Top 10: UK car sales Q1 2018

474,069 new cars were registered during March 2018, a drop of 15.7% compared to the same month last year. Such an apparently dramatic reduction needs to be viewed in context, though.

Firstly, March 2017 saw a spike in demand as customers rushed to avoid revised Vehicle Excise Duty rates that were introduced in April 2017. Secondly, as the graph below from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders illustrates, anything between 400,000 and 500,000 units should be considered ‘normal’ for the period.

SMMT March New Car Registrations 2002 - 2018

The fuel type figures reveal that buyers are continuing to eschew diesel. Indeed, its first-quarter market share fell from 44.0% in 2017 to 33.5% in 2018. Significantly, the ‘alternative’ (i.e. hybrid and pure-electric vehicles) category still only accounts for 5.1% of sales, so petrol clearly remains the preferred substitute.

Cumulative UK Car Registrations Q1 2018 - By Fuel Type
Fuel 2018 2017 Change Change %
Diesel 240,614 360,518 -119,904 -33.3%
Petrol 441,182 426,093 +15,089 +3.5%
Alternative 36,693 33,405 +3,288 +9.8%
Total 718,489 820,016 -101,527 -12.4%

Unsurprisingly, the Ford Fiesta was – by a huge margin – the most popular model.

Top 10: Cumulative UK Car Registrations Q1 2018 - By Model
Position Model Registrations Market Share
1 Ford Fiesta 32,808 4.6%
2 Volkswagen Golf 21,203 3.0%
3 Nissan Qashqai 16,914 2.4%
4 Ford Focus 15,560 2.2%
5 Vauxhall Corsa 15,352 2.1%
6 Ford Kuga 13,096 1.8%
7 Mercedes-Benz A-Class 12,213 1.7%
8 Mini Hatch 11,724 1.6%
9 Vauxhall Mokka X 10,885 1.5%
10 Mercedes-Benz C-Class 10,832 1.5%

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Top 10: UK car sales 2017 - winners and losers
Top 10: UK car sales 2017

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