New car demand falls in June, while VW Golf knocks the Ford Fiesta off top spot

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Author: | Updated: 05 Jul 2017 16:01

The new car market declined –4.8% in June, but the biggest shock was the Volkswagen Golf usurping the Ford Fiesta as the UK’s most popular new car – by just 208 units.

June’s dip represents the third consecutive fall in monthly registrations since VED changes came into force in March, according to new Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) figures.

Registrations totalled 243,454 cars, marking a slower pace of decline than the previous two months. Following a record first quarter, registrations are now in line with 2017 forecasts, so there’s nothing to panic about just yet.

VW Golf

The figures show that fleet registrations, which includes personal contract hire, declined at the slowest rate (-2.4%), while private and business registrations fell by a larger 8.3% and 7.8% respectively.

One sector of the market that enjoyed some growth was alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs), with demand rising by 29%, maintaining its record 4.4% share of the new car market for the second month in a row.

On the other hand, diesel continues to fall out of favour ahead of speculation over toxin taxes and changes in the Autumn budget. Diesel fell by a further 14.7% month-on-month, while petrol rose by 2.5% to make up some ground.

How the market is looking


Golf v Fiesta

Drilling down to the most popular cars, the Volkswagen Golf outperformed the Ford Fiesta during June, ending its longstanding reign at the top. It is however still the most popular car for the year so far, and has been since 2009.

An all-new Fiesta is on the way very soon, so it is far to early to talk about a power shift just yet.

“The Ioniq launches a three-pronged eco-attack on the Prius and Leaf.”

As usual, the rest of the top ten is made up of small to mid-size, petrol-powered cars which are still proving a hit and account for almost 60% of the market, despite the increased interest in SUVs and crossovers.

Overall, year-to-date performance is now broadly in line with forecasts, with the 1,401,811 cars registered so far this year still accounting for the second biggest first half-year on record.

Year-on-year June registrations


Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, commented: “As forecast, demand for new cars has started to cool following five consecutive years of solid growth but the numbers are still strong and the first half of the year is the second biggest on record.”

“It’s encouraging to see alternatively fuelled vehicles experiencing rapid growth but adoption is still at a relatively low level and more long term incentives are required if this new generation of vehicles is to be a more common sight on British roads.”

The top ten…

May 2017


1.Volkswagen Golf – 8,808

1. Ford Fiesta – 59,380

2. Ford Fiesta – 8,601

2. Ford Focus – 40,045

3. Ford Focus – 8,283

3. Volkswagen Golf – 36,703

4. Vauxhall Astra – 6,977

4. Nissan Qashqai – 33,574

5. Mini – 6,630

5. Vauxhall Corsa – 33,560

6. Vauxhall Corsa – 5,739

6. Vauxhall Astra – 32,408

7. Nissan Qashqai – 5,103

7. Mercedes-Benz C Class – 27,386

8. Volkswagen Polo – 4,705

8. Volkswagen Polo – 27,205

9. BMW 3 Series – 4,264

9. Mini – 25,582

10. Mercedes-Benz C-Class – 4,102

10. Mercedes-Benz A Class – 22,944

Find more SMMT news here

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