14 December 2010

UK Market: 1984 to 2010 Comparison

Back in 1984, things were different in the UK car market. The cars bought for example, comparing the top 10 from 1984 on the left and 2010 on the right (2010 est. – based on SMMT data):

1 Ford Escort 157350 - Ford Fiesta 105000
2 Vaux Cavalier 132150 - Vauxhall Astra 80000
3 Ford Fiesta 125850 - Vauxhall Corsa 79000
4 Aust/MG Metro 117450 - Ford Focus 77000
5 Ford Sierra 113000 - VW Golf 59000
6 Aust/MG Maestro 83000 - VW Polo 46000
7 Vauxhall Astra 56500 - Peugeot 207 44000
8 Vauxhall Nova 55450 - BMW 3 Series 43000
9 Ford Orion 51000 - BMW MINI 40000
10 340 Volvo 35000 - Nissan Qashqai 39500

Most of the 1984 cars were UK built, now only Astra, MINI and Qashqai (Fiesta and Focus have UK engines, as do some 3 Series). Another point of difference is that the top 10 in ’84 had 53% of the total market, whereas the 2010 top 10 has fewer than 30%. Why this has happened I can only speculate. One reason may be that in 1984, the company you worked for chose company cars, now the worker does the choosing. Also, there is more variety to select from and the public seem to be taking advantage of that. Brand loyalty may not be so strong either.

Whatever the reasons, in 1984 five models exceeded 100,000 sales out of a 1,750,000 total. This year total sales will exceed 2m but only one model will squeak in over the 100k figure. Ford and Vauxhall still dominate but the Austin Rover Group of ’84 now exists only as Jaguar/Land Rover.

What it means to me: It's a shame Austins are not still around.


  1. I own one of the 1984 best sellers, a Vauxhall Cavalier, and it is one of the 132,500 sold that year, and I can see why, nice to look at and great to drive, it's popularity when it was new and it's rarity now almost 30 years later means that it is now a Classic car which should be saved before they ceased to exist, they sold well for a reason, I also own an example of the best selling car in the UK of 1973!

  2. My uncle in the UK bought a new Cavalier. I visited him in 1979, and I think it was a '77 or '78 model. I think at that time they were being made in Belgium.

    The best seller of 1973 was the Cortina, with 181,600 sold.