UK 2023. Auto Market Reported An Amazing Growth

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The 2023 Skoda Ebyaq Rs iV
The 2023 Skoda Ebyaq Rs iV

UK Auto market in 2023 closes with a total of 1.9 million sales, being up 17.8%. In December 2023 the market grew for the 15th month in a row, with 141,056 new registrations (+9.0%).

Market Trend and Outlook

Although the United Kingdom is expected to avoid a recession this year, the country faces a challenging economic outlook. The energy price shock due to Russia’s war in Ukraine has disrupted the recovery, with growth projected at a modest 0.4 percent in 2023 and 1 percent in 2024. The terms of trade shock, amid historically tight labor markets, has also pushed inflation to record levels.

Despite a negative economic outlook the British Auto Market stays strong, with sales in December 2023 growing for the 15th month in a row and reaching 141,056 new registrations (+9.0%). Yearly figures reached over 1.90 million sales (+17.8%). 

Looking at cumulative data from 2023, brand-wise Volkswagen is the leader with 162,087 new registrations (+22.9%), in front of Ford at 144,072 sales (+13.6%).

In 3rd position ranks Audi with 137,485 sales (+24.8%), followed by BMW with 111,734 registrations (+2.9%), Toyota at 109,864 (+7.5%) and Kia with 107,765 sales (+2.3%).

Opel maintains 7th with 100,417 sales (+20.0%), in front of Nissan -up 2 spots- at 89,460 (+16.6%), Mercedes -down 1 spot- with 87,782 (+8.5%) and Hyundai -down 1 spot- closing the Top 10 with 87,112 cumulative sales (+8.3%).

Looking at specific models the Ford Puma is the best seller with a 39.4% increase in year-on-year sales, followed by the Nissan Qashqai down 0.3%.

Medium-Term Market Trend

The decline of the British vehicles market was already in place since a couple of decades, with the relocation of several manufacturing activities in other low cost European countries, but the exit from the European Community has further accelerated the process, starting from the long discussions about BREXIT.

Indeed the market reached a record level in 2016 (2.6 million annual sales) and then started to decline. The pandemic in 2020 further accelerated the process pushing the industry down to 1.6 million and rather than recovering, it seems that the market direction is still down.

In the following two years, in fact, the British market didn’t perform quite well. In 2021 volume remained relatively flat, with sales rising merely 0.7% and in 2022 the market dropped further, losing 1.6%.

Indeed, the effects of current global threats, including record inflation rate, increased fuel price, political instability, transition to electrification, raw materials shortage, are emphasized in UK by the economic effects of BREXIT.

Despite the bad performance in the last years, 2023 has started off with a bang. In fact, it maintained the momentum built up in the last months of 2022, with the first few months of the year growing in double digits.

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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