News : April sales are great for UK manufacturers

Keith Adams

The brilliant Exige S from Lotus - another manufacturer which outsold MG in April
The brilliant Exige S from Lotus – another manufacturer which outsold MG in April

The UK motor industry continues to buck European market trends by improving further throughout the year. New car registrations have risen 14.8% in April to 163,357 units, the best April performance since 2008. Registrations over the first four months of 2013 increased 8.9% or more than 60,000 units, to 768,555 units. The best-selling car was – again – the Ford Fiesta.

The growth has been supported by the private sector, where volumes were up 32.3% in the month and grew 15.2% over the year-to-date. Fleet and business volumes also rose in both the month and the year-to-date. All fuel types have shown growth over the first four months of 2013, although petrol-fuelled cars have seen their market share climb – supported by an increased demand for small cars among private buyers.

The SMMT revised its full year forecast upwards in April to 2.106 million units (from 2.057m in January), a 3% rise on 2012 volumes. This figure is still some 300,000 units off the pre-recession market. Further growth to 2.123 million units is expected in 2014.

Top of the pops continues to be Ford, with 14.49% of the market, with Vauxhall taking second spot with 11.58%. Of the Brits, Land Rover and MINI are in first and second with more than 3000 units during the month. MG posted a dismal 13 in April, which is a lower total than Lotus. The MG3 can’t come a moment too soon.

Marque >> Vehicles sold >> Market share (%)

  • Aston Martin >> 98 >> 0.05
  • Bentley >> 117 >> 0.06
  • Honda >> 3042 >> 2.40
  • Jaguar >> 1080 >> 0.57
  • Land Rover >> 3483 >> 1.85
  • Lotus >> 16 >> 0.01
  • MG >> 13 >> 0.01
  • MINI >> 3350 >> 1.81
  • Nissan >> 8083 >> 4.47
  • Toyota >> 6500 >> 4.35
  • Vauxhall >> 17,645 >> 11.58
  • Other British >> 101 >> 0.05

Click through to download the full April 2013 news release and data table.

Keith Adams
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  1. Top 10 in April


    – Really shows the death of the D segment. Years ago this would’ve been Cortinas and Cavaliers.
    – All Superminis and C segment cars, other than the Qashqai, which continues it’s supermarket car park ding spree.
    – Ford’s copy of a 1980s Mini on the Fiesta grille seems to be working in terms of sales.
    – YTD is more or less the monthly top 10 rejigged, with the exception of the Nissan Juke replacing the A3.
    – Nice to see the 208 doing well…
    – Proton are on their last legs, sold 3 cars last month
    – Saab sold 2 despite being out of business
    – Alfa are showing brave sales, albeit 445, with only 2 models that are a few years old now…

    I would like the spreadsheet to show more granularity in terms of segments (In particular my concerns relating to the D segment) and/or individual models.

  2. MG >> 13 >> 0.01

    Do we need to say more? Pathetic, one dealership need to sell at least this many a month, not 31 dealerships selling less than half a car each.

    Beggars belief how any of them have remianed on board and how on earth MG think they are going to be able to sell the 3 in a few months time.

  3. Hmm, strange picture IMO, the (current) Fiesta is not build in the UK… Same for the Focus. The Corsa also isn’t bri’ish build etc… The only car on that list that is build in the UK is probably the Astra, but only the Estate version AFAIK…

    Ford is not even a bri’ish brand or company (it’s american, or if you insist “german enginered”, wich is a good thing.) The company is called “Ford werke GMBH” since 1967 for a reason… The only vehicle Ford produces these days in the UK is the Transit, not really a car…

    only 13 MG’s? Oh dear….

  4. Strange.
    In Auto Express Driver Power survey the 2009 Fester came in at place 126, the 2007 Fabia came in at 64.
    The 2011 focus only managed 70, the 2004 focus at 130, yet the 2004 Octavia is still in 6th place.
    Place 1 is best.
    WHY do people buy fords?

  5. Good for Lotus. They’ve had a good two months after having a run where they were selling in single figures most months.

  6. Ford a British Car manufacture? Not since they turned the lights of at Dagenham assembly in 2001. In fact now that Southampton Transit plant has shut they manufacture absolutely no vehicles at all in the UK. If manufacturing Engines counts as being a British mnufacturer then you’d better include BMW. Their Hams Hall plant manufactures Engines for 1, 3 and 5 series BMW’s as well as the MINI. And wheres Nissan in your list? The biggest car plant in the UK with an output that exceeds the whole of the Italian motor industry put together. Are you a journalist by any chance?

