2013 (Q1) Britain: Best-Selling Car Makes and Models in the UK

Top-selling car marques in the UK at the start of 2013 remain Ford, Vauxhall, and Volkswagen. The Fiesta was again Britain’s favorite car model.

Ford Fiesta ST at the 2013 Geneva Auto Salon

The British car market continues to expand during the first three months of 2013. Ford remains the strongest car manufacturer in the UK while Vauxhall show some signs of recovery in second place. The Ford Fiesta was again Britain’s favorite car while the Ford Focus took second place from the Vauxhall Corsa.

The British New Car Market in 2013 (Q1)

In contrast to other major European car markets, new passenger vehicle registrations increased in the UK from January to March 2013. British car sales during the first quarter of 2013 increased by 7.4% to 605,198 new car registrations – over 40,000 more cars than the corresponding quarter in 2012.

The SMMT predicts that the total British car market will just exceed 2 million new passenger vehicle registrations for the full year 2013.

Best-Selling Car Makes in Britain in 2013 (Q1)

The top-selling car brands in the United Kingdom (UK) according to car sales statistics released by the SMMT were:

MARQUE Sales Q1/2013 % Share Q1/2013 % Change Sales Q1/2012 % Share Q1/2012
  Total 605,198   7.39 563,556  
1 Ford 84,347 13.94 1.81 82,848 14.70
2 Vauxhall 69,227 11.44 19.70 57,836 10.26
3 Volkswagen 49,260 8.14 -1.23 49,873 8.85
4 Audi 38,262 6.32 6.40 35,962 6.38
5 Nissan 33,931 5.61 12.80 30,081 5.34
6 BMW 31,322 5.18 4.19 30,063 5.33
7 Peugeot 31,260 5.17 6.29 29,411 5.22
8 Mercedes-Benz 29,002 4.79 13.40 25,576 4.54
9 Toyota 26,065 4.31 1.18 25,760 4.57
10 Citroen 22,187 3.67 13.29 19,585 3.48
11 Hyundai 19,986 3.30 12.53 17,761 3.15
12 Kia 19,204 3.17 11.58 17,211 3.05
13 Land Rover 18,765 3.10 18.69 15,810 2.81
14 Honda 18,144 3.00 23.04 14,747 2.62
15 Skoda 15,504 2.56 11.72 13,878 2.46
16 Fiat 14,877 2.46 13.92 13,059 2.32
17 MINI 11,934 1.97 5.55 11,306 2.01
18 SEAT 10,457 1.73 3.70 10,084 1.79
19 Suzuki 9,956 1.65 29.11 7,711 1.37
20 Renault 9,806 1.62 -15.33 11,581 2.05

Best-Selling Car Brands in Britain in 2013 (Q1)

There were no position changes at the top of the list of the twenty best-selling car brands in the UK during the first quarter of 2013. Ford easily maintained its top position but underperformed the overall market and lost market share despite higher units sales.

Second place Vauxhall experienced a surge in strong contrast to the continued woes of Opel on most European markets. Selling almost a fifth more cars from January to March 2013 compared to last year, Vauxhall gained over a percentage point in market share.

Third place Volkswagen saw weaker sales in a growing market bringing to a halt the strong growth Germany (and Europe’s) largest car marque has enjoyed in recent years. VW-owned Audi also underperformed the market.

Nissan enjoyed some solid growth while BMW and Peugeot both underperformed the market but without a loss in relative positions. Positive growth is not something French Peugeot had enjoyed in its home market for a while.

Strong growth allowed Mercedes-Benz to snap seventh place from Toyota, which had flat sales. Citroen also had solid growth to maintain its tenth place.

The South Korean duo of Kia and Hyundai continue to perform well and gained market share in the British car market in 2013. Land Rover, Honda, Skoda, and Fiat all outperformed the market to maintain their relative sales ranks.

Mini and Seat both gained a rank position despite underperforming the market. Renault, which continue to decline and had the worst performance of any major car company in the UK at the start of 2013, saw sales down another 15% and slipping from 17th to twentieth.

In stark contrast, sales of Suzuki were up almost a third allowing the Japanese company to enter the top-twenty list at nineteenth position, at the expense of Mazda, which had a weak start to 2013 and dropped out of the list.

Best-Selling Car Models in Britain in 2013 (Q1)

The top-selling car models in the UK during the first quarter of 2013 according to SMMT statistics were:

Position Make & Model Sales Q1/2013
1 Ford Fiesta 34,309
2 Ford Focus 25,081
3 Vauxhall Corsa 24,561
4 Vauxhall Astra 17,202
5 Volkswagen Golf 15,726
6 Nissan Qashqai 14,601
7 Volkswagen Polo 11,753
8 Peugeot 208 11,108
9 Mercedes C-Class 10,301
10 Nissan Juke 10,010
Source: SMMT

Changes in the Top-Ten List of Best-Selling Car Models in the UK

Compared to full year 2012, the Ford Fiesta remains Britain’s favorite car model while the Ford Focus regained second place from the Vauxhall Corsa, which slipped to third.

The Vauxhall Astra maintained fourth place ahead of the Volkswagen Golf that may benefit from a model change at the beginning of 2013. The Nissan Qashqai maintained its sixth place.

The VW Polo gained a place from the BMW 3-Series, which had dropped out of the list. The new Peugeot 208 entered the list at 8th place ahead of the Mercedes C-Class, which maintained its ninth position. The Nissan Juke is a new entrant at the expense of the BMW 1-Series.

March 2013 saw the 13th consecutive month of year-on-year increases in new car sales in Great Britain. The British car market is now easily the second biggest in Europe – ahead of the shrinking French market and not that far behind the similarly struggling German auto market.