News : April UK sales are good and bad news

Keith Adams

MG6: Looks good, but not nearly enough are buying them...
MG6: Looks good, but not nearly enough are buying them...

April has shown some impressive growth in the UK car market, considering some very gloomy economic news in recent weeks. It seems that private buyers are taking up where belt-tightening companies are leaving off, resulting in a 3.3% growth in sales during April, compared with 2011.

As we know, UK manufacturing is on the up, with both Honda and Nissan expanding operations, and taking on new staff as a result – so it’s good to see that all of this growth isn’t reserved for overseas markets. ‘A strong April new car market has raised confidence across the UK motor industry with registrations increasing 3.3%,’ said Paul Everitt, SMMT Chief Executive.

‘We are seeing a steady increase in consumer confidence with growth in private demand, boosted by the arrival of a raft of new products. SMMT has increased its full year forecast to 1.95 million units, putting the market marginally ahead of 2011, indicating a period of relative stability,’ he continued.

The UK marques have enjoyed mixed success during April, and here’s the breakdown.


Marque April sales Market share April 2011 Market share % Change Sales (YTD) Market share (YTD) 2011 (YTD) 2011 (YTD) % change (YTD)
Aston Martin 65 0.05 100 0.07 -35 368 0.05 417 0.06 -11.75
Bentley 92 0.06 111 0.08 -17.12 421 0.06 364 0.05 15.66
Jaguar 805 0.57 516 0.37 56.01 4,825 0.68 4,550 0.65 6.04
Land Rover 2,633 1.85 1,712 1.24 53.8 18,443 2.61 14,976 2.15 23.15
Lotus 8 0.01 37 0.03 -78.38 43 0.01 170 0.02 -74.71
MG 16 0.01 11 0.01 45.45 462 0.07 29 0 1,493.10
MINI 2,581 1.81 2,335 1.7 10.54 13,887 1.97 14,441 2.07 -3.84
Other British 70 0.05 92 0.07 -23.91 338 0.05 409 0.06 -17.36


The stand out figures come from MG, which has posted a 1493% increase over 2011 – but as we’re talking about penny numbers, the percentage is meaningless. More worrying is that sales have pretty much collapsed to their pre-Avis deal levels, with a mere 16 cars finding homes in April. Compare that with Bentley and Aston Martin if you want to see just how exclusive MGs are right now.

The real good news story is that Land Rover is up 23% and Jaguar has risen by 6%, showing that the Evoque and XF 2.2D have made a real impact on sales and demand. MINI is slightly down, and the arrival of the new mainstream hatchback next year can’t come a moment too soon.

Keith Adams


  1. The real news is that sales are up almost 1500% from this time last year, MG are here and they are here to stay. The 6 is a brilliant car, and once the 3 and 5 come along, sales will rocket.

  2. (sigh)… Ever the optimist Ianto, but I’m not sure anyone shares your views. A coherent plan for sales is needed. MG, either start advertising and selling or get out. I reckon a company like VW could sell that many in an hour.

  3. Actually saw an MG6 the other week, my first one in, dunno, how long ago did it launch?
    Quite a handsome beast though, looks better in the flesh than it does in the pics.

    The sad indictment of the above figures though is that none of the listed marques is British-owned any more. Who makes up ‘other British’, Morgan and who else?
    On the plus side, the output of Vauxhall, Nissan, Toyota and Honda would make the picture somewhat healthier but what a change even in the last 20 years.

  4. The MG6 sales are still so poor, despite the AVIS deal. I still havent seen any on the North East’s roads. I cant see why more people aren’t attracted to them, especially with the incentives on offer. Having said that, I hold my hands up, as I havent bought one either…

  5. @8 So waht if they are not British owned? All are producing cars profuatbly in increasing numbers in the UK. We are not talking about screwdriver operations either. All are manufacturing from sheet steel upwards using British made Engines and other major components. Would I rather see a succesful, vibrant, profitable Jaguar Landrover bank rolled by an Indian conglomerate with real vision for the company, or would I rather see a state owned lame duck as it once was?

