Best-selling cars of 2021
We reveal Britain’s best-selling cars for 2021 so far
The Society of Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has revealed the UK car registration figures for March 2021, giving us our latest update on the UK's best-selling cars charts.
2020 was a year to forget for the majority of automotive brands with the coronavirus pandemic forcing dealerships to shut and denting sales of new cars. Unfortunately, early 2021 continued the trend of low sales with dealerships in England remaining closed due to the coronavirus lockdown. Traditionally, March is a better month for new car sales than February as buyers get drawn in by the plate change (21-plate in this year's case) but this year many manufacturers are looking to car dealers reopening on April 12th as their light at the end of the tunnel.
Despite dealerships remaining shut, a growing number of companies are offering online car buying solutions, from click and collect to home delivery, that can get you a new vehicle in socially distanced safety. The hope in the industry is that a relaxation in the rules in April will help car sales return to something like normal.
As far as car sales go, the Ford Fiesta has had a poor start to the year by its high standards, although last year's best-selling car is showing signs of life with a second-placed finish in February and March. The Vauxhall Corsa is leading the way so far for 2021 as a whole. Its total of just 12,413 units sold is the highest volume of any UK model but that only indicates the struggles the industry faces as it comes out of lockdown.
Coronavirus had just started to make headlines in the UK this time last year so 2021's March has actually improved on 2020's with 11.5 per cent more cars sold. Petrol car sales are down 28.4 per cent for the year to date and diesel cars are down 46.9 per cent. There is some good news, however, as pure electric vehicles are up 74.1 per cent and plug-in hybrids are up 93.6 per cent.
The UK's best selling cars for 2021 so far
1. Vauxhall Corsa - 12,413
The UK’s second best-selling car of 2020 is going one better so far in 2021. A new generation of Corsa has certainly helped it put pressure on the Ford Fiesta, but there’s still a long way to go before it can win the overall title for 2021. Taking the best-selling title for March is a good indicator as it's one of the typically more positive months for new car sales.
2. Ford Fiesta - 11,645
The Ford Fiesta is struggling to find its form. While no one would expect it to reach the heights of previous years for obvious reasons, it's a surprise to see it fall behind its key rival, the Vauxhall Corsa. A second-place March keeps it within touching distance of the Corsa.
3. Nissan Qashqai - 10,739
Despite not having an all-electric option like some of its rivals, the Nissan Qashqai remains a strong contender in the best-selling cars list. It has its work cut-out to retain the title of Britain’s best-selling SUV and despite the promise of an all-new version due in the summer, the current generation model is performing well.
4. Mercedes A-Class - 10,169
The A-Class was Britain’s best-selling premium car in 2020. Despite being the smallest and cheapest car in Mercedes’ range, buyers were clearly not put off as the hatchback surged to fifth place. The A-Class managed over 7,000 units sold in last month - more than double the previous two months and indicative of the importance of March for new car sales.
5. BMW 3 Series - 8,092
The BMW 3 Series had a relatively bumper March compared to previous months. 5,681 sales pushed the premium compact saloon up to fifth. It's unlikely the launch of the ballistic new M3 made much of a difference to the total sales.
6. Volvo XC40 - 8,084
Volvo’s premium small SUV still looks fresh despite being launched four years ago. The XC40 just snuck into the top 10 last year so sixth is impressive so far - especially considering it didn't feature in the top 10 for March. A new all-electric Recharge version should bolster its popularity along with over-the-air updates to boost range.
7. Volkswagen Golf - 7,896
The Volkswagen Golf came a respectable third in 2020 so seventh spot for 2021 so far will feel like a big blow for the German giant. The new ID.3 could spell even more bad news for the Golf as the similarly sized all-electric hatchback could eat into its sales.
8. Kia Sportage - 7,837
Dipping in and out of the top 10 in 2020, the Kia Sportage is having a promising start to 2021. It dropped out of the top ten for March which means the Sportage has lost four places - severely denting its hopes to be the best-selling SUV in the UK.
9. Ford Puma - 7,561
Ford's controversial decision to name its new small SUV after a 90's coupe doesn't seem to have damaged its sales success. The Ford Puma featured on last year's top 10 despite not being on sale for the full year. Its popularity seems assured now with more units being sold so far in 2021 than even the Ford Focus.
10. Volkswagen Tiguan - 7,384
Despite not featuring in March's top 10 best-selling cars, the Volkswagen Tiguan manages to creep into the top 10 for the year so far. With the newly-released, all-electric and similarly-sized ID.4 due soon, Tiguan sales could suffer as a result.
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