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)
  2012201220112011% Change
 Total1,620,609 Share1,553,094 Share4.35
16Land Rover38,8472.4028,6841.8535.43
26Alfa Romeo6,1150.389,4800.61-35.50

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 ModelSales
1Ford Fiesta88,747
2Vauxhall Corsa72,475
3Ford Focus64,521
4Volkswagen Golf50,142
5Vauxhall Astra47,125
6Nissan Qashqai35,865
7BMW 3 Series34,340
8Volkswagen Polo33,987
9Mercedes C Class29,772
10Fiat 50026,480

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.

About the author:

Henk Bekker

Henk Bekker is a freelance writer with over 20 years of experience in online writing. His best-selling cars website has been reporting car sales statistics since 2008 with classic car auction prices focusing on the most expensive automobiles sold at public auctions in the past decade. He also owns the travel websites European-Traveler.com and Lake Geneva Switzerland. Henk holds an MBA from Edinburgh Business School and an MSc in Finance from the University of London.