  6. MG need to recruit more profesional and agressive dealers to their network they have made a start but loads more hard work is needed to get the MG onto the company car and private motorists lists.

  7. Get the mg 3 & mg 5 on sale now offer all engines and specification. watch the sales climb. In Scotland contact all previous MG dealers and offer them the franchise at a discounted price there is only 2 dealers none above perth.

  8. I believe I actually sold more new Nivas some months than MG sold 6’s!

    On the company ownership front, I have become less concerned over the years: All the major car making corporations of the world are truly global – and that includes their ownership – largely plc shareholders. True there are some old industry families still with large interests – but on the whole they’re public.

    Thus you or I could own a chunk of Bayerische Motoren Werke if we had a punt on the Dax index.

    What is important to me is investment in manufacturing and technology in Britain to strengthen our heavily service tilted economy.

    Once MG get some product in tune with demand, we’ll see the brand flourish in Europe – and the machines start whirring at Longbridge. Just wait and see…

  9. Its alright people on here loftily saying why are they not selling and if not get out,how about why are people not buying?It is hardly hiding is it? google cars new for around 16k and im sure it will pop up,or is it because its chinese?oh not chinese shit while blithely swiping onto the next screen of thier foxcomm built in china ipad i should’nt wonder.It does what a mondeo,mazda 6,insignia,408 and god knows what else does only its chinese.Soon when everyone is skint and out of a job these are the cars people will be looking to,just as more and more people shop at aldi and wont get stung at tesco no more>

  10. Get in touch with saab former dealers see if they would take on the franchise also at a discounted price. You get the dealers network across the Uk increased the network, advertise all other car makers advertise regularly. I have hardely seen MG Advertising tv, newspapers, radio, billboards. All models mg 3, 5 and 6 all engines choices, all fuel choices, and specifications get them on sale now. Then see the sale in the UK Rocket.

  11. Regarding MG6 sales –
    I see the point that a 1493% increase in sales isn’t maybe quite as impressive as it seems – sales numbers are still small. However, sales in the hundreds as opposed to the tens is still a significant increase.

    Looking at it another way 16 cars this April as opposed to 11 cars last April is pretty static. Oh dear! Outside of the AVIS deal there ain’t really any improvement. When are you going to get your act in gear MG UK?

    I’ve still only seen one on the road (probably on test drive!)

  12. I saw my very first MG6 on the M42 by the NEC last Friday it was in same colour as picture above. Obviously with such poor sales 16 in April 2012 & 11 in April 2011 is very poor. MG must be seeing the losses grow by the day. Plato is driving one in the BTCC but the colour scheme is doing it mo justice, you cannot see what it looks like, unlike the Honda’s paint scheme. where’s the MG adverts during the 7 hour programme. They aren’t trying.

  13. MG is never going to rebuild its market share in the UK using mainstream models unless they are both class leading and cheap. Plus sold via a significant and excellent dealer network. And also major advertising…..

    If SAIC is serious about MG as an export brand then they need to take a long term view and start with the right niche products that can gain their own following without them even trying. The Icon concept (with a few less retro features please!) and a new Midget based on the 3 (think of a modern day Ford Puma) plus a new affordable rear drive roadster. Affordable proper sportscars in the UK are non existent currently. The MX5 is the only one currently. Its an open door waiting to be pushed open for MG if they can get it half right!

    That will build up MGs brand equity again while they develop more contemporary technology. The MG 6 won’t do anything for MG in the short or long term I’m afraid.

  14. i thought with mg in the btcc it would have pushed the sales up may might be a big increase if not mg may well head back to bust in the uk they need to pull there socks up and get on with it and listen to the public in the uk and get more dealers!!

  15. 8. Ian S: “Actually saw an MG6 the other week, my first one in, dunno, how long ago did it launch?”

    Many people will be asking what an MG6 is & when someone answers that question for them, they will be asking if it has been launched yet.

