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
Apr 4, 2019

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

The Ford Fiesta continues its stronghold on the British car market and remains Britain’s best-selling new car. Ford shifted 14,676 new Fiestas in March - over a thousand more than the second most popular car, the Vauxhall Corsa, which climbed from eight place last month.

The Volkswagen Golf placed third, not moving from February’s standings, while Volkswagen’s Polo fell from fifth to eighth.

Nissan’s Qashqai is still the best-selling crossover, placing fifth. While the Toyota Yaris made a surprise entrance, placing ninth.

The UK new car market was down 3.4% overall, compared to the same time last year.

This is partially due to the continued demise of diesel sales - registrations are down 21.4% year on year. Petrol demand grew 5.1%, while electric and hybrid vehicle registrations increased 7.6%.

A total of 458,054 new cars were registered in March 2019, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). This is 3.4% down on the 474,069 cars registered in March 2018.

Despite Ford taking the top place, its sales declined in March, when compared with the same month in 2018, falling from 50,257 to 40,755 - 19%.

Porsche sales (compared year on year) fell by 39%, while Nissan also lost out, with sales down 19%.

Dacia was a big winner - registering 7,443 cars. When compared to March last year, sales are up 85%.

MG continues to fly, with sales up 62% year on year. 1,814 MGs were registered in March; more than Abarth  and Alfa Romeo combined. 

BentleyJaguar, Citroen, and Volvo saw demand rise by at least 10 per cent compared with March 2018.


Best-selling cars 2019

Best-selling cars in March 2019


Best-selling cars: the winners

Dacia is the biggest winner of this month - recording 7,443 sales - an increase of 85% compared with this time last year. Leasing deals, starting from £79 for a Sandero, appear to be tempting customers, along with positive reviews of the new Duster (above).

MG saw a 62 per cent increase in new car registrations during March, compared with the same month last year. Reasonable value for money and 0% APR deals keep customers coming through the doors more than 1,800 new MGs arrived on British roads during the month, making the brand more popular than Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Alpine, Bentley, Chevrolet, DS, Infiniti, Jeep, Lotus, Maserati, McLaren, Porsche, Smart, Ssangyong, and Subaru.

Volvo continues to sell well, up 27% compared with the same time last year. Citroen was up 22%, Seat 7%, Vauxhall 2%, and VW, 1%.


Best-selling cars: the fallers

Ford recently announced an all-new Kuga, plans to electrify the Fiesta and Focus, plus a new Puma. The Kuga is one of the company’s most popular models (it was the ninth best-selling car in the UK of 2018), and it’s possible that people are waiting on new models rather than buying. Ford sales slumped 19% in March.

Alfa Romeo sales continue to fall, this time by 39%.

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. Porsche sales are down 39%.


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.


Best-selling used cars

The latest SMMT used car sales figures, released in February 2019, show that the Ford Fiesta was the most popular car on the used market with 360,868 cars changing hands that year. The Ford Focus was the second most-popular, with 322,532 transactions, while the Vauxhall Corsa placed third with 313,702.

In total, there were 7.95 million used cars sold in 2018, 2.1 per cent down on the 8.1 million sold in 2017.

Sales of hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and electric cars rose 27 per cent year on year.

Petrol cars showed a decline in sales of 4.2 per cent, while diesels held steady with a 0.3 per cent increase.


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