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UK 2012 car sales analysis: winners and losers

By Jonathan Burn

Motor Industry

07 January 2013 09:50

New UK car registrations in 2012 rose to a four-year high, figures released today confirm. Sales jumped 5.3% in the Olympic year compared with 2011 – to 2,044,609 new cars, the largest percentage increase since 2001.

Retail sales drove the demand in 2012, growing 12.9% on the previous year. Most new cars sold in the UK remain fleet purchases, but private punters snapped up 929,440 vehicles.

Ford tops the charts

Yet again Ford stole the show and its Fiesta supermini remained top of the UK charts with sales of 109,265, nudging comfortably ahead of the second-place Vauxhall Corsa with 89,434 registrations. Finishing in third – and a position down on last year - was Ford again, with the family-friendly Focus. Sales of 83,115 saw it finish way ahead of its Astra rival in fourth, with a total of 63,023 models being sold.

Other top 10 finalists were the VW Golf and Polo, Nissan’s Qashqai and the Vauxhall Insignia, but yet again premium brands are muscling in to the top sales positions: the BMW 3-series and 1-series, and Mercedes C-class all figure prominently.

2012: car manufacturer winners and losers  

After a positive year for the UK car market, some manufacturers enjoyed handsome sales increases: Bentley, Ssangyong, Porsche, MG, Land Rover, Infiniti, Kia and Chrysler all saw bumper sales. Ssangyong topped the increases with UK sales rocketing 351% in the past year, but it remains a minnow with a minuscule 0.04% of the market. The brands with stellar growth credited the arrival of new and more environmentally friendly models, while MG relaunched in the UK.

However, for the likes of Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Subaru, Saab, Renault and Mitsubishi, 2012 was a year they’d probably rather forget. And it’s looking worrying at Lotus (again). In 2011 it sold just 329 cars in its home market, and that figure plummeted to a miserly 137 in 2012. Can the Malaysians turn the situation around? With Lotus's parent brand Proton posting a 58% decline in 2012, the outlook isn't rosy.

Without the arrival of exciting new models, many brands suffered. The Italians and French will be hoping that the launch of the Alfa 4C and new Renault Clio will improve things in 2013.

Here’s the full rundown of who’s popping champagne corks and who’s on the tap water, according to the new 2012 sales figures from the SMMT. Brands with a growth in sales are marked in green, those down in red. Don’t forget to click ‘Add your comment’ and give us your analysis of the new car sales market in 2012.

 

 

MARQUE   2012 % Market share 2011 % Market share Change
Abarth   1,292 0.06 1,291 0.07 0.08
Alfa Romeo   7,253 0.35 11,563 0.60 -37.27
Aston Martin   932 0.05 1,024 0.05 -8.98
Audi   123,622 6.05 113,797 5.86 8.63
Bentley   1,267 0.06 1,037 0.05 22.18
BMW   127,530 6.24 116,642 6.01 9.33
Chevrolet   13,476 0.66 12,524 0.65 7.60
Chrysler   3,333 0.16 1,182 0.06 181.98
Citroen   73,656 3.60 68,464 3.53 7.58
Daihatsu   0 0.00 3 0.00 -100.00
Fiat   49,907 2.44 41,612 2.14 19.93
Ford   281,917 13.79 265,894 13.70 6.03
Honda   54,208 2.65 50,577 2.61 7.18
Hyundai   74,285 3.63 62,900 3.24 18.10
Infiniti   530 0.03 382 0.02 38.74
Jaguar   14,109 0.69 13,787 0.71 2.34
Jeep   2,306 0.11 2,146 0.11 7.46
Kia   66,629 3.26 53,615 2.76 24.27
Land Rover   48,626 2.38 37,637 1.94 29.20
Lexus   8,404 0.41 8,269 0.43 1.63
Lotus   137 0.01 329 0.02 -58.36
Maserati   309 0.02 388 0.02 -20.36
Mazda   26,183 1.28 31,219 1.61 -16.13
Mercedes-Benz   91,855 4.49 81,873 4.22 12.19
MG   782 0.04 360 0.02 117.22
MINI   51,324 2.51 50,138 2.58 2.37
Mitsubishi   6,549 0.32 9,843 0.51 -33.47
Nissan   105,835 5.18 96,269 4.96 9.94
Perodua   416 0.02 543 0.03 -23.39
Peugeot   99,486 4.87 94,989 4.89 4.73
Porsche   7,998 0.39 6,382 0.33 25.32
Proton   208 0.01 446 0.02 -53.36
Renault   40,760 1.99 68,449 3.53 -40.45
Saab   232 0.01 4,138 0.21 -94.39
SEAT   38,798 1.90 36,089 1.86 7.51
Skoda   53,602 2.62 45,061 2.32 18.95
smart   5,616 0.27 5,044 0.26 11.34
Ssangyong   875 0.04 194 0.01 351.03
Subaru   2,023 0.10 2,634 0.14 -23.20
Suzuki   24,893 1.22 20,295 1.05 22.66
Toyota   84,563 4.14 73,589 3.79 14.91
Vauxhall   232,255 11.36 234,710 12.09 -1.05
Volkswagen   183,098 8.96 179,290 9.24 2.12
Volvo   31,790 1.55 32,657 1.68 -2.65
Other British   926 0.05 1,115 0.06 -16.95
Other Imports   814 0.04 863 0.04 -5.68
Total   2,044,609   1,941,253   5.32