UK new car sales continue to grow in October; kia & Skoda sales climb

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has confirmed that new car sales in the UK are bucking European trends – in October registrations rose by 12.1% to 151,252 compared with the same period last year. And for the 2012 as a whole, sales are up by 5.0%, forcing the Society to revise its prediction for the entire year, raising it to over two million.

This will see the UK new car market heading back towards the levels it reached during the boom years of the mid-2000s, although 2012 is still around 12% behind 2007, the best-ever year for sales in the UK. According to the SMMT, the majority of growth in sales is down to increasing demand from private buyers, which would explain why the largest gains have been in the mini segment, with growth of 52%, and a 5.8% rise in supermini sales – the clearest indicator yet that buyers are downsizing in response to rising fuel costs.
Once again, the Ford Fiesta topped the charts in October, maintaining its position as the UK’s best-selling car throughout 2012, with the Vauxhall Corsa coming in a distant second.

‘Despite uncertainty in the European economy, the UK new car market continues to grow, with registrations rising more than 12% in October to 151,252 units,’ said Paul Everitt, SMMT Chief Executive. ‘It’s encouraging to see the alternatively-fuelled vehicle market performing strongly too, up 13% so far this year.’

Top 10 sellers: January-October 2012

  1. Ford Fiesta: 96,805
  2. Vauxhall Corsa: 78,760
  3. Ford Focus: 70,355
  4. Volkswagen Golf: 54,300
  5. Vauxhall Astra: 52,879
  6. Nissan Qashqai: 39,432
  7. BMW 3 Series: 38,102
  8. Volkswagen Polo: 36,939
  9. Mercedes-Benz C-Class: 32,427
  10. Fiat 500: 29,215

Winners and losers: January-October 2012

The changing fortunes of manufacturers between 2011 and 2012. Here are the percentage gains and losses for all manufacturers that posted more than 1000 sales in the period from January-October. Chrysler’s dramatic rise to over 3000 sales can be attributed to the arrival of the rebranded Lancias, most notably the Ypsilon supermini.

Although Daihatsu and Saab topped the list of ‘losers’ with a 100% and 95% drops respectively (dipping under the 1000 sold cut-off), this is to be expected given their extinction in the UK. However, Renault’s horrifying loss of volume reflects the reduction in the models offered in the UK, and the extensive dealer closures. The arrival of Dacia on these shores can’t come a moment too soon to bolster Renault’s flagging dealer network. The big question is – will Dacia end up out-selling its parent company?

On the up

  1. Chrysler: +268.41%
  2. Land Rover: +33.36%
  3. Porsche: +28.26%
  4. Suzuki: +23.46%
  5. Kia: +21.49%

Going down

  1. Renault: -43.65%
  2. Mitsubishi: -38.87%
  3. Alfa Romeo: -35.30%
  4. Subaru: -21.36%
  5. Mazda: -15.24%


KIA has already broken its sales record by selling more cars in the first 10 months of 2012 than in the whole of 2010, KIA’s previous best year.

Sales of 4,837 vehicles in October pushed the year-to-date sales to 57,736 units – 1,622 more than the record 2010 full year figure when 56,114 vehicles were sold.

Sales in October were 12.4 per cent up on the same month last year whilst the year-to-date sales are currently 21.5 per cent up.  KIA’s market share for October was 3.2 per cent with a total year-to-date share of 3.26 per cent, up from 2.82 per cent at the same time last year.

Commenting on the performance Michael Cole, Managing Director, KIA Motors (UK) Limited said: “It’s great to have passed our record 2010 total with two months of the year to go. Our recently revised product line-up is proving popular with customers and it’s thanks to our excellent dealer network that even without the Scrappage Scheme that we had two years ago that we continue to increase our appeal amongst both private and business users.”

Full details of KIA’s range of cars can be found at


It’s been a brisk year for sales across the board, and backing up the 12% rise in overall sales so far in 2012, Skoda is reporting that it has broken its previous sales record in 2011. Year-to-date registrations stand at 46,281, up 17.9% on 2011, and a market share of 2.6%.

This record-breaking performance is the fourth consecutive year that has beaten its previous best – in 2011, the Czech company sold 45,061 cars in total. In 2012, it took just 10 months to beat this total. The company’s UK market share now stands at a best-ever 2.6%. And it also holds 2.3% of the fleet market.

Alasdair Stewart, Brand Director for Skoda UK, said: ‘The figures underline what a phenomenal job everyone associated with the company has been doing this year, and means we are on target to meet the goals we set for 2012.’

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