Top 10: UK car sales Q1 2017

New car registrations for the first quarter were up by 6.2% year-on-year, thanks mainly to a record-breaking March performance.

The change to ‘17’ number plates will have undoubtedly fuelled some of that growth. However, there was also a last-minute rush to avoid the revised Vehicle Excise Duty rates which were introduced on the 1st of April.

Those tax changes have particularly affected more expensive cars. Accordingly, data published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders shows that some of the highest Q1 increases were recorded by premium brands.

They include Aston Martin (up 135%), Bentley (up 27%), Jaguar (up 51%), Land Rover (up 23%), Maserati (up 96%), Mercedes-Benz (up 16%) and Porsche (up 12%).

Land Rover Discovery (2017) Side
Land Rover achieved strong gains in Q1 2017,
helped by the launch of the fifth-generation Discovery.

There were a few notable exceptions, though. For example, Audi’s volume hardly rose, while Lexus sales fell by 10%.

Another key conclusion from the statistics concerns fuel type. Specifically, customers are gradually realising that diesel might not be suitable for them.

Indeed, its year-to-date market share was 44%, down from 47% in 2016. The corresponding figures for petrol and alternative (i.e. hybrids and electric) were 52% (up from 50%) and 4% (up from 3%) respectively.

Cumulative UK Car Registrations Q1 2017 - By Fuel Type
Fuel 2017 2016 Change Change %
Diesel 360,022 363,485 -3,463 -1.0%
Petrol 426,589 382,588 +44,001 +11.5%
Alternative 33,405 25,707 +7,698 +29.9%
Total 820,016 771,780 +48,236 +6.2%

The Ford Fiesta is still the country’s most popular model by a huge margin. Clearly, buyers don’t seem bothered that an all-new replacement version is due imminently.

Perhaps the biggest surprise in the top ten league table concerns second place. This spot is usually taken by the Vauxhall Corsa, so Ford must be very pleased that the Focus nabbed the runner-up position.

Top 10: Cumulative UK Car Registrations Q1 2017 - By Model
Position Model Registrations Market Share
1 Ford Fiesta 38,205 4.7%
2 Ford Focus 23,886 2.9%
3 Vauxhall Corsa 21,305 2.6%
4 Volkswagen Golf 19,223 2.3%
5 Nissan Qashqai 19,071 2.3%
6 Vauxhall Astra 17,915 2.2%
7 Mercedes-Benz C-Class 15,461 1.9%
8 Volkswagen Polo 15,453 1.9%
9 Mini Hatch 12,973 1.6%
10 Nissan Juke 12,935 1.6%

Related posts:
Top 10: UK car sales 2016 - winners and losers
Top 10: New cars due in 2017

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