  7. @5, Brian,

    People buy Fords because for the last 15 years or so nearly everything they made was dynamically head and shoulders when compared to their competitors (maybe that is slipping now because the likes of VW have really had to change their game, hence the Golf now has IRS wheras before it made do with a torsion beam, giving very average handling).

  8. @7 Paul C Hampson:

    You’re absolutely correct, a faux pas/oversight on my part, nothing more. I’ve adjusted the list in the story accordingly to display all marques that currently assemble cars in the UK, and which are quoted by the SMMT in its monthly figures. I’ll also stand by that rule in any further sales/production stories such as this.

    I am fully aware of Nissan’s achievements in the UK (I’ll forgive you for missing the Nissan-related stories I’ve run recently on the site), but thanks for reminding me.

  9. Are the surveys representative? if it was 500 surveted per model the picture would be different not 600 0f this 342 0f that and so on.
    The Focus and Astra are reliable cars.Auto express is a tabloid car mag,even some of the models they surveyed date back years who cares?
    Survey 1000 Fiestas and 1000 Fabias on the same model year with same mileage and i will guarantee the Fiesta will win hands down.And i dont even like the car.

  10. James @ 2

    Based on the situation thus far one does wonder if the 3 will sell any better than the 6. However, it can’t be an impossible task. Hyundai , Kia, Proton all managed to start from zero.

  11. @ Antigoon. The 5 door Astra is made at Ellesmere Port.
    The Qashqai is engineered, styled and built in Britain.

    Here’s a list of British made affordable cars for you.

    Nissan Note
    Honda Jazz
    Mini, except Countryman and Paceman
    Nissan Juke
    Honda Civic
    Toyota Auris
    Nissan Qashqai (incl. +2)
    Vauxhall Astra (5 door and Estate)
    Toyota Avensis
    Honda CRV
    Then moving upwards, there’s all Jaguars and Land Rovers,
    Lotus and then the really expensive stuff.
    No excuse not to buy a British-made car really.

  12. What’s really staggering is that when you add up the individual ‘brands’ the VW group had 22% of the market in April!

    10823 Audis (the exclusive premium brand of VW don’t forget) were sold in April, the 4th highest after VW in 3rd, with BMW in 5th.

    By contrast 445 Alfas and 137 Chryslers (which include all the Chrysler badged Lancias) were sold.

    No wonder Germany is so much more successful than the rest of the Euro zone…

  13. LandRover outselling MINI and Honda, quite an achievement when you consider the price that their cars start selling at..

  14. @13. 10823 Audis in a month just highlights the rise of the german brands in the fleet market, hardly an “exclusive” premium brand now.

  15. Yep, in no way are German brands exclusive. Or even ‘Premium’. They do do marketing and tax bracket specials particularly well though, and since the UK are becoming a nation of junior assistant deputy regional managers, the Brits lap them up.

    Want exclusive? Chrysler 300. Want Premium? Jag XJ.

  16. exclusive chrysler 300? it’s based on old mercedes E class platform: not so exclusive except that it’s not so common like germans…however mg is in very deep crisis: maybe it seems too cheap and too asian as style, while it should be sporty and british at the same time…

  17. @ 11- Dave – I agree but those brands took years and years to build up any kind of network and even longer to actually produce some half decent cars, which meant when they did (i’ll exclude Proton, as they don’t actually produce anything even 1/4 decent) they were able to sell them. The latest generations of KIA/Hyundai models are benefitting from not only being very good and competitive cars but also a pretty large, modern and well placed dealership network. It would take MG years to get anywhere near that kind of network. My concern is that in this modern age of motoring, people just are not as forgiving, if the car or the network is not up to scratch they just won’t sell. For the MG3 to sell at the end of the summer people need to be able to buy it, much less be aware it exists – I just don’t see how MG are going to accomplish that in such a short space of time especially given how amateur their latest attempts at an MG3 launch (no interior pictures, brochure, price list etc) – it seems they have learned nothing from the botched MG6 strategy.

  18. Ah… that Lotus Exige. Just how I like my women…. Petite, curvy, nice round rear end, great to handle and racy.. lol!

  19. Just goes to show that the MG6 TDI TECH DIESEL has failed to lift sales at all. MG were talking about selling over 2,000 MG6 cars. This is pitiful. I am sure the remaining dealers are going to give it one last shot with MG3. If that bombs too then most of the dealers will quit and most of the MG UK staff will be sacked by Christmas. I am sure most MG staff are looking for new jobs now. The backlog of MG6 AVIS cars at £9k is not helping as the dealers are shifting those now instead of new ones.

