UK new car market – Ford shows what’s driving the change

29 August 2014 #SMMT News
UK's best-selling brand, Ford, at SMMT

Ford has topped the UK new car registration tables since 1972

The UK car market is constantly changing; models, niches and trends come and go, but for the past 42 years there has been one constant. Currently exhibiting at SMMT’s Westminster showroom, Ford has produced the UK’s best-selling car since 1972.

UK's best-selling brand, Ford, at SMMTFord’s sustained market performance makes it ideal to show how buying trends have changed in recent years.

From 1999 to 2008, the Ford Focus was the UK’s best-selling car. During this period, more than 1.3 million were registered. The Focus was hugely popular, praised by consumers and critics alike, but its success reflected a wider trend. In 1999, the C-segment (or small family car segment) accounted for 32% of the market. This remained stable for the following nine years, but in 2009, a year after the recession hit, this segment had shrunk to 26.6% of the market.

Ford Fiesta has been the UK's most-registered car since 2009As financial instability hit millions, the UK scrappage scheme worked to keep the market afloat. Motorists were now looking for efficiency and affordability in a new car, to make the most of their scrappage pounds and spend as little as possible. The already large B-segment (supermini) swelled from a market share of 32.1% in 2007 to 37.2% in 2009. Ford’s Fiesta capitalised on this, registering 117,296 units, making it the year’s best-seller.

Ford Ka is part of UK's successful B-segmentSince 2009, Ford has registered more than 600,000 Fiestas, retaining its place at the top of the sales chart. At the same time, the Ford Ka, which is also in the B-segment, has also seen sustained success, registering over 100,000 cars in the same period. The B-segment remains the largest segment in the market, accounting for 35.9% of all registrations in 2013.

While austerity has driven one end of the market, consumer demand has brought about growth in another. In 2000, multi-purpose vehicles (MPVs) accounted for just 2.7% of the market, with 59,000 vehicles registered. In 2007, with a growing number of models on offer, there were 143,859 registrations. Recession saw volumes dip by around 40,000 units, but by the end of 2013, more than 150,000 were registered.

Ford Galaxy at SMMT's showrFord’s Galaxy was first introduced into the UK in 1995, joining a number of first generation MPVs of the time. In the following two decades, while demand has remained strong, Ford has managed to gain market share by introducing a number of vehicles to the segment. The S-Max was first introduced in 2006, followed by the smaller C-Max and B-Max in 2007 and 2012 respectively. In 2013 nearly a third of all cars registered in the MPV segment were Fords.

To find out more about the changing new car market, see SMMT’s 2014 Motor Industry Facts guide.

Filter News

Update Newsletter