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UK October 2017: First ever Top 10 for the BMW 4 Series

The BMW 4 Series breaks into the UK Top 10 for the very first time in October.

* See the Top 40 brands and Top 10 models by clicking on the title *

The UK market is getting worse every month with a 7th consecutive year-on-year decline in October and the first double-digit drop since last April at -12.2% to 158.192 registrations. This is the weakest October result since 2013. Year-to-date, UK sales are now down 4.6% to 2.224.603 units. SMMT predicts a Full Year 2017 down 4.7% to 2.565 million units. Double-digit sales decline is across the board with fleet sales down 13% to 83.931, business sales down 26.8% to 4.324 and private sales down 10.1% to 69.937, gaining one percentage point of market share at 44.2% vs. 43.2% in October 2016. Year-to-date, private sales are down 6.4% to 992.910 or 44.6% vs. 45.5% a year ago, fleet sales down 3% to 1.143.937 or 51.4% vs. 50.6% and business sales are down 3.3% to 87.756 for an unchanged 3.9% share. The main culprit this month are diesel-engined vehicles down an abysmal 29.9% to 62.349, losing ten percentage points of market share in one year at 39.4% vs. 49.3% in October 2016. This is the result of uncertainty on city bans of the engine that has prompted UK buyers to step away from diesel cars. Petrol sales are up 2.7% to 87.599 or 55.4% share vs. 47.3% a year ago. Alternatively fuelled vehicles (mainly hybrid and electric) continue to surge at +36.9% to 8.244 and 5.2% share.

The VW Golf climbs to #2 year-to-date, overpowering the Ford Focus. 

The Top 4 carmakers outperform the market, even though the podium in entirely in negative: Ford drops 9% to 12.4% share which is one percentage point above its YTD level, Volkswagen is down a minimal 2% to 8.7% vs. 8.1% year-to-date, only 57 units above sister brand Audi down 7% to 8.7% share also vs. 6.8% so far this year. Mercedes gains 7% this month as it does year-to-date to jump to a stunning 7.7% share vs. 7.1% in 2017. BMW is down a harsh 18% to 7% in 5th place, still above its 2017 level of 6.7%. Things are getting out of control at Vauxhall: the brand steps out of the UK Top 5 for the first time in BSCB’s record with deliveries plummeting 35% to just 6.2% share. This follows lows of #5 last April and September. For reference, Vauxhall remained at #2 in the UK for 22 of the 24 months of the years 2015 and 2016, only dropping to #3 twice. The carmaker’s buyout by PSA Peugeot-Citroen and announced plans to cut the UK workforce seem to have discouraged UK buyers. Nissan, down 31% to #7, is also struggling. Reversely, Toyota delivers the only double-digit gain in the Top 10 at +13%. Further down, notice Abarth (+11%), Ssangyong (+12%), Seat (+16%), Alfa Romeo (+29%), Lotus (+30%), Infiniti (+32%), Aston Martin (+71%) and Maserati (+85%) all posting strong gains whereas Mazda (-25%), MG (-25%), Fiat (-27%), Renault (-27%), Dacia (-29%), Mini (-34%), DS (-35%), Smart (-36%), Jaguar (-39%), Subaru (-61%) and Jeep (-64%) all fall even faster than the market.

Second ever Top 5 ranking for the Mercedes A-Class in the UK.

The models ranking is the theatre of a few striking events this month. The Ford Fiesta reclaims the monthly top spot after an excruciating four months drought (its last pole position was in May), this despite a 7% drop to 4.6% share. The VW Golf (+23%) celebrates a 6th consecutive month in the Top 2 with a historical #2 spot year-to-date, eclipsing the Ford Focus by 536 sales. If held until the end of the year, this would be by far the Golf’s highest annual ranking in the UK since the nameplate launched back in 1974 and its first ever podium: its previous best is #4 hit in 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2016. Another milestone the VW Golf is about to reach is being the very first foreign nameplate since records began to rank on the UK annual podium. At the moment it holds the #4 record position with the Peugeot 206 which reached that level in 2002. The Ford Focus is up 10% year-on-year and one spot on last month to #3 and the Nissan Qashqai dives down 21% to #4 after historically topping the monthly UK ranking in September.

The Kia Sportage equals its highest ever ranking at #6 despite a 18% drop.

The surprises are not over in the UK October models chart: the Mercedes A-Class is up four ranks on September to land in 5th place, the nameplate’s second Top 5 ranking this year – and ever – after hitting a record 4th place last April. This is only the 6th time the A-Class appears in the monthly UK Top 10, the first one being in July 2016. Despite a 18% year-on-year drop, the Kia Sportage climbs to #6 overall, equalling its highest ever UK ranking also hit last July. It is the 7th time the Sportage has managed to crack the monthly UK Top 10, the first one being in February 2016. At #10, the Ford Kuga delivers its 5th Top 10 ranking after August 2015, August 2016March 2017 and August 2017. Last but not least, we have a new nameplate in the Top 10 this month: the BMW 4 Series, and this is a surprise as it wasn’t aimed by BMW at being its most popular nameplate. Launched in 2013 as a coupe version of the 3 Series, the 4 nevertheless manages a fantastic 9th place in October, and thus becomes only the third BMW on record to break into the UK Top 10. The previous two are the 3 Series (highest: #3 in December 2006, last: #9 last June) and 1 Series (highest: #5 in December 2012, last: #10 last April). As a reference the 4 Series ranked #31 over the Full Year 2016.

Previous month: UK September 2017: Nissan Qashqai first Japanese model to rank #1

One year ago: UK October 2016: Market up 1.4%, Audi > VW for second time in 3 months

Full October 2017 Top 40 brands and Top 10 models below.

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