News : UK sales half-term report

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

The latest UK sales numbers are in – and it’s great news for Jaguar Land Rover, okay for MINI, Bentley and Aston Martin, and continued gloom for MG and Lotus.

Keith Adams

The Evoque’s success continues as Land Rover sales continue to rise.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has released its June 2012 UK sales figures and it’s a case of up and down for the UK-headquartered manufacturers in a market that saw a 3.5% sales rise over 2011.

The luxury players have seen dips from last year, but all will tell you that whatever losses they’re suffering in Europe and the UK are more than being offset by growth in China and India. Aston Martin sold 60 (down from 80) in June with a year-t0 date of 482 (against 585) while Bentley (105 vs 113 in June) is up in 2012’s year-to-date figures (663 vs 587).

Jaguar Land Rover is up, up, up. The former has sold 7107 cars far in 2012 (against 6888 in the first six months of 2011) while Land Rover is booming thanks to the success of the Evoque and is pushing a remarkable 2.5% share of the UK market, having sold 26,075 cars so far this year (compared with 19,960 last year).

MINI is holding steady – new model variations add interest to a basically ageing platform model. June was an excellent month with 7105 cars sold (putting it into the top 10), with 24,620 cars sold up ’til June. Compare that with 24,614 last year and that’s as close as it gets to matching last year’s performance.

Tail end Charlie is Lotus, which amidst all of its management troubles and the negative press coverage that brings, managed to sell just three cars in June and 82 for the year (understandably down from 218). However, for MG, it’s business as usual with a mere 19 cars sold in June (down from 48) and 530 for the year (up from 127), thanks to the recent AVIS hire car deal. That performance is really put into perspective by the fact that Bentley has easily outsold the Longbridge-based UK offshoot of MG – it’s bitterly disappointing considering the appearance of the ‘facelifted’ Magnette and the rousing performances of Jason Plato in the British Touring Car Championship.

Wooden spoon for MG with a mere 19 cars sold in June. Must try harder…
Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

28 Comments

  1. Facelifted is a generous term. They’ve only stuck a few pieces of chinese plastichrome on the windows, front wing and bootlid. You can’t polish a t#rd.

  2. thats what is missing from the MG, I should have noticed before Doh!!!! it needs a nice mock tudor plasti-chrome radiator grill stuck on the front, it worked for Rover before it should bring back all the trilby wearing buyers especially if mated with BRG paintwork.

  3. I think MG need at least rework the front end. I see what they have tried to acheive but it doesnt work. At the back those Toyota tail lights need to go. give us something hot plate round or square or octagon maybe!, but slanty sloppy slopey tail lights… no thanks. I would have thought that giving the front end a different look would be trivial for the Chinese, I cant see why the cant offer a variety of front looks with your choice of the “face” being put on in the show room (or the back room). remember the last of the Rover Minis and you could choose your grill (some of them looked Indian)? I think MG should take this approach. from the side the looks are ok, well…perhaps give it a more even line with the ground (tapered skirts that follow the ground not the car). perhaps also they should just give some more cars away. Good on Land Rover though with the Evoque ive seen a few of them around now in NZL so clearly selling well, and they look great 🙂 Im surprised there arent a bunch of tuning specialists offering better body kits for the MG6….that might help. alex

  4. @4, alex scott nzl 69,

    I can’t see it being worth while tooling up for body kits for a car that may barely break into 4 figure sales in the UK come the end of the year. I don’t know if aftermarket ‘customisation’ is popular in MG’s home country (China). Over here, aftermarket body kits are only applied to a very small percentage of new cars- seems that most aftermarket tat is applied by teenagers to ageing Corsas and Escorts, etc, which does nothing to add value to a marque (usually the opposite if anything). Not sure what the typical buyer profile for MG is in the UK but I’d imagine its probably going to be the type of older driver who don’t understand such things as residuals and who probably wouldn’t be interested in body kits. Further, apart from often actually decreasing performance (as few cars driven on public roads go round corners fast enough to overcome the added drag caused by so-called aerodynamic enhancements designed to add downforce at racing speeds), they can greatly increase the cost of insurance- in the UK at least, even having someting as trivial as non-standard aftermarket purple tinted side indicators, which still shine amber light, as fitted to my car when I bought it can add greatly to the cost of insurance (and in my case all I needed to do was to spend a couple of quid at a scrappy to get some originals).

