The United Kingdom has posted its highest full year new car sales result since 2007, with 2,044,699 registrations recorded in 2012.
That promising figure shows a 5.3 per cent rise year on year, pushing the market past two million units again. Total sales were, however, still 14.9 per cent down on the pre-GFC figure of 2.4 million tallied four years ago.
Buoyed by increased taxes affecting thirsty, larger-capacity vehicles, demand was strong from private buyers who are increasingly shifting to new, low-emissions vehicles.
The private sector recorded the biggest increase of 12.9 per cent year on year, more than double the average increase.
Top-seller honours go to the Ford Fiesta (top) for the third year running, with 109,265 UK buyers signing for the city-sized hatchback. It was followed 20,000 units behind by rival Vauxhall Corsa (above – 89,434), while its sibling Ford Focus (83,115) took third.
There's another sizeable step down to the bottom half of the charts, with the UK-built Nissan Qashqai (nee Dualis – 45,671) in sixth, and BMW 3 Series (44,521) in seventh. The Volkswagen Polo (41,901), Mercedes-Benz C-Class (37,261), and BMW 1 Series (34,488) round out an all-European-built top 10.
Interestingly, the only model common to Australia’s top 10 was the Ford Focus (below), which posted 18,586 sales and took 10th place overall here – a quarter of the UK sales tally, and seven rungs behind. Ford and Nissan were the only brands common to both markets’ top sales charts, with Mazda, Toyota, and Hyundai achieving top positions here, but not in the UK.