2017 (Full Year) Britain: Best-Selling Car Brands

In 2017, Ford remained the top-selling car marque despite loosing market share. Volkswagen overtook Vauxhall while Mercedes-Benz became the fourth best-selling brand in the UK.

Volkswagen at Geneva 2017

Ford was again the best-selling carmaker in Britain in 2017 but sales were down by 10%. Vauxhall lost second place to Volkswagen with sales down by more than a fifth. Mercedes-Benz outsold both Audi and BMW in Britain in 2017. French car brands Peugeot, Renault and Citroen, as well as Fiat, had dismal car sales in the UK in 2017.

The British New Car Market in 2017 (Full Year)

In 2017, new passenger vehicle registrations in the United Kingdom contracted by 5.65% to 2,540,617 cars. Although the British new car market in 2017 was around 150,000 vehicles smaller than in 2016, new passenger vehicle registrations in the UK remained at a very high level.

Car sales in the UK were down in 2017 for the first time since 2011 but followed two exceptionally strong years. The market was hampered by uncertainty regarding not only Brexit and currency movements but probably more important uncertainty regarding environmental regulations and potential restrictions on diesel cars.

In 2017, the share of diesel engine new cars in Britain contracted by 17% to a 42% market share compared to 47.7% in 2016. Petrol engine cars increased market share from 49% to 53.3%. The move away from diesel cars was even stronger towards the end of the year and is likely to continue in 2018.

Annual new car sales in the UK since 2007:

YearUK Car Sales% Change
20172,540,617-5.65
20162,692,7862.25
20152,633,5036.3
20142,476,4359.4
20132,264,73711
20122,044,6095.3
20111,941,253-4.4
20102,030,8461.8
20091,994,999-6.4
20082,131,795-11
20072,404,007
Source: SMMT

Best-Selling Car Brands in the UK in 2017

The top 40 best-selling car marques in Britain in 2017 according to new passenger vehicle registration data released by the SMMT were:

Car Marque20172016% Change% Market share
Total UK Market2,540,6172,692,786-5.65100
1Ford287,396318,316-9.7111.31
2Volkswagen208,462207,0280.698.21
3Vauxhall195,137250,955-22.247.68
4Mercedes-Benz180,970169,8286.567.12
5BMW175,101182,593-4.16.89
6Audi174,982177,304-1.316.89
7Nissan151,156152,525-0.95.95
8Toyota101,98596,7465.424.01
9Hyundai93,40392,4191.063.68
10Kia93,22289,3644.323.67
11Land Rover82,65379,5343.923.25
12Peugeot82,22698,529-16.553.24
13Skoda79,75880,372-0.763.14
14Renault69,11085,102-18.792.72
15MINI68,16668,984-1.192.68
16SEAT56,13047,45618.282.21
17Honda53,90159,106-8.812.12
18Citroen51,45562,991-18.312.03
19Volvo46,13946,696-1.191.82
20Fiat44,47560,581-26.591.75
21Suzuki40,34338,1675.71.59
22Mazda39,09246,609-16.131.54
23Jaguar35,54434,8222.071.4
24Dacia25,14926,499-5.090.99
25Mitsubishi16,09218,237-11.760.63
26Porsche14,05113,0977.280.55
27Lexus12,67013,915-8.950.5
28smart10,32312,020-14.120.41
29DS9,08215,898-42.870.36
30Jeep6,38014,090-54.720.25
31Alfa Romeo4,9974,8812.380.2
32Abarth4,4413,96611.980.17
33MG4,4414,1925.940.17
34Ssangyong3,5904,444-19.220.14
35Infiniti3,5152,89121.580.14
36Subaru2,6793,612-25.830.11
37Bentley1,7531,948-10.010.07
38Maserati1,7011,43518.540.07
39Aston Martin1,47190662.360.06
40McLaren5671830500.02
Other Imports5,8603,54265.440.23
Other British700825-15.150.03
Source: SMMT

Top-Selling Carmakers in Britain in 2017

Ford remained the best-selling car band in the UK in 2017 despite sales contracting by 10%. Ford lost half a percentage point market share in the UK but easily maintained its position as the favorite car marque of the British public.

Volkswagen became the second best-selling car brand in the UK for the first time ever in 2017. Volkswagen鈥檚 improvement from third was more due to Vauxhall鈥檚 dismal performance as VW sales were flat while Vauxhall sales were down by 22%.

Ford sold 31,000 fewer cars in Britain in 2017 compared to 2016 while Vauxhall sales were down 55,000 cars.

In contrast, Mercedes-Benz sales in the UK increased by 11,000 cars in 2017 to leapfrog both BMW and Audi to take fourth place in Britain and the leading position for premium brands. BMW and Audi both had weaker sales in Britain in 2017.

Nissan had flat sales in the UK in 2017 but sufficient to maintain seventh place. Toyota, Hyundai and Kia each moved up one sales rank position in the UK at the expense of Peugeot that slipped from 8th to 12 with sales down by 17%. Toyota sales exceeded 100,000 cars in the UK while Kia joined Hyundai as a top-ten brand in Britain.

French brands Peugeot, Renault and Citroen all had a weak year in Britain in 2017 but sales down by nearly a fifth. DS had a typical dismal performance with sales down by 43%.

VW-owned Seat was the only top-20 brand in the UK in 2017 with double-digit sales increases in 2017. Fiat and Vauxhall were the worst performers with sales down by around a quarter.

The Fiesta remained the favorite car of the British but the VW Golf was the second best-selling car model in the UK in 2017.

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.