    The basic styling of the 6 looks ok to me- it isn’t up there with the best, but it certainly doesn’t look ‘bargain basement’ either (not that I’ve ever had a chance to see one in the metal).

  5. Regarding a facelifted MG6… Manufacturers like Ford & Vauxhall etc normally do a proper facelift at around 3 years into a models production run. Doing a very simple tweak on the “6” would seem unoticeable and unnecessary to me and would only tend to devalue the pre-facelift cars even more.

    Having read these sales figures makes me realise why I’ve only seen 2 in a whole year. Great shame though

  6. The market for big hatchbacks is swamped by Ford and Vauxhall so its no surprise that MG are struggling. To be fair they only have one car to sell you with the choice of 4 or 5 doors so when they come up with the 3 4 and 5 or whatever they are going to call them the numbers will get better. They also need to get shot of the K series if they are to be taken seriously. 160bhp from a turbo lump is far far behind what the latin regions of Europe are doing and even fords Eco-boost motors are up to 231bhp in two litre form. In order to really judge MG under SAIC we need to give them 10 years from releasing the 6.

  7. @2 Of course you can polish one! Look at the Allegro Equipe, lovely stuff.

    As for MG, how long before the diesel, 3 and 5? Let’s hope they help sales a bit.

  8. @8 Jason1.8TC,

    Oddly enough, despite lurid graphics and porous alloys, arguably the Equipe is the only semi-desirable Series 2 Aggro, if only as a painful curiosity.

    Ah, but the ultimate desirably retro All Aggro of all time must surely be the Series 1 Vanden Plas. In brown. I want one.

  9. Skoda are getting 180 bhp from 1.4 litres, along with low CO2. With sales figures like that it does make you honestly wonder why they are bothering. Net losses at Longbridge now must be running into tens of millions of pounds. They must get rid of Longbridge ASAP, or turn it into a Carnaby-esque PDI centre with the cars fully assembled, so they can slash prices. They are just simply too expensive for what they are, and like I’ve said many times, that aged anchor of an engine needs throwing in the skip. If you look, everyone now is using turbocharged engines of around 1.4-1.6 litres in this size of car. Skoda will be using 1.2 TSi 3 cylinders, 1.4 TSi 4 pots & 2 1.6 common rail diesels in the new Rapid, which all have low CO2. 19 sales is frankly pathetic, and heads really do need to roll

  10. Jaguars figures look rather dissapointing to me. Remember in the first half of 2011 the 2.2D XF was not avaialable. That car was supposed to transform the range with a fleet friendly model. An additional 219 sales is nothing to write home about. The increase in Land Rover sales whilst superficially good also dont seem to reflect the supposed massive demand for the Evoque. Is the Evoque cannibalising Freelander and RR Sport sales? That said, JLR sales in China and Russia are going through the roof and the company is solidly profitable. The British market is probably not their greatest concern.

  11. “June 2012 UK sales figures” anything on world trade figure or does the SMMT not publish those.

  12. @12, Yorkiebusdriver,

    I don’t think the K Series is the MG’s biggest issue- lack of awareness of the company due to a lack of marketing is much more serious.

    Whilst I agree with you that a new engine would be highly desirable, first they need to establish a presence through marketing, sales, and a dealer network so that they have something to sell that can contain a new engine. I don’t doubt that in this shrinking world that SAIC will have the capability before too long of producing very competitive products.

    Remember that SAAB didn’t have too many difficulties back in their heyday selling reliable cars based on the same Triumph engine that was not known for its reliability in the British cars that it graced. I would not be so quick to write off the K Series altogether- due to the very low number of sales we don’t yet know how well the redeveloped K will fare in the latest MGs.

  13. There is often talk about the failure of the MG6 being down to lack of proper marketing, but what honest message could they bring to market?

    With an unremarkable product, of an odd size, with obsolete and irrelevant running gear, a tarnished brand (whose glory days are long forgotten by most buyers) and what is basically the modern Chinese equivalent of a 1990’s Proton trying, optimistically, to achieve main stream prices, what is the positive message that the marketeers can bring?

