for 2017 is less positive with a small contraction expected by many analysts. Political uncertainty due to Brexit and potential price increases due to weakness of the pound may influence the market negatively.

British Car Sales per Year

Annual Car Sales in the UK
Annual New Car Registrations in the UK (2000-2016) © SMMT

New passenger vehicle registrations in Britain were as follows in recent years:

Year

UK Car Sales

% Change

2016

2,692,786

2.25

2015

2,633,503

6.3

2014

2,476,435

9.4

2013

2,264,737

11

2012

2,044,609

5.3

2011

1,941,253

-4.4

2010

2,030,846

1.8

2009

1,994,999

-6.4

2008

2,131,795

-11

2007

2,404,007

Best-Selling Car Marques in the UK in 2016 (Full Year)

The top-selling car brands in Britain in 2016 according to car sales statistics released by the SMMT were as follows:

Brand

Cars Sold in 2016

% Market Share 2016

Cars Sold 2015

% Change

Total UK Sales

2,692,786

2,633,503

2.25

1

Ford

318,316

11.82

335,267

-5.06

2

Vauxhall

250,955

9.32

269,766

-6.97

3

Volkswagen

207,028

7.69

223,784

-7.49

4

BMW

182,593

6.78

167,391

9.08

5

Audi

177,304

6.58

166,709

6.36

6

Mercedes-Benz

169,828

6.31

145,254

16.92

7

Nissan

152,525

5.66

153,937

-0.92

8

Peugeot

98,529

3.66

104,249

-5.49

9

Toyota

96,746

3.59

98,709

-1.99

10

Hyundai

92,419

3.43

88,117

4.88

11

Kia

89,364

3.32

78,489

13.86

12

Renault

85,102

3.16

75,618

12.54

13

Skoda

80,372

2.98

74,692

7.6

14

Land Rover

79,534

2.95

66,574

19.47

15

MINI

68,984

2.56

63,581

8.5

16

Citroen*

62,991

2.34

80,012

-21.27

17

Fiat

60,581

2.25

64,257

-5.72

18

Honda

59,106

2.19

53,417

10.65

19

SEAT

47,456

1.76

47,654

-0.42

20

Volvo

46,696

1.73

43,432

7.52

21

Mazda

46,609

1.73

45,504

2.43

22

Suzuki

38,167

1.42

34,437

10.83

23

Jaguar

34,822

1.29

23,954

45.37

24

Dacia

26,499

0.98

26,228

1.03

25

Mitsubishi

18,237

0.68

22,693

-19.64

26

DS*

15,898

0.59

8,614

84.56

27

Jeep

14,090

0.52

10,794

30.54

28

Lexus

13,915

0.52

13,269

4.87

29

Porsche

13,097

0.49

12,167

7.64

30

smart

12,020

0.45

8,455

42.16

31

Alfa Romeo

4,881

0.18

5,069

-3.71

32

Ssangyong

4,444

0.17

3,344

32.89

33

MG

4,192

0.16

3,152

32.99

34

Abarth

3,966

0.15

2,743

44.59

35

Subaru

3,612

0.13

3,455

4.54

36

Infiniti

2,891

0.11

1,195

141.92

37

Bentley

1,948

0.07

1,379

41.26

38

Maserati

1,435

0.05

1,434

0.07

39

Aston Martin

906

0.03

949

-4.53

40

Lotus

339

0.01

375

-9.6

41

McLaren

18

0

NA

0

* Citroen and DS figures were combined under Citroen until May 2015.
Exclude “others”

Top Ten Best-Selling Car Brands in Britain in 2016

There were no changes in the top ten best-selling car marques in Britain in 2016 compared to 2015 with the only rank order change a swap of positions for Mercedes Benz and Nissan. However, the brands had markedly different performances.

The top three best-selling car brands in the UK in 2016 remained Ford, Vauxhall and Volkswagen but all three had much weaker sales than a year ago and lost market share in an expanding market. Ford sales were down 5%, Vauxhall down 7% and VW down 7.5%. Each of these top-selling brands lost around 2% market share in the last five years.

The sales of so-called premium brands were much stronger: BMW and Audi maintained their fourth and fifth positions from a year ago and Mercedes Benz improved from 7th to 6th. All three brands had strong sales increases with Mercedes Benz selling 17% more cars in Britain in 2016 compared to a year ago – of the top 20 best-selling brands in Britain, only Land Rover performed better.

Nissan and Toyota sales were slightly weaker than a year ago while Peugeot sales in Britain were down by 5.5% in 2016. Hyundai was again the tenth best-selling brand in Britain in 2016 with sales up 5%. A strong performance by Kia saw the second South Korean brand moving up from 12th to 11th.

A few further salient features from the new car sales statistics for Britain in 2016:

The Ford Fiesta remained Britain’s favorite car in 2016 although sales were down for many of the top-ten most popular car models in the UK.

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