The British car market grew by 5.1% during the first quarter of 2016. Ford and the Fiesta were the top-selling car brand and model. Although Ford, Vauxhall and Volkswagen remained the strongest carmakers in the UK, most of the gains accrued to smaller marques. March 2016 set new records for car sales in Britain with more than half a million cars sold for only the third time in British automobile history.
The British Car Market in 2016 (Q1)
New passenger vehicle registrations in the UK increased by 5.1% during the first three quarters of 2016 to a new record 771,780 cars. The British car market has expanded for 49 of the last 50 months.
March is traditionally the most important month for new car registrations in the UK. In March 2016, a new record 518,707 cars were registered in Britain for the first time. This was the highest monthly figure since the current registration system was introduced in 1999 and only the third month ever for British car sales to have been more than half a million cars in a single month.
Best-Selling Car Marques in Britain in 2016 (Q1)
The top-selling car brands in the UK during the first three months of 2016 according to car sales statistics published by the SMMT were:
|MARQUE||Q1/2016||Q1/2015||% Share||% Change|
|12||Land Rover||Land Rover||24,118||20,605||3.12||17.1|
Top-Selling Car Brand in the UK in 2016 (Q1)
Although new record sales were set in the British car market during the first quarter of 2016, half of the top-ten best-selling brand had weaker sales with a further two top marques loosing marking share.
Britain’s top three car brands all had weaker sales at the start of 2016. Ford sales were down by a percentage point, which in an expanding market translated into a 0.75% lost in market share. Vauxhall sales were barely changed from a year ago.
Third place Volkswagen had sales down by nearly 5%, which resulted in a lost in market share of 0.78%.
Nissan sales in Britain were down by 5.2% and a resultant slip from fourth to seventh place as best-selling car marque in Britain during the first quarter of 2016.
As a result, the three German “premium” but clearly not exclusive brands Audi, Mercedes-Benz and BMW each moved up one rank position. Audi sales were in line with the broader market while Mercedes-Benz and BMW were sharply up for more than half a percentage point market share gain. Mercedes-Benz narrowed the gap to Audi from 4,600 cars a year ago to only 141 cars this year.
Peugeot remained in eighth place despite weaker sales with Toyota still at ninth with below market average increases. Hyundai became the tenth largest car brand in Britain in the first quarter of 2016, at the expense of Citroen.
A few further salient features from the car sales statistics for Britain for the first quarter of 2016:
- Mitsubishi was the worst performing top 30 brand in Britain and the only marque with double-digit declines.
- Peugeot, Seat, Nissan and Volkswagen were the other sluggards with sales down by around 5%.
- Smart, Jaguar and Jeep were the most-improved brands in Britain during the first quarter of 2016.
- Citroën and DS sales were spilt for the 2016 figures – combined, Citroen would have maintained its tenth place with increases in sales.
- DS entered the top-30 list at 26th at the expense of Alfa Romeo, which had an uncharacteristic 12% increase in sales.
Best-Selling Car Models in Britain in 2016 (Q1)
The ten top-selling car models in Britain during the first quarter of 2016 according to the SMMT were:
|Car Make & Model||Q1/2016||Q1/2015||Q1/2014|
Britain’s Ten Favorite Car Models in 2016 (Q1)
There were only minor changes in the composition and rank order of the ten most-popular car models in Britain during the first quarter of 2016. The British seemed to have fixed habits in car selection, however, with the exception of the VW Polo and Vauxhall Mokka, all other top-ten models had weaker sales than a year ago.
There were no changed in the rank positions of the top five best-selling car models in Britain during the first quarter of 2016. The Ford Fiesta maintained its tradition top slot while the Vauxhall Corsa were second for the second consecutive year with the Ford Focus again third.
The VW Golf maintained its traditional fourth place in Britain. Although VW sales were down 5%, only seven fewer Golfs were sold in Britain compared to the first quarter of 2016.
It was a similar situation for the Nissan Qashqai that was in fifth place for the second consecutive year. While Nissan sales were down 5%, but Qashqai sales slipped only six cars.
VW Polo sales increased allowing the Polo to regain sixth place from the Vauxhall Astra that slipped down a position for the third consecutive year. The Audi A3 maintained its eighth place.
The Vauxhall Mokka is a new entrant at ninth while the Fiat 500 managed to hang on to tenth place despite selling nearly 2,000 cars fewer than a year ago.
The Mercedes-Benz C-Class slipped out of the top-ten list from ninth a year ago.