Best-selling cars of 2021

We reveal Britain’s best-selling cars for 2021 so far

Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) have revealed the struggle new car sales is facing. August has proved to be an especially poor month with sales down 22 per cent on the corresponding month in 2020. Some of that disparity could be down to the pent up demand from the first lockdown in 2020 which saw dealerships close and increased sales during last year's summer. Another reason is the ongoing pandemic and a global semiconductor shortage - both been referenced by the SMMT - affecting the latest sales numbers.

There is some hope however. 2021 is performing much better than the previous year as the UK returns to some normality. New car sales are up 20.3 per cent for the year-to-date and many are switching to electric vehicles with a 106.7 per cent increase of new EV sales from 2020. September should be one of the better sales months as the new '71' plate comes out. 

However there's still a long way to go before sales recover to the levels pre-Covid. To help counter the lockdown effect, a growing number of companies have been offering online car buying solutions, from click and collect to home delivery, that can get you a new vehicle in socially distanced safety

As far as individual model results go, the Vauxhall Corsa is leading the way so far in 2021 with a total of 27,831 units sold, but this relatively low figure only indicates the struggles the industry faces as we emerge from the pandemic.

The usually dominant Ford Fiesta has had a poor year by its own high standards, although it remains second overall. Meanwhile Volkswagen will be celebrating the achievement of its Golf - the German hatchback had a poor August but it maintains third overall, closely followed by the Mercedes A-Class in the year-to-date table.

The UK's best selling cars for 2021 so far

1. Vauxhall Corsa - 27,381

The runner-up in the best-selling cars of 2020 table is leading the way in 2021. A new generation of Corsa has certainly helped it put pressure on the Ford Fiesta (along with the all-electric Corsa-e model), but there’s still a long way to go before it can claim the overall title for 2021. The Corsa didn't even place in the top 10 for July and only managed seventh in August, so could its reign at the top be coming to an end? The Ford Fiesta will have to close a gap of over 2,500 units if it's to retain its title. 

2. Ford Fiesta - 24,578

The Ford Fiesta is struggling to find its form in 2021, it’s still lagging behind its key rival the Vauxhall Corsa, losing further ground in August. It was the eighth biggest seller across the month, managing 109 less units than the Corsa. A facelifted Fiesta may help bump up sales towards the end of the year, but it could be too little too late. 

3. Volkswagen Golf - 22,997

The Volkswagen Golf came a respectable third in 2020 so achieving a similar result in 2021 seems a reasonable goal for the German giant - and so far it’s on form to do just that. However, while the Golf topped May’s sales chart, it slipped back to second place in June. July proved worse as the Golf came fifth with 2,362 sales and it didn't even feature in the top 10 for August. VW's own ID.3 could spell bad news for the Golf as the similarly sized all-electric hatchback could eat into its sales.

4. Mercedes A-Class - 22,731

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. A second-placed finish for April and a fourth place for May suggested the A-Class was cementing its place near the top of the best-selling cars table this year, but the model disappeared from the top 10 in June, and slumped behind close rivals like the Ford Puma and Kia Sportage for July. August prove to be a bit better as it crept closer to the Golf with 1,047 sales. 

5. Ford Puma - 22,654

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 Puma has a revelation for Ford - featuring on last year's top 10 despite not being on sale for the full year and its popularity seems assured now with more units being sold so far in 2021 than the Nissan Qashqai - making it the most popular SUV in Britain in 2021. It was also the best-selling car of August, a third place for 2021 doesn't seem too far away now. 

6. Volkswagen Polo - 20,362

The Volkswagen Polo improved from eighth to seventh place in July and it's jumped another spot in August. The second-best selling car of August, the German supermini sold over 1,761 units for the month and things could get even better with the facelifted version due to go on sale in the autumn - which could push sales up even further.

7. Kia Sportage - 20,296

Dipping in and out of the top 10 in 2020, the Kia Sportage is having a decent 2021 so far. It dropped out of the top ten for March but came eighth in April and sixth in May. It's gone on to secure seventh with an excellent fourth-placed finish for August with 1,355 units sold for the month.  A new model will to go on sale soon, so Kia will be hoping for a late surge.

8. Toyota Yaris - 19,605

The Toyota Yaris was the second biggest-seller in July and third for August. Eighth overall seems particularly impressive given it's ahead of cars like the Nissan Qashqai and Ford Focus

9. BMW 3 Series - 18,465

The BMW 3 Series dropped two places from eighth with a poor showing in July and it's dropped another place in August. This is despite a relatively good month, selling 1,277 units and coming fifth. There’s a chance the new all-electric i4 could also eat into sales of the similarly sized 3 Series as it arrives in showrooms this year.

10. Nissan Qashqai - 18,417

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. Although it's had a July and August to forget with it dropping out of the top 10 for both of those months. It seems as if buyers have held off for the all-new version which has recently gone on sale. Still, with the Ford Puma and Kia Sportage ahead, the new car has its work cut-out to retain the title of Britain’s best-selling SUV.

Looking to buy a new car in 2021? Check out our list of the best finance deals available right now...

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