Ford, Volkswagen and Vauxhall were the top-selling marques in the UK during the first half of 2018. The Fiesta and Golf were the favorite car models of the British.
During the first semester of 2018 new passenger vehicle registrations in the United Kingdom contracted by 6.3%. Ford remained the largest carmaker in the UK but lost market share to Volkswagen that moved ahead of Vauxhall. The Ford Fiesta remained Britain’s favorite car model despite weaker sales. The VW Golf was the second most-popular car model in the UK at the start of 2018 followed by the Ford Focus and the Nissan Qashqai.
The British New Car Market in 2018 (First Half)
New passenger vehicle registrations in the UK declined by 6.3% during the first six months of 2018 to 1,313,994 cars – almost 90,000 cars fewer than during the first semester of 2017.
Sales of petrol cars in Britain increased by 11.5% during the first half of 2018 for a market share of 62% – up from 52% a year ago. Diesel sales were down by 30% for a market share of 32.6% compared to 43.8% a year ago.
Best-Selling Car Marques in Britain in 2018 (Half Year)
New passenger vehicle registration data released by the SMMT showed the following as the best-selling car brands in the UK during the first six months of 2018:
|Marque||2018 (HY)||2017 (HY)||% Share||% Change|
Top-Selling Car Brands in the UK in 2018 (First Semester)
Ford remained Britain’s largest carmaker by far during the first six months of 2018 but was the worst-performing brand of the top-selling marques in Britain. Ford sold more than 20,000 fewer cars than a year ago and lost nearly a percentage point market share in Britain.
Volkswagen confirmed its second place in the UK – a position it gained during the third quarter of 2017 – with a 5% increase in sales. VW was the only top-eight brand with an increase in sales in Britain thus far this year and gained nearly a percentage point market share.
Vauxhall performed almost as badly as Ford and slipped from second to third best-selling car brand in the UK. During the first semester of 2016, Vauxhall still sold 133,000 cars in Britain.
BMW flat sales were flat but Mercedes Benz sales were down sharply despite having two car models in the top ten in Britain during the first half of 2018. BMW thus took fourth place from Mercedes for its strongest placing ever in the UK.
Audi sales in the UK were similarly flat with no change in rank position.
There were no changes in rank order for the rest of the top ten best-selling car brands in Britain at the start of 2018. Nissan was the worst performer by far of the top 20 brands in the UK despite producing Britain’s favorite SUV. Toyota sales were flat while both Kia and Hyundai increased sales in a shrinking market.
The worst-performing car brand in Britain during the first half of 2018 was Infiniti with sales down by 74%. Worse in terms of volume was Infiniti’s parent company Nissan with sales down by 25,000 cars. Fiat sales were similarly sharply down and the Italian brand slipped out of the top 20.
The most-improved brands in Britain during the first semester of 2018 were a resurgent MG (+115%) and McLaren (+48%). In contrast to Fiat, Abarth increased sales by a third. In volume terms, Seat (+22% or more than 6,000 cars) and VW made the most gains.
Top Ten Best-Selling Car Models in the UK in 2018 (First Half)
According to the SMMT the following were the favorite cars of the British during the first half of 2018:
|Model||2018 (HY)||2017 (HY)||2016 (HY)||2015 (HY)|
|9||Mercedes Benz A Class||20,002||22,944||NA||NA|
|10||Mercedes Benz C Class||19,684||27,386||22,069||24,676|
Britain’s Ten Favorite Car Models in 2018 (First Semester)
The Ford Fiesta remained Britain’s favorite car model but sales were weaker than a year ago.
The VW Golf moved into second place ahead of the Ford Focus that slipped to third. The Golf was the only top-ten car model with higher volume sales apart from the new entrant Ford Kuga. Ford Focus sales were sharply down in part due to a full model replacement during the second half of 2018.
The Nissan Qashqai and Vauxhall Corsa maintained their relative rank positions from a year ago. However, Corsa sales were sharply down from two and three years ago when it was the second most popular car model in Britain. The Corsa is due for a replacement based on the Peugeot 208 around the end of the year.
The Mini moved into sixth place from ninth for its best position ever as a BMW-owned brand. The VW Polo regained seventh from eighth despite weaker sales.
The Ford Kuga is the only new entrant on the list at the expense of the Vauxhall Astra that was the sixth most-popular car in Britain during the first half of 2017.
The Mercedes Benz A Class improved by one position while the Mercedes Benz C Class slipped from seventh to tenth with sales sharply down.