Best-selling cars in Britain 2019

The Ford Fiesta may have struggled by it's own high standards, but it remains the UK's best selling car

BuyaCar team
Nov 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 regained its supremacy as the best-selling car in Britain during October, a month which has saw a number of surprises in the world of new car sales as SUVs made up five of the top 10 spots.

Coming up behind the ever popular Fiesta was the Nissan Qashqai, which maintained its position as the most popular SUV with a little over 4,000 sales, jumping ahead of the Volkswagen Golf and Mercedes-Benz A-Class.

SUV built on their strong showing in September with an even more impressive run through October, the Ford Kuga, Kia Sportage, VW Tiguan and Range Rover Evoque all featured among the best-sellers.

Overall, the UK new car market saw an overall drop of 6.7% compared with October 2018, a relatively quiet month after last month's boom. Diesel cars continue to suffer large falls in sales, seeing a massive annual drop in registrations of 21.2%, while Petrol sales were up by a modest 2.2%.

It was mild-hybrid diesel cars that saw the biggest year-on-year jump, from 2,537 sales in 2018 up to 22,741 in 2019. Electric cars were also successful, achieving more than double the sales they did this time last year. 

In total, 143,251 new cars were registered in October 2019 according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Ford remains the market leader, thanks to the success of the Fiesta along with the Focus and Kuga the manufacturer took 11.69% of the market share, with VW (9.59%) and BMW (8.44%) completing the top three.

Lexus and DS each made big gains too, with year-on-year sales increases of 62% and 55% respectively.


Best-selling cars 2019

Best-selling cars in October 2019

Best-selling cars: the winners

Porsche saw the biggest increases in overall sales in October - recording 1,618 sales at an increase of 391% compared with this time last year.

Alpine, Audi, BentleyDSLexus, Seat, all saw demand rise by at least 10 per cent compared with October 2018. 

Best-selling cars: the fallers

For the second month in a row, Smart retains the unfortunate title of biggest sales fall in October, with year-on-year sales down a disastrous 92% last month, this month saw a similar drop of 85.9%

The lengthy list of manufacturers that made losses of over 10% includes Abarth, Citroen, DaciaFiat, Honda, HyundaiJaguar, Land Rover, Lotus, Maserati, Mazda, MiniMitsubishi, RenaultSsangyongSubaru, Suzuki, Vauxhall and Volvo.

Best-selling cars by fuel

New diesel car sales continue to fall, with 34,666 diesels sold in October representing a substantial year-on-year drop of 28.3%.

Overall diesel sales in 2016 reached 1.2 million accounting for almost half of all new cars sold in the UK. But with diesel emissions coming under greater scrutiny, and the threat of diesel surcharges and taxes growing, demand has decreased dramatically. In 2018 new diesel car registrations had dropped to 750,165 and made up just 32 per cent of the overall market. At this point in 2019, the proportion of new cars that are powered by diesel has fallen to just 25.7%. 

As a result, petrol cars now make up almost two thirds of the UK's new car sales, however electric car sales are beginning to pick up some momentum. EVs are becoming a more and more viable opiton for a growing percentage of drivers, and although total sales reached only 3,162, that's still a growth of 151.8% on last year.

Hybrids have also gained for the most part, plug-in variants have seen a small drop of 1.7% year-on-year, while mild hybrids and HEVs have each seen relatively substantial gains during October.

Manufacturers planning to launch a raft of new electric cars through the remainder of 2019 and into 2020 will be hoping this trend continues.

Best-selling used cars

The latest SMMT used car sales figures, released in July 2019, show that the Ford Fiesta remained the most popular car on the used market for the second quarter of 2019, with 88,446 cars changing hands.

As with the Fiesta's perfomance in new car sales, it appears totally unbeatable in the popularity stakes - as it was also the most popular used car for 2018 too, accrewing 322,532 transactions for the year.

In total, 2,034,236 used cars found new homes during the second quarter of 2019 - down 2.8% compared to last year.

Also in keeping with new car trends, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and electric cars gained 24.8% year-on-year with used transactions totalling 33,492. Of these vehicles, it was pure electric vehicles that have seen the largest growth, with an increase of 32.8%.

In total, the share for these low-emission alternatives only accounted for 1.7% of all transactions - with conventional petrol and diesel engines making up 98.3% of the market. They were both down year-on-year however, with petrol cars dropping by 3.7% and diesel by 2.5%.


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