UK Cars Sales fell 5.4% in the 2017 with all the second half down in double-digit and December down 14%. Ford still market leader albeit losing share while Vauxhall has lost the second place, taken by Volkswagen, aiming to improve profitability.
British economy continues to send mixed signals in the second half of the year. Recent data show that growth in Q3 beat expectations, thanks to a resilient service sector and a jump in industrial production. In addition, both the services and manufacturing PMIs moved further into positive territory in October, while the unemployment rate remained at a multi-decade low in the third quarter. However, over the same period employment fell and the inactivity rate rose compared to Q2, hinting at a slight softening in a labor market which had remained rock-solid despite Brexit uncertainty. Growth has also lagged significantly behind the EU average since the start of the year, and with continuing negative real wage growth, private consumption is being fueled by consumers running down their savings.
The automotive industry is a key pillar of the local economy and a strong export factor since years and despite all local brands had been acquired by foreign companies and therefore the sector has to re-think many strategies now that the BREXIT process is ongoing. In the short-term, the market is seen in moderate decline, after years of stable growth and the all time record hit last year. In the middle term, the market should be hit be the effects of BREXIT on the economy.
British vehicles market flourished in recent years hitting two consecutive all time record in 2015 and 2016 overtaking for the first time the milestone of 3 million light vehicles sales in a year. Car passenger’ record was established in the 2016 with 2.692.000 units. However, since mid 2016 the market ended the speed and has progressively taken a descendent track.
Indeed, according to data released by the Royal Minister of Transportation, in the 2017 full year sales have been 2.540.000, down 5.4%. 2018 outlook is negative and sales are foreseen near 2.3 million units.
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Brand-wise, Ford is still on top of the list albeit the trend is below the industry and the year was ended with 287.396 sales (-9.7%).
Volkswagen gained the second place with 208.452 sales (+0.7%) overtaking Vauxhall (Opel in the tables) down 22.2% with 195.137 units. This brand is expected to keep losing volume in the next months as the new owner (PSA) input is to cut unprofitable sales.
In fourth place Mercedes with 180.970 units (+6.6%) followed by BMW with 175.101 (-4.1%), Audi with 174.197 units (-1.3%), Nissan with 151.156 (-0.9%), Toyota with 101.985 (+5.4%), Hyundai with 93.403 (+1.0%) and in 10th place Kia with 93.222 (+4.3%).
Tables with sales figures
In the tables below we report sales for all Brands, top 10 Manufacturers Group and top 10 Models