Small cars make big im­pact on the British best seller list

Yorkshire Post - Motoring - - NEWS -

SMALL cars are tak­ing over the best seller list. Ford’s Fi­esta stays the na­tion’s num­ber one buy, fol­lowed by the ri­val and much older Vaux­hall Corsa.

The next class up pro­vides num­bers 3,4 and 5 with the Ford Fo­cus, VW Golf and Vaux­hall As­tra.

The As­tra is not where Vaux­hall would want it, be­ing out­sold by the im­ported Golf, but most As­tras are at least made in Eng­land at Ellesmere Port.

Sun­der­land’s Nis­san Qashqai holds sixth place, fol­lowed by BMW’s 3 se­ries, VW Polo, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and the Vaux­hall In­signia in tenth spot with 20,481 sales in the first seven months. The No 1 Fi­esta sold 67,103.

Diesel power main­tains a lead over petrol en­gines – a re­flec­tion on how many cars are be­ing bought by com­pa­nies, which find diesels cheaper to run. Of the 1.2 mil­lion sales, nearly 614,000 had diesel en­gines, 571,000 had petrol and nearly 14,500 were al­ter­na­tive fuel — mostly elec­tric hy­brids. While low in ac­tual num­bers (16,705 so far), the AF cars are hav­ing big per­cent­age boosts. De­mand for petrol cars was also pushed by strong growth in the mini seg­ment which grew 93.4 per cent in the month of July. Sales to date are ahead by 3.5 per cent.

Ford, de­spite the slow down in sales of the al­most ob­so­lete Mon­deo, has im­proved its mar­ket share to just over 14 per cent but its ri­val Vaux­hall has fallen back to just over 11 per cent. The reg­is­tra­tion fig­ures, from the So­ci­ety of Mo­tor Man­u­fac­tur­ers and Traders, do not nec­es­sar­ily re­flect prof­itabil­ity. High sales can be achieved by tasty dis­counts.

Com­pa­nies with big drops in­clude Alfa Romeo and As­ton Martin – the lat­ter drop­ping 116 sales to 549.

Lo­tus is strug­gling. In the first seven months, it sold just 99 cars in the UK. Maserati also dipped heav­ily to 186 sales. Re­nault, af­ter slash­ing its model line-up and dis­count deals, lost 45 per cent of sales to just over 22,000 – mak­ing is al­most a niche mar­que. Mit­subishi also posted a 41 per cent slump.

Soar­ing up­swings were en­joyed by resur­gent Chrysler/Lan­cia, Kia, Land Rover, In­finiti, MG and Porsche.

FIRM FAVOURITES: The Ford Fi­esta, top, is the UK’s best sell­ing car so far this year, while the Vaux­hall In­signia, above, is in 10th place.

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