2014 (Q1) Britain: Best-Selling Car Brands and Models

Car sales increased by 14% in the UK during the first quarter of 2014. Ford remained the leading brand with the Fiesta still Britain’s favorite car model.

Ford Vignale at Geneva Auto Salon 2014

The British car market expanded for the 25th consecutive month in March 2014 with new passenger vehicle registrations up 13.7% for the first three months of the year. March 2014 saw the highest car sales in Britain for a decade. Ford and Vauxhall remained the market leaders despite slightly underperforming the broader car market. The Ford Fiesta, Ford Focus and Vauxhall Corsa were again the top-selling car models in the UK during the first quarter of 2014. White is the top car color choice of the British.

The British Car Market in 2014 (Q1)

The British car market continues to be the driving force in the growth in car sales in Europe with a 13.7% increase during the first three months of 2014. Total new passenger vehicle registrations for the first quarter of 2014 came to 688,122 cars.

March is traditionally the most important month for the British car industry with up to a fifth of total annual sales occurring in the third month of the year. Two-thirds of car sales thus far in 2014 were in March. (British car registration number plates change in March and September each year.)

March 2014 was the 25th consecutive month of year-on-year expansion for car sales in the United Kingdom. It was also the second highest volume month since the current system was introduced in 1999 with only March 2004 selling around two thousand cars more than this year.

White was the most popular car color in Britain in March 2014. The top four color choices for the British car buyers were: white (22.4%), black (19.1%), grey (13.6%) and silver (13.2%). (In Germany, the order is black, grey, white and blue but the Germans count silver and grey together.)

Best-Selling Car Brands in the UK in 2014 (Q1)

The top-30 best-selling car marques during the first quarter of 2014 in Britain according to car registration numbers released by the SMMT were:

MARQUEQ1 / 2014% Market shareQ1 / 2013% Market share% Change
17Land Rover17’0982.4818’7653.10-8.88
29Alfa Romeo1’5760.231’4860.256.06

Best-Selling Car Makes in Britain in 2014 (Q1)

There were no changes in the top four car manufacturers in Britain this year compared to the first three months of 2013. Top carmakers Ford and Vauxhall both lost some market share even though Ford sold more than ten thousands car more than in the came quarter last year.

Volkswagen and Audi regained some market share following several quarters of underperforming the British car market. BMW saw sales increase by more than a fifth to claim fifth place from Nissan.

Mercedes-Benz similarly passed Peugeot, which underperformed like Toyota and Citroen but maintaining their positions on the top-ten list of best-selling car brands in the UK at the start of 2014.

Other salient features of the best-selling car brands in Britain statistics for the first quarter of 2014:

Only five car companies saw a decline in car sale numbers including Mini and Smart, which are replacing their main models this year, as well as Chevrolet, which is withdrawing from the European car market.

After months of spectacular increases, Land Rover sales slipped by 9% with Land Rover down from 13th to 17th.

Dacia was the most improved brand but the statistics are skewed by Dacia’s entry into the British market only during 2013. More significantly is the improvement in Renault’s fortunes – after years of sliding sales in the UK, Renault sales increased by 80% and up to 16th place from 20 th a year ago.

Sales of VW-owned Porsche, Seat, and Skoda increased more than double those of Volkswagen and Audi.

Top-Selling Car Models in the UK in 2014 (Q1)

The top-ten most popular car models in Britain during the first quarter of 2014 according to the SMMT were:

Car Make & Model Car Sales Q1 / 2014
1Ford Fiesta 39’240
2Ford Focus 24’759
3Vauxhall Corsa 23’839
4VW Golf 19’160
5Vauxhall Astra 17’465
6VW Polo 13’631
7Nissan Qashqai 12’937
8Fiat 500 11’685
9Audi A3 11’583
10BMW 3 Series 11’027

The top three most popular cars in Britain during the first quarter of 2014 were the same as a year ago. Ford sold almost 5,000 more Fiestas during the first three months of 2014 compared to 2013 but Focus and Corsa sales were down a few hundred cars each. Corsa sales will be influenced by a model update towards the end of the year.

The VW Golf moved ahead of the Vauxhall Astra and the VW Polo overtook the Nissan Qashqai. The Polo should benefit from a facelift in the second quarter while the newly launched Qashqai could also lead to an improvement in sales.

The Fiat 500, Audi A3 and BMW 3-Series are all new on the list in place of last year’s best sellers: the Peugeot 208, Mercedes C Class and Nissan Juke.

The importance of March for the British car industry is hard to overemphasize: two-thirds of more of all car sales happened in the third month of the year. In March 2014 alone, Ford sold nearly 26,000 Fiestas – more than the total for any other car model for the first three months of the year combined.

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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.