  14. Did Hyundai come to the british market all those years ago and become an overnight success?Why is the running gear obsolete?its euro 5 compliant and has been reworked,oh is it not the latest like an iphone? euro 5 also means that the engine must not leak oil over a 100k cycle any more than the area of a fifty pence piece,a big ask from those “chinese clowns”.The car is exactly what it is,a lot of car for reasonable money.Its a start.180 bhp from 1.4 litres- nothing new VW been doing that since ’04 with the turbo and super charged 1.4 which is mostly the same engine,how long will it last?has it enough low end torque similar to a diesel?where is the big noise about fords yamaha developed sigma engine that is still found in the fiesta to this day?or GM’s family 1/2 based engines?even thier 3 pot is knocking on a bit.What about CO2? (a green tax con)if you want a vogue HSE is that all you would worry about? buy an ampera or G-Whizz then. Residuals? the cars is £16k mate what are you on? A friends XKR was £89k new in 2008 the dealer offered him £16k not two weeks ago and it has 6k on the clock-now thats taking a pill on a car.
    I would have thought that longbridge is on the shirt tails of a cash rich industrial giant and is hardly spunking away tens of millions a week,month or whatever,what firm would recruit engineers and run a business like that? The chinese are quite diligent in business and china is a country were you get shot for tax evasion! and you have fools on here calling SAIC (whom employ several hundred at longbrige)and trying to say how a business should be run.Where is your industrial corporation the car manufactoring wing alone rated eigth biggest in the world? if in ten years from now it has all gone tits up i am more than willing to eat shit.And some on here should refrain from talking it.

  15. @1
    See http://www.smmt.co.uk/2012/07/new-car-market-continues-to-rise-with-3-5-growth-in-june/

    and use the link at the bottom of the page for the full list. SMMT used to provide more data if you paid.

    ACEA provide Europe wide numbers on their website http://www.acea.be/news/news_detail/passenger_cars_registrations_-7.7_over_five_months_-8.7_in_may/

    Automotive News used to publish the North American numbers, but have a habit of charging for practically everything on the web.

  16. The K series is now a 23 year old design, no other manufacturer – not even Ford – are peddaling cars with power trains as ancient as that. As noted the market for cars of this size is moving toward small capacity, turbcharged petrol engines with very high specific power outputs, witness the 1.0 litre, 3 cylinder Focus Ecoboost.

  17. @17 no? 1.8 TDCI where are its origins and the CVH block based zetec?ok the zetec is dead now but old. As stated before its been reworked the K series and is e5 compliant.Is the 3 pot ecoboost going to last in an s-max or mondeo?

  18. @ 15: The K Series was a remarkable engine in its day but, over 20 years after its original launch, very few people in the UK will buy a petrol engine with such poor fuel consumption and high CO2 figures. That’s why it is now an obsolete engine.

  19. @18: Since September 2009, e5 compliance has been the absolute minimum standard required to sell a new car, with e6 becoming the new standard next year.

    I work as a Sales Manager in a company and when our people choose their cars they are obsessive about CO2 emissions as the tax implications are critical. The Holy Grail for a company car used to be <120g CO2, with anything over 140g being dead in the water. The bands have moved again and now it needs to be 105g or less!

    With a CO2 output of 184g, the tax liability will be nearly 3 times as high as a 105g car!

  20. @20 this isnt a fleet car given the sales figures,its the dip in the water,while it sells in volume in china,SAIC are along way off achieving this with one model,if/when the 3/5 come on stream i think things will improve,in addition when the diesel comes on stream indeed that will be e6 compliant in terms of exhaust after treatment and not leaking oil over a 100k cycle the area of a 20p piece.We all know this CO2 thing is a swizz,another tax which is unfortunate,thats why you see more and more diesel hyundais around now even beating the CO2 emissions of Ford 3cyl EcoBoost engines.

  21. The engine is obsolete. It’s killed the chances of the 6 completely. It costs almost the same as a V8 Range Rover to tax, the fuel economy figures aren’t exactly sparkling hot either. The general public are now wanting cars that cost bog all to tax too, not just fleet buyers. Compare the 6 to a Ford Focus 1.6TDCi, which costs £30 a year to tax, and has far superior economy, and dealers everywhere. Even Kia & Hyundai have decent engines now with road tax for ‘pennies'(same company). The 1.8 needs dumping in the skip for good. And Francis, it is a car allegedly specifically designed for the mainstream fleet market. It is a car that they aimed for the goal & put the ball in row Z. SAIC have completely misjudged what the UK car market is all about. It’s OK to sell ancient tat to the Chinese, as it isn’t that long ago that they were all in ox carts, but here in Europe, buyers are much more clued up.

