2012 (Q3) Britain: Best Selling Car Brands and Models

Ford, Vauxhall, and Volkswagen were the most popular car brands in the UK for the first nine months of 2012. The Ford Fiesta was the top-selling car model.

Ford Fiesta
© Ford Wieck

During the first three quarters of 2012, Ford increased its share of the British car market. Vauxhall remained the second strongest car brand in the UK followed by Volkswagen, Audi, and BMW. The Ford Fiesta was again Britain’s favorite car model followed by the Vauxhall Corsa and Ford Focus.

In contrast to most major European markets, the British car market expanded during the first nine months of 2012. New passenger vehicle registrations for January to September 2012 totaled 1,620,609 cars, an increase of 4.35% over the same period in 2011. Third-quarter sales, which were very weak in France and Germany, saw a solid 7.5% increase in car sales in the UK.

Top 30 Best-Selling Car Brands and Marques in Britain in 2012 (Q3)

Car sales statistics released by the SMMT showed the following 30 carmakers to have been the most popular car brands and marques in the UK for the first three quarters of 2012:

Car Sales January to September (Q1-3)
    2012 2012 2011 2011 % Change
  Total 1,620,609  Share 1,553,094  Share 4.35
1 Ford 224,369 13.84 214,628 13.82 4.54
2 Vauxhall 179,698 11.09 188,113 12.11 -4.47
3 Volkswagen 146,720 9.05 143,459 9.24 2.27
4 Audi 101,390 6.26 92,324 5.94 9.82
5 BMW 97,692 6.03 90,727 5.84 7.68
6 Nissan 84,519 5.22 77,184 4.97 9.50
7 Peugeot 81,145 5.01 77,900 5.02 4.17
8 Mercedes-Benz 73,401 4.53 65,071 4.19 12.80
9 Toyota 68,889 4.25 58,118 3.74 18.53
10 Citroen 58,398 3.60 54,967 3.54 6.24
11 Hyundai 56,119 3.46 49,091 3.16 14.32
12 Kia 52,899 3.26 43,253 2.78 22.30
13 Honda 44,144 2.72 39,564 2.55 11.58
14 Skoda 41,522 2.56 36,297 2.34 14.40
15 Fiat 39,780 2.45 34,192 2.20 16.34
16 Land Rover 38,847 2.40 28,684 1.85 35.43
17 MINI 38,136 2.35 38,147 2.46 -0.03
18 SEAT 30,443 1.88 28,862 1.86 5.48
19 Renault 30,369 1.87 53,341 3.43 -43.07
20 Volvo 24,250 1.50 26,115 1.68 -7.14
21 Mazda 22,713 1.40 27,070 1.74 -16.10
22 Suzuki 20,964 1.29 16,951 1.09 23.67
23 Chevrolet 11,692 0.72 10,073 0.65 16.07
24 Jaguar 11,139 0.69 11,337 0.73 -1.75
25 Lexus 7,067 0.44 6,162 0.40 14.69
26 Alfa Romeo 6,115 0.38 9,480 0.61 -35.50
27 Porsche 5,958 0.37 4,596 0.30 29.63
28 Mitsubishi 4,957 0.31 8,383 0.54 -40.87
29 smart 4,039 0.25 4,029 0.26 0.25
30 Chrysler 2,932 0.18 798 0.05 267.42

Most Popular Car Brands in the UK in 2012 (Q3)

Ford remains the strongest selling car brand in the UK during the first nine months of 2012 and increased market share slightly. In contrast, second-place Vauxhall saw sales slip while third place Volkswagen underperformed the market. Of the top 15 car brands in Britain, only Vauxhall failed to increase sales during the first three quarters of 2012.

German premium car brand manufacturers Audi, BMW, and Mercedes (and Porsche) all saw solid growth during the first nine months of 2012. French manufacturers have been struggling in Europe but Peugeot and Citroen had positive growth in the UK during the first nine months of 2012 while Renault continued to perform disastrously.

Nissan and Toyota, as most other Japanese carmakers, are recovering from supply problems in 2011 and regaining market share in Britain. South Korean carmakers Hyundai and Kia both had solid growth and hover just outside the top ten.

Top Ten Best-Selling Car Models in Britain in 2012 (Q3)

The ten most popular cars in the UK between January and September 2012 according to the SMMT were:

Car Make and Model Sales
1 Ford Fiesta 88,747
2 Vauxhall Corsa 72,475
3 Ford Focus 64,521
4 Volkswagen Golf 50,142
5 Vauxhall Astra 47,125
6 Nissan Qashqai 35,865
7 BMW 3 Series 34,340
8 Volkswagen Polo 33,987
9 Mercedes C Class 29,772
10 Fiat 500 26,480

Compared to full-year 2011, the Ford Fiesta maintained its position as Britain’s favorite car model while the Corsa and Focus swapped places. The VW Golf, Germany’s favorite car, managed to hang onto fourth place – its replacement has just been shown at the Paris motor show – as did the Vauxhall Astra at fifth.

The Vauxhall Insignia, last year’s number six, slipped out of the top ten while the Nissan Qashqai improved from ninth. The VW Polo and BMW 3 Series swapped places while the Mercedes C Class and Fiat 500 are new entries on the top ten list of best-selling cars in the UK. The Mini lost its tenth place from last year.