Inside the industry: September’s eye-catching sales statistics

Month-ends always throw up some interesting car sales and registrations statistics. