13 Jun 18

UK revival confirmed in May

Dataforce has analysed the performance of the UK new car market in May. Although there was only a very marginal, + 0.2% or + 156 increase in registrations for the true fleet sector, this nevertheless further confirms the end of a very long run of decreases. The private market showed a strong result with + 9.3% over May 2017 while registrations on dealerships, car manufacturers and Rent-a-Car dipped by - 2.0%. With more than 192,000 units the Total Market overall was up by + 3.4%.

Given the only marginal growth rise for true fleets, unsurprisingly not all brands were able to increase their fleet volume in May. So within the top 10 it was nearly an even split: 4 brands achieved a plus and 6 didn’t. With + 15.6% Volkswagen took the lead from Ford and Opel/Vauxhall for the first time this year, mainly fuelled by the models Golf, Tiguan alongside additional support from the all new T-Roc.

The most impressive performance however came from the Spanish OEM SEAT. The manufacturer jumped from rank number 14 into 8th place thanks to a + 56.2%. This was partly due to another new entry, the small SUV Arona, but even more to the remarkable growth for the Leon (+ 70.0% and ranked 3rd in the Compact Car segment for May).

In model terms, there were no less than five new entries in the top 10. The new generation of the Ford Focus jumped from rank number 11 into 2nd behind the Nissan Qashqai (1st) and was trailed by the Volkswagen Golf and the Tiguan. The latter ascending from 16th position in May of last year to 4th this May. With + 52.7% the Tiguan ranked second within the SUV segment for the first time since October 2010 and scored its highest market share ever.

The SEAT Leon improved from 21st to 5th and while Kia Sportage and Vauxhall Astra secured the next positions we found our last two new entries following them. The new entries to May’s top 10 ranking were in fact old acquaintances, namely BMW 3 Series (from 17th to 8th) and Ford Kuga (12th to 9th) with C-Class from Mercedes rounding out this month’s top 10.

The models mentioned above and classified as chart breakers indicate a more general trend: beside the endlessly growing SUV segment (scoring a share of 39.6% in May) the compact cars segment is currently stabilising its market share. Not only due to the above-mentioned Focus, Golf and Leon but also because of a bunch of models with growth rates far beyond the average like Honda Civic, Hyundai Ioniq, Nissan Leaf and BMW 2 Series (Coupe & Convertible).

Authored by: Tim Harrup