Best-selling cars in Britain 2018

Ford's Fiesta is the best-selling car in 2018, as sales of diesel cars continue decline. Full details of last year's top-sellers

BuyaCar team
Jan 7, 2019

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

The Ford Fiesta was Britain's best-selling car in 2018, when more than 95,000 new models hit the road - almost a third more than the Volkswagen Golf, which was the second most popular car.

Sales of the Fiesta increased last year compared with 2017 but most manufacturers witnessed a decline as new car registrations overall fell by seven per cent, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the industry body.

Buyers continued to desert diesel cars, causing sales to plummet by 30 per cent. Demand for petrol, electric and hybrid cars did go up, but didn't make up for the drop in diesel sales

A total of 2,367,147 new cars were registered in 2018, according to the SMMT data, which was a 6.8 per cent drop on the 2,540,617 in 2017.

The Fiesta was far and away the most popular model, selling as almost as many as its major rivals - the Volkswagen Polo and Vauxhall Corsa - combined.

Despite an overall decline in the market, some manufacturers did buck the trend with large increases in the number of new cars registered. MG , Mitsubishi and Subaru saw demand rise by at least 15 per cent compared with 2017. 

 

Best-selling cars 2018

Best-selling cars in 2018

Best-selling cars in December 2018

 

Best-selling cars: the winners

MG was the fastest-growing car brand in Britain last year, as sales more than doubled thanks to its latest tall crossover car called the ZS (above). The sharp rise did come from an extremely low starting point, but the 9,049 vehicles sold last year has seen it overtake the likes of Alfa Romeo, Jeep and Smart in the sales charts.

Mitsubishi also saw a substantial sales increase, thanks to a recently-updated Outlander PHEV, although it faces an uncertain 2019 after the government withdrew a grant for buyers of new plug-in hybrid vehicles, such as the Outlander.

 

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 neither arrived in any great volume during 2018, which didn't help the brand's sales performance: the number of new Audis registered slumped by 17.85 per cent to 143,739.

That sort of performance would have been welcomed by Nissan where sales tumbled by almost a third, from 151,156 in 2017 to 102,637 last year. The company's once-dominant Juke and Qashqai crossover cars have been overtaken by the competition, making it tougher to attract new buyers.

Demand for models from DS - Citroen's luxury brand - fell by 44 per cent to little more than 5,000 cars. The company will be hoping that this trend will reverse when a replacement for its popular DS 3 arrives next year.

Another luxury brand in the doldrums is Infiniti. The upmarket arm of Nissan registered just 750 cars in 2018. Even Bentley, Porsche, and Subaru had more customers.

  

Best-selling used cars

The latest SMMT used cars sales figures, released in 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, 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.

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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