Best-selling cars in Britain 2019

Ford's Fiesta continues to be Britain's best-selling car in 2019 as sales of diesel cars slump. Full details of last year's top-sellers

BuyaCar team
Feb 5, 2019

Click on the gallery above to look at the ten best-selling cars last month and how many they sold.

The Ford Fiesta has begun 2019 as it ended 2018 - as Britain's best-selling new car. Almost 5,400 new Fiestas hit British roads in January -  a thousand more than the second most popular car, which was also a Ford: the Focus. 

Nissan's Qashqai was best of the rest, the family crossover car remaining popular despite the arrival of newer rivals, followed by the Volkswagen Golf. A surprise arrival in the top ten best-sellers of January was the Toyota Yaris, which was almost as popular as the Volkswagen Polo

Demand for electric and hybrid vehicles soared by 26 per cent in January, and petrol car sales rose by 7 per cent, but a 20 per cent reduction in demand for diesel cars meant that overall new car registrations were slightly down compared with January 2018, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the industry body.

A total of 161,013 new cars were registered in January 2019, according to the SMMT data, which was a 1.6 per cent drop on the 163,615 in 2018.

Despite Ford taking the top two places in the best-selling chart, its sales declined in January, compared with the same month of 2018, falling from 19,654 to 16,629. Other manufacturers bucked the decline in the market with large increases in the number of new cars registered. Dacia, JeepMG, Seat and Volvo saw demand rise by at least 15 per cent compared with January 2018. 


Best-selling cars 2019

Best-selling cars in January 2019


Best-selling cars: the winners

Volvo saw an enormous 80 per cent increase in new car registrations during January, compared with the same month last year, thanks to surging demand for the XC40 (above). More than 4,000 new Volvos arrived on British roads during the month, making the brand more popular than Renault, Mini, Citroen and Honda.

Budget brand Dacia's sales rose by 17 per cent; Jeep was up by 58 per cent; and MG continued on a roll from a successful 2018 with a sales rise of 59 per cent.


Best-selling cars: the fallers

Audi has announced its new A1 (pictured), as well as a new Q3 crossover car. They are among the company's most popular models, but their effect has not yet been felt, which didn't help the brand's sales performance: the number of new Audis registered slumped by 27 per cent in January.

Mitsubishi sales fell by 22 per cent, not helped by the government's withdrawal of a £2,500 grant for plug-in hybrid (PHEV) vehicles last year. The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV has been one of the company's strongest-selling cars.

Porsche sales have been affected by new emissions regulations, which require vehicles to undergo a new laboratory test for sales to continue. Several popular hybrid models have been taken off the market for the time being. Hybrid cars have been particularly affected by the new test, which tends to record much higher carbon dioxide emissions (CO2). This reduces the tax benefits of buying a hybrid. 

Another luxury brand in the doldrums is Infiniti. The upmarket arm of Nissan registered just 32 cars in January.


Best-selling used cars

The latest SMMT used cars sales figures, released last November, shows that the Ford Fiesta (above) is also the most popular car on the used market: 93,260 used Fiestas changed hands between July and September 2018, ahead of the 84,014 Ford Focus models in second place.

Vauxhall then followed with its Corsa (80,789 sales), the Volkswagen Golf is fourth (68,614), and the Vauxhall Astra rounds off the top five (66,942).

In total, 2.06 million used cars were sold in July, August and September 2018, which is slightly down on the 2.1 million sold during the same period last year.


Best-selling cars by fuel

Customers continue to avoid diesel cars, with even more drivers deserting the fuel in favour of petrol, hybrid or electric models.

In 2016, 1.2 million diesel cars hit the roads, accounting for almost half of all cars sold that year. But as diesel emissions came under scrutiny and the threat of diesel surcharges and taxes grew, so demand decreased. Two years later, in 2018 new diesel car registrations had dropped to 750,165 and made up just 32 per cent of the market. Now, in 2019, the proportion of new cars that are powered by diesel has fallen just below 30 per cent. 

Petrol cars now account for almost two thirds of the new car market, and electric car sales are growing - but slowly. Last year, 15,474 new electric cars were registered, compared with 13,597 in 2017. Demand was boosted in the final months of the year when the government announced an imminent cut in its electric car grant, which meant that buyers bought cars early to secure the subsidy before funding ran out.

Manufacturers planning to launch a raft of new electric cars in 2019 will be hoping that this rate of growth continues.


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