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UK 2008 car sales analysis: winners and losers

Published: 08 January 2009

The official count is in – and, unsurprisingly, 2008 was a glum year for new-car sales in the United Kingdom. Total registrations fell by 11.3%, buoyed by a strong first-half performance but pulled down by the accelerated slowdown in the last few months of the year.

The drop won't surprise anyone who's seen a newspaper, web report or TV bulletin in the past few months. But it's not all bad news. We've pored over the 2008 new-car sales figures and analysed the data to see who's suffered most and who's actually managed to post an increase in these tough conditions. 

Below are the full UK new-car sales figures, arranged by order of percentage growth or decline. The companies at the top of the page can congratulate themselves; the lower down the page you go, the deeper the do-do.


WINNERS

Seven manufacturers managed to produce positive growth last year. Disregard the quirks of MG and Hummer sales, and you're left with a handful of brands who enjoyed genuine success in a hard market.
Total 2008 UK new-car sales, % change over 2007.

MG   133   +13,200%
Hummer   174   +185%
Smart   7526   +43%
Dodge   3911   +20%
Volvo   33,358   +11%
Jaguar   20,346   +9%
Kia   31,324   +7%


DOING OK
A baker's dozen held static or posted single-digit decline in 2008. Interestingly, this category included the three German premium giants, but the decidedly mainstream Nissan should be congratulated for holding level in a tough market. Total 2008 UK new-car sales, % change over 2007.

Audi   100,845   0%
Chevrolet   18,372   0%
Nissan   66,336   0%
Mazda   49,858   -2%
Daihatsu   4841   -4%
Hyundai   28,036   -6%
BMW   113,132   -7%
Fiat   55,325   -7%
Skoda   37,100   -7%
Ford   322,514   -8%
Lotus   647   -9%
Mercedes-Benz   74,883   -9%
VW   179,189   -9%


LOSERS
The majority of car companies suffered double-digit falls last year. The further down this list you go, the redder the faces in the boardroom. The problem is, the coming 12 months are likely to be at least as tough... Total 2008 UK new-car sales, % change over 2007.

Vauxhall   298,912   -10%
Daimler  33   -11%
Toyota   105,717   -11%
Mini   40,736   -15%
Seat   29,397   -16%
Citroen   81,237   -17%
Mitsubishi   15,552   -18%
Alfa Romeo   5950   -19%
Peugeot   118,701   -19%
Perodua   624   -19%
Honda   83,805   -21%
Suzuki   26,095   -21%
Subaru   4668   -23%
Bentley   1542   -27%
Aston Martin   1565   -29%
Renault   89,570   -29%
Land Rover   32,567   -30%
Porsche   5918   -31%
Saab   16,074   -32%
Lexus  10,122   -33%
Jeep   4062   -34%
Proton   1518   -39%
Cadillac   171   -50%
Ssangyong   629   -53%
Corvette   13   -75%
Tata   1   -80%
Rover   2   -97%

>> Any surprises? Click 'Add your comment' to analyse the 2008 new-car registration figures

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet

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