UK 2018. Brexit fever up, market down

British Vehicles Market

British Vehicles Market in 2018 fell again 6.8% keeping the negative performance of past year, affected by the Brexit uncertainty and several measures targeting diesel-powered vehicles. The Ford Fiesta is the best-selling model for the 10th time in a row.

Economic Environment

British economy have lost momentum in the final quarter. In the three months to October, GDP growth slowed on lower car sales and a softer pharmaceutical sector, while retail sales declined in month-on-month terms for the second straight month in October. Meanwhile, in November the services PMI slipped to an over two-year low, due to slower expansions in new orders and employment, while sentiment among consumers worsened.

In contrast, the labor market remains a bright spot; in the three months to October, employment growth was solid, while nominal wage growth reached a near-decade high. On the political front, Prime Minister Theresa May recently called off the vote on the Brexit withdrawal agreement scheduled for 11 December, due to a lack of parliamentary support. She subsequently survived a no-confidence motion tabled by Conservative MPs.

Growth should be fueled next year by the looser fiscal stance and higher wages boosting private consumption. However, private fixed investment will likely remain subdued until there is greater clarity on the Brexit front. A failure to ratify the EU withdrawal deal before the UK departs the bloc in March 2019 is the key downside risk.

Market Trend

According to data released by the Royal Minister of Transportation, the 2018 was in line with the previous year, closing with the second consecutive fall negative performance. Indeed, the market has the year with 2.366.929 sales (-6.8%), largely influenced by the Brexit uncertainty affecting business prospects and consumer morale.

Moreover, several government measures targeting diesel-powered vehicles have affected the market, where diesel sales kept crumbling – down 29.6% – to the advantage of petrol sales, up 8.7%. However, Alternatively Fueled Vehicles (AFV) have boomed at 20.9%.

Sales 2014Sales 2015Sales 2016Sales 2017Sales 2018'+/- 2018

Competitive Arena

In a couple of years, BREXIT will dramatically change the competitive landscape in Great Britain. In the last 50 years, the market has been dominated by two brands, Ford and the GM owned Vauxhall (sold to PSA in the 2017), but their empire is over.

Ford of Britain started the business in 1909 and has been the UK’s biggest-selling car and commercial vehicle brand for 34 and 45 consecutive years respectively until June 2018 when Volkswagen has taken the leadership for three consecutive months (but in September Ford was back on top).

Looking at the 2018 ranking, the market share of the leader has been further eroded and Ford led the line with 254.082 units (-11.6%), closing with 10.7% of market share.

In second place Volkswagen with 203.133 sales (-2.6%) having taken a safe gap over Opel (Vauxhall) actually third with 177.297 units (-9.1%).

In fourth place Mercedes with 172.238 (-4.8%) followed by BMW with 172.048 (-1.7%), Audi with 143.739 (-17.9%), Nissan with 102.637 (-32.1%), Toyota with 101.922 (-0.1%), Kia with 95.764 (+2.7%) and in 10th place Hyundai with 89.925 (-3.7%).

At model-wise, the 2018 best-selling car is the Ford Fiesta with 95.892 sales (+1.4%), ahead of the Volkswagen Golf with 64.829 (-13.1%) and the Opel Corsa with 52.915 (+0.3%).

Tables with sales figures

In the tables below we report sales for all Brands, top 10 Manufacturers Group and top 10 Models

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