  16. How many times are we going to whinge on about how MG aren’t advertising, or creating enough models to make a brand in the UK, MG haven’t listened and aren’t interested by the looks of it and without the basics (advertising etc) how can we expect the company to become successful in the UK… Give it up as a dead duck as I have, the Chinese are taking the mickey…

  17. Seen 2 on the road now though I believe one of them last week must have been one of MG’s own cars as the number plate looked familiar.

    All rather disappointing but then not a surprise, car is aimed squarly at the private buyers who buys small and medium sized cars with good fuel economy and a decent warranty. Sadly MG6 ticks none of those boxes. Roll on 3 and 5 and it should be different.

    I don;t want to knock the product because actually oon the whole it is alright but is not what customers actually want to buy.

  18. Sadly the 6 is just “numb” to me and I’m an MG fan – no wonder Joe Public ain’t interested.
    Gotta admit its far better looking in the flesh than any of the pics suggest.
    But I look at various forums where people have put up pics of the ones they’ve bought and I don’t feel anything. TBH you should feel jealous that they’ve got something you haven’t but it has the appeal of the latest Benq fridge to me, as exciting as detergent tbh.
    Had test drive a few weeks ago and it was “ok”, no real “want one” factor and despite talking with a member of sales and getting PX quote etc I have had absolutely no follow up, call, by post or email – nothing.
    Look at the MGUK website, looks amateur at best.
    Sorry, UK – wise MG is surely doomed unless they really do manage a Phoenix job.
    2005 was the nails going into the coffin lid, 2012 SAIC are smashing those nails in with a sledge hammer.
    Bye bye MG, loved you and will miss you.

  19. you mite find this a not so likeable comment, after all thats gone on and the latest statement of former mg workers receiving £3 QUId the people of birmingham and former employees couldnt care less about longbridge and if i was the chinese i would move cos as being a former employee as a lot of us think your dead in the water,and regardless what you say or ne one else says we aint interested ,i fully accept the diehards ,or shoukd we say the 11 buyers in april but saic move on b4 you go flat on your faces

  20. And there’s fairies at the bottom of our garden…

    Not in the UK it won’t and hopefully the rest of the world will cotton on to just how “british” they are now and not listen to the lies in the adverts

  21. You are so wrong, The Mg IcoN is testament to the commitment of SAIC to the brand. Remember that Kia started from a low base and now look at it.

    MG are back for good, G. Barlow.

  22. Ignoring the fact that the icon is about the ugliest thing on 4 wheels, if thats the best MG can manage I’ll take a Juke (2nd ugliest thing on 4 wheels)

  23. It’s a concept which indicates the future design language for the brand. But if they did turn it into reality it would certainly give the brilliant little Juke a run for it’s money.

  24. Sorry, but on what planet is a juke “brilliant”?

    I am assuming you have seen one?
    (Its the ugly bulbous thing on stilts with its headlights halfway up its wings, usually has groups of crying kids round it pointing to show their concerned parents what has upset them.)

  25. Well my MG6 is due its first service,the first time it’s been back to the dealer in a year,not once a month like my 75.
    And i get 45 m.p.g. brim to brim, 5 less than my 75 diesel.

  26. ^ A couple more glowing testimonials like that on billboards by every major road junction in the land may see a huge leap in sales.
    Maybe as many as 20 in May?
    Halfway thru May now, wonder how many so far?

  27. Assume nothing has been done to capitalise on the recent BTCC success? Ideal backdrop to promote to a younger audience, as a MG Car Club member all I see in their journal is gents of a more mature age who have purchased one

  28. 11- The trouble with them not being british owned is they could ultimately go home and take their stuff with them – Admittedly this seems unlikley with Nissan, Honda, Jaguar-Rover but greater companies have left in the past – Ford (except for some much-reduced operations), Chrysler-Rootes (although the Ryton factory survived for a long time after), and outside the car industry Alstom (train building moved from Washwood Heath to mainland European factories), Kraft (British chocolate brands manufactured overseas) – If they are british-owned it is less likley to happen.

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