2019 (Q3) Britain: Best-Selling Car Brands and Models

January to September 2019: Ford, Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz were the best-selling car brands in the UK with the Fiesta, Corsa and Golf the top-selling models.

During the first three quarters of 2019, Ford and Volkswagen were again the top-selling car marques in Britain. Mercedes-Benz moved ahead of Vauxhall. Despite weaker sales, the Ford Fiesta maintained its traditional position as the favorite car model of the British. The Vauxhall Corsa moved ahead of the VW Golf followed by the Ford Focus and the Mercedes-Benz A-Class.

British New Car Market in 2019 (Q3)

New passenger vehicle registrations in the UK contracted by 2.5% during the first three quarters of 2019 to 1,862,271 cars – around 50,000 fewer vehicles than were sold in Britain during the first nine months of 2018. The British new car market is at its lowest levels since 2013.

According to the SMMT, the contraction was the sharpest for diesel-engined cars that were down by a fifth to a market share of only 26%. Petrol-engined cars increased sales by 2.6% to take a nearly two-thirds market share. Battery electric vehicle registrations in Britain thus far in 2019 increased by 122% to a total of 25,097 cars or a market share of only 1.3%.

Best-Selling Car Brands in the UK in 2019 (Q3)

New passenger vehicle registration figures released by the SMMT showed the following as the top-selling car marques in Britain during the first nine months of 2019:

MARQUEQ1-3/2019Q1-3/2018Q1-3/2017% Change 18/19
12Land Rover60,71360,30466,9560.68
33Alfa Romeo2,8053,4274,009-18.15

NOTE: Source: SMMT Exclude other brands not listed separately.

Top-Selling Carmakers in Britain in 2019 (Q1-3)

The same ten carmakers as a year ago were the top-selling car brands in the UK during the first nine months of 2019 but there were some rank order changes.

Ford remained the best-selling car brand in the UK but sales were sharply down and Ford’s market share shrunk to only 10.1% of the British new car market. Despite weaker sales, Volkswagen gained some market share in Britain in 2019. The gap behind Ford shrunk from 50,000 cars in 2018 to only 30,000 thus far this year.

Mercedes-Benz became the third largest carmaker in Britain in terms of volume sales for the first time ever by surpassing Vauxhall. This is the highest sales position ever for Mercedes-Benz, which had an increase of 2% of sales – the only top-six brand with stronger sales in the UK thus far this year.

Vauxhall’s decline in the UK continued. It was for decades the second-largest carmaker in Britain but lost that position to VW in 2017. BMW and Audi maintained the rank positions of a year ago despite weaker sales.

Toyota and Kia both increased sales and were the only two top-ten brands with sales volumes higher than a year ago. Kia moved ahead of Nissan that was the worst-performing top-ten brand. Nissan sals thus far in 2019 were 50,000 cars fewer than two years ago. Hyundai maintained tenth place despite weaker sales.

The most-improved brands in the UK thus far in 2019 were MG, Dacia, Lexus and Volvo.

Almost all of the smaller brands had much weaker sales than a year ago. The worst-performing larger brands were Honda, Fiat, Mitsubishi and Nissan.

Best-Selling Car Models in the UK in 2019 (Q3)

According to the SMMT, the following were the top-selling car models in Britain during the period January to September 2019:

1Ford Fiesta64,56479,41664,98896,139
2Vauxhall Corsa47,57443,48138,03864,925
3Volkswagen Golf46,49252,16244,21854,954
4Ford Focus45,93240,22247,29157,137
5Mercedes-Benz A-Class43,29331,80026,875NA
6Nissan Qashqai42,48541,94339,69850,293
8Ford Kuga30,80732,480NANA
9Volkswagen Polo30,06634,35332,26643,642
10Kia Sportage28,22728,779NANA
Source: SMMT

Ten Top-Selling Car Models in Britain in 2019 (Q3)

The same ten models were again the ten best-selling cars in Britain as a year ago but the rank order changed.

The Ford Fiesta remained by far the top-selling car in Britain during the first three quarters of 2019. However, sales of Britain’s favorite car model were sharply down – 15,000 fewer than a year ago and 30,000 fewer than during the first three quarters of 2016.

The Vauxhall Corsa regained second place in Britain for the first time since 2016 with stronger sales. The Vauxhall Corsa is in its final months of GM-based production and the new model based on the Peugeot 208 / Citroen C3 will go on sale in Britain in coming months.

The VW Golf slipped back to third place with weaker sales. The new Ford Focus sold in higher numbers to gain fourth place from fifth a year ago.

The Mercedes-Benz A-Class had the highest volume gain of any top-ten car in Britain to take fifth place from ninth a year ago – its highest position ever in the UK.

After two years at fourth, the Nissan Qashqai slipped to sixth despite higher sales numbers. The Qashqai remained the favorite SUV of the British.

The Mini and Ford Kuga maintained their positions from a year ago while the VW Polo slipped from sixth to ninth. The Kia Sportage maintained tenth place.

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.