  20. @ Eezee
    you told that:”Ah… that Lotus Exige. Just how I like my women…. Petite, curvy, nice round rear end, great to handle and racy.. lol!” i agree with you but the problem of that kind of cars and girls is that everyone want to put his hands on;)

  21. 9k not so steep when you consider a local ex-MG dealer is selling a pre-reg black 6 Magnette for 17k!!

  22. Are there no Fords which were made in GB? Until now all my Transits were made in GB. Were will these cars made today?

  23. James @ 18

    Yes, it’s difficult to understand just what is going on at Longbridge and exactly what SAIC’s plans are. I still reckon, however, that there is a plan and that SAIC are still aiming to achieve big MG sales in Europe. There has perhaps been a slowing, a change of plans but I don’t think SAIC have given up. The fact they are still here after several years, the BTCC, the featuring of the 6 on TV and on Parkers Guide, the impending launch of the 3. It all points to a continuing desire to re-establish MG.

    The lack of sales growth and general absence of promotion is, however, hard to understand. Are they happy with no growth in sales over two years? I mean, if sales had just reached the dizzy heights of 2 or 3 cars per month for each of a slightly larger 45-50 dealers.

  24. @27: When the Southampton plant closes in a few months production of Transits will be shifted to Turkey.

  25. The death of Proton is interesting as in the late eighties and nineties they were a rapidly growing brand whose budget priced Mitsubishi cast offs were familiar as taxis and cheap family cars as they were generally very reliable and cheap to own. I had a 6 year old MPI as a cheap workhorse at the end of the nineties and it was completely reliable. However, when they went alone and ditched the link with Mitsubishi, they developed some weird beard cars that while still cheap, looked extremely dated and odd and always came last in road tests.

  26. 10. Francis Brett.
    Well, the notional 364 or 600 replies are still representative responses, and are owners rather than mag writers.
    The focus 3 came 68 / 100 for reliability and 94 / 100 for build quality.
    The Fabia 2 came 62 / 100 for reliability and 71 / 100 for build quality
    The Octavia 2 came 35 / 100 for reliability and 25 / 100 for build quality.
    The highest ranking ford was the 2012 c-max at 42. It managed 75 / 100 for reliability and 87 / 100 for build quality.
    Ford wins hands down?

  27. @31 I dont agree,If its down to reliability,as i stated the Fiesta would win hands down against a comparable Fabia,they dont go wrong,no shagged suspension arm bushes or serious oil consumption problems at 30k.
    As i stated,do an even matched survey,there is no way a fabia or Yeti would win anyway, who does that car represent? an old couple or disabled? The survey was not accurate enough throw in MOT fail data and it would be more interesting-especially French cars.
    The results are dubious,and say more about the owners than the cars,i would have liked the fleet operators opinion on the cars as well.
    Responses they are,representative they are not,the Focus is a car we swear by on our fleet,im not keen on the thing,and the couple of hundred 3-pots have been ok(just early software rewrites) the earlier 1.8 Tdci bombproof,how is quality or tactility arrived at? everyone has a different benchmark.They wasnt all new cars either,some dating back several years.

  28. To be fair to Ford, while they don’t assemble cars here any more they have 2 massive engine plants, a joint venture gearbox plant at Halewood and the large Dunton technical centre amongst their UK activites.

  29. @26 –!!

    ex demo with 5k, they’ve chucked the towel in on the MG franchise.

    The Transit is moving to Turkey where they already build the Connect.

    They’re going to import them to the US from there too, but as passenger vans. Then, in the US they destroy the seats and sell them as cargo vans.
    This is to get around the ‘Chicken Tax’ on imported vans that, ironically, came about to protect Ford back in the 60s.

  30. 32. Francis.
    To disagree is your prerogative.
    Auto Express favours fords so much that it would almost seem that any other manufacturer might as well shut up shop and go home.
    But their surveys for the last five / six years have shown consistently similar results and I give credit to AE for publishing the results as they find.
    As I previously stated, these are owner buyers not fleets who can buy (or acquire) at very favourable rates, not available to owner buyers, which is the main appeal to fleets.
    My experience, as an owner buyer, shows that fords build quality, reliability, refinement, comfort, etc. needs to be repeatedly proven.

