Here’s the sales breakdown from one of the busiest months in the history of the British motor industry.
March is always a busy time of year in the motor trade and this year was no different, in fact, it was even better. With the arrival of the new VED rates in April, dealerships and consumers were keen to get vehicles registered under the outgoing rates, to save cost through ownership. This resulted in some mind blowing sales figures, and manufacturers like Mercedes-Benz reported their best month in Europe… ever!
Here is how the leaderboard shaped itself in March, with the usual suspects dominating and one or two surprise entrants...
Ford Fiesta - 25,428
Obviously. The Fiesta consistently smashes the sales charts in the UK. It’s something to do with our undying love for an (albeit adopted) English manufacturer who, up until 2002, produced all of our Fiestas from their Dagenham plant. This, combined with the fact the Fiesta is by far and away one of the most exciting, practical and endearing hatchbacks in its class. Will the new Fiesta continue the market domination of the current model? Almost certainly.
Ford Focus - 17,119
Taking the number 2 spot, which is usually reserved for the Vauxhall Corsa, is the Fiestas older sibling, the Focus. Again, a real people's car. There are economical petrol and diesel models, which are affordable to buy and own, there are super-practical Focus Estate models, and there is the ST and RS models too, for people who like to put their foot down. Something for everyone. A solid performer which appeals to all types of people.
Vauxhall Corsa - 16,045
The sales department at Vauxhall will be disappointed to know that they’ve lost their number 2 spot for the month of March but over 16,000 units moved in one month is still an incredible achievement. The latest model of the Corsa is still a very pleasant package which offers low-cost motoring, but it’s not quite enough to compete with the Fiesta this time round. Expect a real concerted effort from Vauxhall to put the heat back on the Fiesta when the next Corsa is released.
Nissan Qashqai - 13,742
Nissan continues to throw the rulebook out the window with their Qashqai, which has an update in the pipeline. This was the catalyst that triggered the crossover craze back in 2007, when the first Qashqai debuted with the practicality, running costs and dimensions of a family hatch, only with a better road presence, better visibility and a more comfortable ride. 10 years later and the Qashqai is still the country's favourite crossover, and it’s built in Sunderland.
Vauxhall Astra - 11,680
It’s a real sign of the times when the Qashqai is outselling the Astra by almost 2,000 units! But, in fairness, the Astra has done well to put up a fight against the changing times. Like the Corsa, the Astra falls short when compared to its Ford counterpart, but it’s still a strong offering in a notoriously competitive segment, and the Astra still sits well ahead of the likes of the Peugeot 308, SEAT Leon and so on...
Volkswagen Golf - 10,819
The Golf has had to settle for 6th place in the month of March, and a good few thousand units behind where Volkswagen would like to be. There’s a number of reasons why the golf isn’t competing quite as well as it has done in the past. Firstly, the Golfs are famed for their diesel engines, which is quickly becoming the immoral choice for buyers. Secondly, Dieselgate will hamper the public's perception of the VW brand. Thirdly, Volkswagen have extended their model list quite a bit, and traditional Golf buyers have moved to cars like the VW Tiguan instead.
Still, don’t take anything away from the Golf. It’s probably the best package on the market if you’re searching for a family hatchback, although it’s a little dearer than the Ford and Vauxhall alternatives.
Volkswagen Polo - 10,711
Then the Polo in at 7th! It’s surprising to see that the cheaper, more accessible Polo fell second to the Golf in the sales charts but, again, it’s a sign of how much things are changing. The Polo was once the most affordable Volkswagen you could get, and it ticked all the boxes for people who just wanted something to run around town in, but now there’s the Up! for that. It seems that since the buying culture changed in the automotive sector, Polo buyers are instead financing bigger, more practical cars instead of the Polo. It’s still 3rd best in class in terms of sales, so I doubt they’ll be pulling it from the shelves anytime soon...
MINI - 10,003
Another adopted British car on the list. Of course, this isn’t British, it’s German, but the UK still falls head over heels for the Mini which poses as a stylish, classy and practical-ish hatchback. The MINI is arguably a level above the likes of the Fiesta and Corsa in terms of desirability, and it’s also a real riot to drive.
Ford Kuga - 9,561
Now here’s a talking point! The new Kuga is now available with an ST Line and facelifted front end that really sets it off. This is the only SUV in this list other than the Qashqai, and even though Kuga fell short of the Nissan in terms of sales, it shows a really strong month for what is quickly becoming an extremely popular SUV, and this updated version could go on to rival the Qashqai. Keep an eye on the new Kuga...
Mercedes-Benz C-Class - 9,471
Who saw this coming? It’s a well-known fact that Mercedes have been experiencing their best sales period ever, but not only has the C-Class outsold the more affordable A Class, it has outsold the likes of the VW Passat, Vauxhall Insignia and Ford Mondeo too! This is what a cleverly priced financing structure can do, other premium manufacturers should take note...