UK 2021. Volkswagen Becomes New Leader In Market Still Not Recovering Steadily

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Uk car market
The 2022 Volkswagen Taos

UK’s car market in 2021 rises by just 1% with 1.65 million sales, reporting a very strong Q2, while the rest of the year was characterized by double-digits losses. Volkswagen becomes the new market leader.

Market Trend

The UK car market this year attempted to recover from the pandemic crash of 2020 and reported positive performance only in Q2 due to the very low levels reached in Q2 2020, while all other quarters were down in double-digits

The referendum on BREXIT in 2016 found the national automotive industry on the top of its glorious history. Following five years of consecutive growth, the light vehicles market hit in that year the All-Time record sales with 3.06 million units and was the fourth largest in the World.

After the referendum, the industry trend mirrored the British economy and a prolonged decline started. Indeed, the light vehicles market fell down both in 2017 and 2018, while the rest of Europe was growing without uncertainty, and in 2018 sales have been 2.72 million, of which 2.36 were car passengers. In 2019, registrations fell at the lower level out of the last 5 years, with 2.64 units sold.

The finally defined BREXIT process, created alarm of economic outlook with deep effects on the relevant automotive industry and fears for production activity shift from the UK to the continent, as already decided by Honda and JLR.

In 2020 sales have been 1,631,064, reporting a decline of 29.4% compared to 2019.

In 2021 the year started negatively for the UK market, in fact, in Q1 425,525 units have been sold, reporting a 12% decrease in sales compared to Q1 2020, while Q2 sales boomed impressively, reporting a 185.1% increase with 484,448 units sold.

In Q3 sales started falling in double-digits again, losing 31.1% sales with 406,641 units, followed by a 14.7% fall in Q4 with just 330,567 sales.

Indeed, Full-Year sales for 2021 have been 1.65 million, reporting just a 1% increase compared to 2019.

UK quarterly sales variation
UK quarterly sales variation

Brand-wise, this year the new leader Volkswagen (-0.3%) lost 0.1% market share, followed by Audi (+9.4%) which gained 0.5% share. BMW remained in third place and gained 1%.  Ford -the previous leader- reported the worst performance by falling 23.9%, followed by Toyota  -up 2 spots- which gained 9.9%.

Mercedes -down 2 spots- fell 11.7%, followed by Opel which lost 1 spot by falling 4.2%, and Kia which jumped 1 spot and rose 28.7% sales. Closing the leaderboard we have Hyundai -rising 4 spots- reporting the best performance by gaining 46.7% this year and Nissan falling 2 spots by losing 4.8%.

The most sold vehicle this year is the Opel Corsa (-14.2%) with 40,914 units sold, followed by the Tesla Model 3 -up 11 spots-, which gained 58.2% with 34,783 new sales this year. The Ford Focus (-16.9%) closes the podium -rising 1 spot- and reports 32,704 units sold.

Tables with sales figures

In the tables below we report sales for the top 40 Brands and top 10 Manufacturers Groups.

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