2012 UK Auto Sales Hit Four-Year High image

Last year new car registrations in the UK increased 5.3% to 2.04 million, reaching the highest level since 2008.

According to the SMMT car industry body, the four best-selling models were Ford Fiesta, Ford Focus, Vauxhall Corsa and Astra. The 5th spot was taken by VW Golf and on the 6th place came Nissan Qashqai.

“Looking ahead to 2013, we anticipate the market will hold firm,” said the chief executive of the SMMT, Paul Everitt.

Still, some are not so optimistic, with Richard Lowe, head of retail wholesale at Barclays, saying that when it comes to 2013 ‘the real question is whether demand will hold.’ He also added that 2013 will be a year when customers’ pockets will continue to be closed, and automakers and dealers will have to be careful to match supply with demand.

The growth rate in 2012 was the fastest in the past 11 years, thanks to a 12.9% increase in demand coming from private individuals who purchased almost 929,000 units of the total of 2,044,609 vehicles sold in the UK. Last month 123,557 vehicles were sold, an increase of 3.7% over the same period in 2011.

“December’s figures wrapped up a positive year for the industry, which saw consumer demand driving sales,” said Mr Lowe.

December 2012 (full year) new car registrations data

December Total Diesel Petrol AFV Private Fleet Business
2012 123,557 63,347 58,562 1,648 50,980 66,960 5,617
2011 119,188 60,570 56,763 1,855 45,300 67,161 6,727
% change 3.7% 4.6% 3.2% -11.2% 12.5% -0.3% -16.5%
Mkt share ’12 51.3% 47.4% 1.3% 41.3% 54.2% 4.5%
Mkt share ’11 50.8% 47.6% 1.6% 38.0% 56.3% 5.6%
Year-to-date Total Diesel Petrol AFV Private Fleet Business
2012 2,044,609 1,038,679 978,089 27,841 929,440 1,025,501 89,668
2011 1,941,253 981,594 934,203 25,456 823,094 1,019,126 99,033
% change 5.3% 5.8% 4.7% 9.4% 12.9% 0.6% -9.5%
Mkt share ’12 50.8% 47.8% 1.4% 45.5% 50.2% 4.4%
Mkt share ’11 50.6% 48.1% 1.3% 42.4% 52.5% 5.1%

December 2012 and full year best sellers

Best sellers December Year-to-date
1 Focus 5,265 1 Fiesta 109,265
2 Astra 5,112 2 Corsa 89,434
3 Fiesta 4,977 3 Focus 83,115
4 Corsa 4,510 4 Astra 63,023
5 1 Series 3,196 5 Golf 62,021
6 3 Series 3,181 6 Qashqai 45,675
7 MINI 3,143 7 3 Series 44,521
8 Qashqai 2,840 8 Polo 41,901
9 Golf 2,556 9 C-Class 37,261
10 Polo 2,500 10 1 Series 34,488