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Premium push: MINI, Volvo, BMW and Audi hit top 10 in October new-car sales figures

New car sales are up year-on-year with strong numbers from premium manufacturers like BMW and Audi

Premium brands have shown their importance to the new car market in October with the MINI, Volvo XC40, BMW 1 Series and Audi A3 all appearing in the top 10 best-sellers for the month. Even the Volkswagen Polo supermini has risen up the rankings, highlighting the allure of posh badges is still strong. 

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The MINI hatch was the second best-selling car in October, behind the Ford Puma, which was the month’s most popular car. The Audi A3 is due a facelift in 2024, but the current model is still performing well with a strong October bumping it into this year’s top 10 best-sellers.  

Overall, the Ford Puma is looking to improve on its fourth-place finish in 2022 by taking the outright lead in 2023. Despite a new facelifted model arriving imminently, last year’s most popular car, the Vauxhall Corsa, is still going strong in third spot. The Tesla Model Y remains the best-selling electric car, in fifth spot year-to-date.

The UK’s car sales industry as a whole is returning to form after another month of growth compared to the same time last year. New car registrations have risen almost 20 per cent, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). 

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After a bumper September thanks to the ‘73’ plate change, 153,529 cars were registered in October; 14.3 per cent up on October 2022, and higher even than 2019 – showing the market has now returned to pre-pandemic levels. 

Fleet sales account for massive growth in 2023, with a 40.8 per cent increase year-on-year. But even with the cost of living crisis and continued economic instability, private sales are up 1.6 per cent year-on-year. 

The downward spiral of diesel shows no signs of slowing with a 17.1 per cent decrease compared with October 2022. Diesel now has a market share of just 3.9 per cent, down from 5.5 per cent last year.. Petrol-car registrations are up 12.9 per cent this year so far, with October backing this trend with a 9.3 per cent increase. 

Electrified cars (mild-hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and pure-EV) are maintaining their steady growth in 2023. BEV (battery electric vehicle) volumes have risen to 16.3 per cent of new registrations, up from 14.6 per cent in 2022. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles shot up massively in October by 60.5 per cent with 113,278 PHEVs sold this year so far.

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Senior news reporter

A keen petrol-head, Alastair Crooks has a degree in journalism and worked as a car salesman for a variety of manufacturers before joining Auto Express in Spring 2019 as a Content Editor. Now, as our senior news reporter, his daily duties involve tracking down the latest news and writing reviews.

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