2020 (Q3) Britain: Best-Selling Car Brands and Models

2020 (Q1-Q3) — Ford, VW, and Mercedes-Benz remained the best-selling car brands in Britain with the Fiesta the top-selling model in the UK.

The Ford Fiesta remained the best-selling car model in Britain during Q1-Q3/ 2020.
漏 Ford UK

During the first three quarters of 2020, new passenger vehicle registrations in Britain contracted by 33% to 1,243,656 cars. Ford lost market share but remained the largest car brand in the UK ahead of Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz. The Ford Fiesta was again the favorite car model of the British while the Focus regained second place from the Vauxhall Corsa.

British New Car Market in 2020 (Q3)

New car sales in Britain fell by 33.22% during the first nine months of 2020 to only 1,243,656 cars — almost 620,000 fewer cars than were sold in the UK during the first three quarters of 2019.

September car registrations in the UK 2004 to 2020. 漏聽SMMT
漏 SMMT

Sales in September 2020 were only 4% lower than a year ago but still a 15.8% drop on the 10-year September average of 389,680 cars. September is traditionally an important month for the British car market, as new registration plate numbers are introduced but sales have been weak in Septembers since 2018.

Car sales in Britain in 2020 Q1-Q3 by fuel type
漏 SMMT

Thus far in 2020, battery-electric vehicle sales in Britain increased by 165% but market share increased from 1.3% to 5.4%. Petrol remained by far the most popular fuel type while the share of diesel cars sold in Britain thus far in 2020 fell to below 17%.

Best-Selling Car Brands in Britain in 2020 (Q1-Q3)

The 30 best-selling car brands in Britain during the period January to September 2020 according to the SMMT were:

MARQUEQ1-3/2020% Change 19/20Q1-3/2019Q1-3/2018
Total1,243,656-33.221,862,2711,910,820
1Ford117,783-37.39188,124206,103
2Volkswagen110,668-29.53157,040157,685
3Mercedes-Benz84,693-39.71140,484137,766
4BMW84,611-35.86131,906136,312
5Audi80,435-28.98113,254124,101
6Toyota73,067-15.9086,88185,742
7Vauxhall72,036-47.51137,229143,656
8Kia57,155-28.7280,18578,726
9Nissan53,905-28.1375,00785,200
10Land Rover44,840-26.1460,71360,304
11Skoda43,728-25.3458,57058,105
12Peugeot41,875-35.1164,53665,586
13Hyundai37,847-44.8868,66975,798
14Renault35,126-26.8047,98649,777
15SEAT34,998-36.3654,99550,490
16MINI33,826-33.3450,74349,425
17Volvo32,184-27.4344,34837,506
18Honda22,458-37.9236,17644,176
19Citroen22,107-48.0142,51841,455
20Mazda18,796-43.6033,32432,696
21Jaguar18,362-37.4729,36428,675
22Suzuki16,509-44.4729,73132,350
23Dacia16,434-35.1625,34418,264
24Fiat15,745-36.6924,87029,182
25MG14,23652.229,3526,695
26Lexus11,341-11.5812,82610,648
27Porsche8,653-13.4710,00010,633
28Mitsubishi7,457-44.8513,52115,658
29Jeep3,348-31.374,8784,899
30Abarth1,851-35.912,8884,518
Other Imports18,067106.018,7703,845
Source: SMMT

Top-Selling Car Marques in Britain in 2020 (Q1-Q3)

Ford remained the largest carmaker in Britain during the first nine months of 2020 but lost market share to second placed Volkswagen. VW narrowed the gap from over 30,000 cars during the first three quarters of 2019 to only 7,000 cars thus far in 2020.

Mercedes-Benz remained the largest German premium car brand in Britain but performed the worst. BMW also lost market share while Audi outperformed the broader market.

Toyota was the top-performing top-ten brand in Britain in 2020 — sales were down 16%. No other top-20 brand had sales down by less than 20%.

Vauxhall was the worst-performing top-ten brand with sales down by 48%. As a result, Vauxhall slipped from fourth a year ago to seventh allowing BMW, Audi, and Toyota to each move up one rank position.

Kia and Nissan maintained their relative positions from a year ago while Land Rover moved into tenth at the expense of Hyundai.

MG was the only top-30 brand with higher sales in Britain thus far in 2020 compared with a year ago. Tesla presumably did too but Tesla numbers are not listed separately by the SMMT and are likely responsible for the doubling of “Other Imports”.

Top-Ten Best-Selling Car Models in Britain in 2020 (Q1-Q3)

The ten most-popular cars in Britain thus far in 2020 according to the SMMT were:

ModelsQ1-3/2020Q1-3/2019Q1-3/2018Q1-3/2017Q1-3/2016
1Ford Fiesta29,89164,56479,41664,98896,139
2Ford Focus25,51745,93240,22247,29157,137
3Vauxhall Corsa25,18247,57443,48138,03864,925
4Volkswagen Golf24,39546,49252,16244,21854,954
5Mercedes Benz A Class19,37043,29331,80026,875NA
6Nissan Qashqai18,73642,48541,94339,69850,293
7Mini16,52832,39433,87628,64736,738
8Volkswagen Polo14,51230,06634,35332,26643,642
9Volkswagen Tiguan14,467NANANANA
10Toyota Yaris13,546NANANANA
10.5Source: SMMT

Britain’s Favorite Car Models in 2020 (Q1-Q3)

The Ford Fiesta remained Britain’s favorite car model during the first nine months of 2020. However, Fiesta sales were less than a half of the 2019 number and less than a third of sales in 2016.

The Ford Focus improved two positions to claim second place for the first time since 2017. The Vauxhall Corsa and VW Golf each slipped one rank position as a result.

The Mercedes-Benz A-Class, Nissan Qashqai (Britain’s favorite SUV), and Mini were in the same rank positions as a year ago, while the VW Polo improved one place. The VW Tiguan and Toyota Yaris are new entrants on the top-ten list of best-selling car models in Britain thus far in 2020. The Ford Kuga and Kia Sportage slipped out of the top ten.

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.