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
Mar 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 continues its stronghold on the British car market and remains Britain’s best-selling new car. Ford shifted 3,339 new Fiestas in February - nearly a thousand more than the second most popular car, also a Ford.

The Volkswagen Golf placed third, gaining a place from February’s standings, while Volkswagen’s Polo climbed from eighth to fifth.

Nissan’s Qashqai fell from third to sixth, and the Ford EcoSport made a surprise entrance in the best-selling charts, coming in at ninth.

Demand for electric  and hybrid cars soared by 34% in February, when compared with the same time last year. Petrol car sales rose by 8.3%, while diesel cars were down 14.3%.

A total of 81,969 new cars were registered in February 2019, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). This is 1.4 per cent up on the 80,805 cars registered in February 2019.

Despite Ford taking the top two place, its sales declined in February, when compared with the same month in 2018, falling from 12,046 to 10,390 - 14 per cent.

Porsche sales (compared year on year) fell by 52 per cent, from 421 in 2018 to 204 in 2019, while Fiat also lost out, with sales down from 1,306 to 955.

MG continues to grow, with sales up 140 per cent year on year. Admittedly, sales are still low, registering 448 cars in 2019 and 186 in 2018. Jaguar, Jeep, Lexus, Mazda, Subaru, Volkswagen, and Volvo saw demand rise by at least 10 per cent compared with February 2018.


Best-selling cars 2019

Best-selling cars in February 2019


Best-selling cars: the winners

Volvo saw an enormous 48 per cent increase in new car registrations during February, compared with the same month last year, thanks to surging demand for the XC40 (above). More than 1,700 new Volvos arrived on British roads during the month, making the brand more popular than Fiat, Land Rover, and Mazda.

Despite Jaguar's very recent woes, its sales rose by 34 per cent; Renault was up by 46 per cent; and Mazda continued on a roll from a successful 2018 with a sales rise of 26 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 17 per cent in February.

Alfa Romeo sales fell by 38 per cent and 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 52 per cent.

Another luxury brand in the doldrums is Infiniti. The upmarket arm of Nissan registered just 16 cars in February.


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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