The Ford Cortina sold 193,784 units in 1979, a all-time annual volume record.
* Click on the title for the Top 25 best-selling nameplates and Top 30 foreign nameplates *
We can share with you an updated ranking exclusive to BSCB: the best-selling nameplates in the country, ranked by their volume record year and covering the past 50 years since records began. Since 1965, 15 nameplates have sold upwards of 100.000 annual units at least once, with only one foreign model among them: the Peugeot 206.
The Ford Cortina holds the record for the highest sales volume achieved in a single year in the UK with 193.784 units sold in 1979. The Ford Escort follows at 181.218 in 1989 and the Ford Sierra rounds up the podium at 175.911 also in 1989, making it the highest-selling model that never managed to be #1… The Austin Morris 1100, Ford Fiesta and Focus are the only other nameplates to have crossed the 150.000 annual sales mark.
Vauxhall’s highest seller is the Cavalier with 138.357 units in 1990, while the Austin Metro peaked at 137.303 sales in 1983. Notice the Morris Marina at #11 thanks to 114.600 units sold in 1973 and the Ford Anglia at #18 with 84.589 sales in 1965.
The Top 2 foreign models volume records were delivered in 2002: the Peugeot 206 at a seemingly unbeatable 101.019 units, which earned it a 4th place, at the time the highest annual ranking ever hit by a foreign model in the UK. The Renault Clio comes in 2nd at 86.336 sales that same year and the VW Golf ranks third with a new record of 74.605 hit in 2017, also beating the record for highest ranking for a foreign nameplate at #2 that year.
The Datsun Cherry ranked #8 in the UK in 1981, a Japanese ranking record for over 30 years.
The Peugeot 306 at #4 broke the foreign model volume record 4 consecutive times between 95 and 98. In fact Peugeot, once a local producer, places no less than 8 models in the Top 17 highest selling foreign nameplates: the 206 (#1), 306 (#4), 207 (#5), 307 (#9), 205 (#13), 405 (#14), 106 (#15) and 406 (#17). Sister brand Citroen places the Xsara at #6 and the Saxo at #24. Note the BMW 3 Series at #7 thanks to a peak of 65.489 units in 2003. The next best-selling premium nameplates are the Mercedes C-Class (#20) and A-Class (#23) both thanks to volume records established in 2017.
The Nissan Micra held the record annual volume for a Japanese model from 1989 to 2015.
In 2015 the Nissan Qashqai became the first Japanese model to break into the annual UK Top 5, beating this record in 2017 to #4. In 2015 also, the Qashqai broke the annual volume record for a Nippon model (60.814) previously held by the Nissan Micra since 1989 (54.175), then lifting it to 62.682 in 2016 and 64.216 in 2017. Interestingly, the Micra never managed to break into the year-end Top 10, a feat that only the Datsun Sunny (in 1977, 78, 82 and 83) and Datsun Cherry (1981) have managed.
UK All-time Top 25 best-selling nameplates and Top 30 foreign nameplates below.