  31. @35,Thats the reason i dont bother with AE,its pro-Ford,Pro-German etc etc.I can tell you as a fleet engineer that the Focus and Fiesta are way more reliable than an equivelant VAG product by a margin,i dont particularly like those two cars i have a Golf privately owned which i like but to be honest is not a patch on my old MK4 20V in terms of reliability.
    And these cars get caned,all on long term hire,the 3 pot Polos and Ibizas are in and out of our workshops for EML’s on and what not.
    Some 70 year old man in a Yeti that does 100 miles a month can only say its reliable,this is one reason why i dont think the survey is representative or accurate,but hey,who cares?

  32. Oh, Francis Brett, you do talk some bilge . You sound like an immature teenager with your fixation on how a 70 year old cannot have a valid view on things. Just how old are you ?? Do give us an idea of the vast depths of your experience please

  33. @37,what bearing does that have to with what im saying on a survey?Dont grow a brain eh? i dont do fixations.
    Just in case you are thick,the thrust of my point is the two Fords that are in the top ten as always are reliable cars in general,discounting panel gaps or if the glovebox is lined and all that bollocks.Im on about real,20,30,50+k working mileages on the cars.So the Yeti was first?not many of them flying about on the roads used as hacks or family cars-only by the few and they are generally keepers doing low miles throughout thier lifetime,im pleased the owners-coffin dodgers or otherwise find them reliable.

    Anyway,i love 70 year olds,but i could not eat a full one.Its when they get to 75 they get on my nerves,so i relieve them of thier pension and hold thier dentures to ransom.Please feel free to surmise my age or insult my vast intelligence or poor grammer.Have a truly terrific day.

  34. Francis has a point.

    Reliability isn’t just down to how well engineered a car is, or the integrity of it’s parts, it’s also down to how it’s driven.
    A Focus which does 20k a year and is cained within an inch of its life every day is going to go wrong a lot more than one which just tootles down to the shops and the pub.
    Skoda’s owner demographic will be a lot older than Ford’s. You see many more pensioners in Skodas then you do Fords now.

    So that gives these surveys a fundamental problem: the data may be accurate, but it may not be a true reflection on the quality of the cars.

  35. I must say that Francis does appear to be looking at fords through rose tinted spectacles and, are to believe that ford drivers act like boy racers? I thought so some 40 years ago but to be fair it doesn’t seem so much now!

  36. We are Fords most loyal market and we are rewarded for this loyalty by them closing virtually every Ford plant in teh country. We may have a surplus in car production, but it is sad to think what the car industry in this country could have been.

  37. @43, Try reading what i have posted again Brian,assuming im using rose tints is foolhardy.But for the avoidance of any confusion i will state that the 80,000 on our national fleet comprise of Fords,Vauxhalls,Mercs,Mazdas and VAG group cars predominately(fleet is probably near 100k)and we service and repair these vehicles in our own workshops and are authorised to carry out warranty work with Ford and Mercedes.
    Apart from the Mk7 Transit i can assert that the Focus and Fiesta have been reliable cars only requiring wear and tear and service parts in general,failure rates are very low and the majority of those have been driver abuse i.e. low or no oil,collision damage and so on.
    Even the 3 pot Ecoboost models we have a couple of hundred of (for a long term hire customer)have been reliable,with only a couple of dealer required issues and early software updates.

    We dont dispose of our vehicles in the first year like enterprise,the majority kept for three years only some disposed of earlier if they meat a certain criteria which is not mileage related,incidently we only sell some 4 metre sprinters in the first year if they are below 55k and slight panel dings back to Mercedes for five grand more than what we paid for them (in a bulk purchase of 5000 vehicles a time)such is the demand second hand in the M-B network.

    I dont purport to to favour Fords,as a car i would not have one,i dont really like them,im a Vauxhall man through and through and i drive a Golf.

    My best friend runs a MOT station,and are always in contact about cars in general,he will freely state a Focus or Astra are good reliable cars but he would not spit on my current Golf with the problems hes seen.

    Im not some guy down the pub or forum surfer that does not know what im on about,i dirty my hands on these vehicles every day,i have worked on everything from an NSU prinz to an Oshkosh 1070f-blown to bits in Afghanistan.

    Not once did i assert that Ford drivers are boy racers i stated that these cars being hire cars get screwed,not being owned by the driver,backed up by the £5 million we spend on tyres every year.

  38. +0.01 % for MG, is that a rounding error?

    If they had sold one more car that would be +7%, so did someone buy an extra set of hub-caps?

    Sad really.

    Stick a fork in it they are done!

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