08 January 2010

Car Sales UK: 2009

In 2009 car sales in the UK were (according to SMMT) 2 million units, down 6% or 137,000 fewer sales. Ouch! It would have been worse but for a late flurry in the latter months of the year. Various incentives enticed buyers into showrooms. The finishing of the scrappage scheme early in 2010 will slow sales of smaller cars. In fact this new year will have the pain '09 should have had.

Ford has been at the top of the UK car sales charts for decades and increased its lead in 2009. 316,000 new cars with little blue ovals were sold (-2%), an 80,000 sales lead over the next brand and trebling the gap of 2008. Ford now has 16% of the market, its best share since 2001. The rest of the top ten and others were:

2(2) Vauxhall 238,000 (-20%)
3(3) Volkswagen 161,000 (-10%)
4(6) Toyota 102,500 (-3%)
5(4) Peugeot 101,500 (-14%)
6(5) BMW 98,500 (-13%)
7(7) Audi 91,000 (-10%)
8(12) Nissan 78,000 (+17%)
9(9) Honda 75,000 (-11%)
10(10) Citroen 72,500 (-11%)

12(8) Renault 63,000 (-30%)
14(21) Hyundai 56,500 (+102%)
15(19) Kia 50,500 (+62%)

Nissan was the only maker in the top ten that increased it's sales, a fine effort for a company that designs and makes cars in the UK. The British built trio of the Qashqai (26,000 units), Micra (19,000) and Note (18,000) made up 80% of Nissan's UK sales. The French and German brands all lost market share, though Korean car makers made big gains. Land Rover sales were up 93 per cent in the final quarter of 2009, with facelifted Discovery 4 and Range Rover Sport models selling very well.

Jaguar was all smiles too. In December '09, 980 Jaguar XF models were sold, compared to 431 in December 2008 (+127%). The XK model was up 61.5% with 84 sold in December and X-Type sales were up 17.7 per cent with 425 sold, as people rushed to buy the last X-Types as they are no longer made.

The bottom line: 2010 looks bleak for small car makers but not so bad further up the market.

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