In 2021, Volkswagen became the best-selling car brand in Britain while both Audi and BMW brands also sold more cars in the UK than Ford.
In full calendar year 2021, Volkswagen finally became the best-selling car brand in Britain. Audi was the second most popular marque in the UK followed by BMW. Ford, the previous market leader, slipped to fourth with sales down a quarter. Toyota moved ahead of Mercedes-Benz and Vauxhall while Kia and Hyundai were the most improved top-ten brands in Britain in 2021. The new car market in Britain in 2021 expanded by a modest 1% to 1,647,181 passenger vehicle registrations. The Vauxhall Corsa was the top-selling car model and the Tesla Model 3 the best-selling electric car in Britain in 2021.
Best-Selling Car Brands in Britain in 2021 (Full Year)
The 40 top-selling car marques in the UK in full-year 2021 were as follows according to the SMMT:
Top 10 Best-Selling Car Brands in the UK in 2021
In full-year 2021, Volkswagen, after four years in second place, finally dethroned Ford as the best-selling car brand in Britain. Although VW sales in the UK were slightly weaker, Volkswagen cut a deficit of 4,000 cars in 2020 to an advantage of 30,000 cars over Ford.
Audi increased sales in Britain in 2021 by almost a tenth to move up from fifth in 2020 to second largest car brand in Britain for the first time ever. BMW sales were in line with the broader market to maintain third place — the only top-ten brand in the same rank position in the UK as a year ago.
Ford slipped to only fourth place in Britain in 2021 after seemingly forever the favorite car brand of the British. Ford sales were down by almost a quarter in the UK in 2021. (Ford generally struggled in Europe with supply-chain shortage: in Germany, Ford sales were down by more than a third and in France down by a fifth.) The Ford Fiesta also lost the claim to being Britain’s favorite car for the first time since 2009.
Toyota sales in the UK increased by ten percent and the Japanese carmaker improved to fifth place in Britain from seventh. Mercedes-Benz and Vauxhall slipped behind Toyota with weaker sales, although the Vauxhall Corsa became Britain’s favorite car model in 2021.
Kia improved one sales rank while Hyundai entered the top ten from 13th. Both Korean brands were the best-performing top ten marques in the UK in 2021. Nissan slipped from 8th to tenth with sales down by 5%.
Tesla sales were not listed individually by the SMMT. However, the Tesla Model 3 was the best-selling electric car model in Britain in 2021, and the second most popular car model overall, with 34,783 sales. If listed separately, Tesla would likely be the 17th largest car brand in Britain.
The worst-performing brands were Mitsubishi, Renault, and Jaguar, although Ford lost the most volume.
The best-performing brands in the UK in 2021 were Cupra and Polestar in their first full years on the British market, followed by Subaru, Alpine, MG, and Hyundai.