12 November 2010

Ford's Struggle To Stay #1 In The UK


Ford has been number one in the UK for decades. It stopped making cars in England in 2001 but makes millions of engines and does extensive design and research there so supports the UK economy well.
The brand it has had to keep at bay for many years is GM's Vauxhall, which cannot quite do enough to dethrone it. Vauxhall makes the Astra and Astra van as well as the Vivaro/Trafic vans but that's about within Britain as design and engineering work is done in Germany.

So you may wonder about the struggle mentioned in the title. Well, a third brand is making steady moves toward the top two, Volkswagen. To show what I mean Ford held about 30% of the UK market in the 1980's, it fell to 20% in the 90's and the first decade of the 21st century, it averaged about 15%. In 2010, it is 14% and 12.5% for October of this year. Vauxhall has averaged about nearly 13% for the decade past, and is 12% for this year. VW has gone from 7% in 2001 to 8.5% in 2010 and nearly 10% in October.

From that we can see Ford is still soundly ensconced at the top, but the buffer is less and VW is now lurking in a clear third, having seen off both Renault and Peugeot. I am not saying anything will change anytime soon at the top of the UK market, but Ford will be mindful that if it stumbles for any reason, there are two brands well placed to capitalise. Frankly VW puts nothing of substance into the UK car market, so I for one hope it keeps well away from the top spot. The average car buyer in the UK would care nothing about that of course. I just hope that Ford and Vauxhall, who do put back into the economy are suitably rewarded.

What it means to me: Ford is sliding in UK car sales and a reversal of fortunes is needed about now.

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