  22. Rickerby

    The Evoque is stealing sales from the Freelander, but that was planned, as with restricted production cspacity, the much more profitable Evoque is far more lucrative, and enables LR to delay the Freelander replacement, which seems some way away.

    Looking at those European sales figues, it’s amazing that JLT are nearly outselling Honda, who have really dropped the ball in recent years.

  23. @22 one model in the range.Fleet market =volume production.you know something,you really are a buffoon are you not?I mean,i would not be so impolite but this “chinks are backward”attitude you freely adopt on this and other threads isnt really called for is it? us british have not done so nearly as good with industry recently have we?all foreign owned,what do you think about the indians that own JLR?

  24. Francis, look, did I insult you? NO! MG couldn’t run a bath, plain & simple. Why the hell aren’t they shouting about how well the 6 is doing in the BTCC? Why aren’t they advertising at all? Ask yourself that. A vast majority don’t even realise MG actually exist. The management are their own worst enemy.

    Look at JLR. A super slick marketing campaign, with the ‘yummy mummy’ fave ‘Posh’ signed up. The Range Rooney Sport, which is now the choice of ‘people of dubious employment’, simply because the vulgarness is aimed specifically at their tastes. Dealers are coining it in.

    Skoda are now shifting over 20,000 a month in the UK, and climbing, thanks to a slick marketing campaign, and decent pricing, even though for some models you have to wait over a year for delivery. Skoda is now VW’s cash cow, and they know it, so are exploiting this to the maximum.

    Fleet sales do mean volume sales. If it wasn’t for companies such as Santander & Lloyds buying tens of thousands of new cars every year, do you actually think Vauxhall & Ford would still be here now? Even Vauxhall have issued a press image of the new Astra in full ‘Jam Sandwich’ livery, which is a very smart PR move, as police fleet managers are one of the most discerning fleet buyers. MG have lost out on any huge fleet sales, simply because of the running costs & high CO2. When you weigh up a company with say 150 cars on the books, having a car that has a high road tax band, and is petrol powered, the running costs over the 3 years or so that they are leased for soon mounts up, compared to a diesel, especially as residuals for oil burners are now better than petrol.

    If they had actually put an effort into marketing these cars, MG would not be in this currently perilous mess they are in. They are rapidly in danger of losing all their dealers.

  25. @25,i didnt realise that you are an eminant captain of industry,or marketing consultant of the highest order,please forgive me.As i said,Fleet = volume,of which MG are never going to achieve with one model as stated.JLR’s biggest market isnt its home market,but it is still doing very well well again volume,and demand outstripping supply on certain models (evoque)The golf and audi’s are VAG’s cash cow.MG6 has been a start as i have said right from the beginning,other forum members have also stated this far more succinctly than i have as well,im just wondering how you deduce that SAIC are in a perilous mess while recruiting engineers and suchlike?or given the fact that they are the eigth biggest car maker in the world are they going to bust?its not a football league where they get slung out is it?Its called the long run,use hyundais growth over here as a benchmark-that didnt happen overnight.

  26. Fyi, MG6 is not a volume seller in China even, it is seriously outgunned by the Roewe.

    The biggest problem with MG is the engines, and the MG 3 and 5 are also cursed with a normally aspirated 1.5 which is ancient tech. At the end of the day there is not a great deal seperateing the 6 from the latest Yuma product, it’s only advantage being a 75 platform rather than a Maestro platform. SAIC have at least recognised this and it looks as if all future MGs will be on GM platforms, hopefully with GM tech. That means in the UK we will have the choice of three GM cars on each platform – Vauxhall, Chevrolet and Modern Gentleman. I know what I would choose and in what order. Time to get real and abandon selling MGs in the UK, and licence the brand to GM for European use. That way the brand will at least be associated with contemporary European design and tech, and it could even be built (not assembled) in Ellesmere Port.

  27. @27 MG insignias are not going to happen anytime soon,SAIC also use VW platforms,they could have used the similar aged PQ46 platform for the MG6 but didnt.MG6 roewe 550 the same platform are they not?Why would GM seek a licence for MG when its got VXR and OPC sub brands? its a completely absurd idea.MG is not going to be a world beater anytime soon,and as SAIC said before you can sell to the world you have to sell to china.MGUK are already working on small capacity engines so what is the rush?

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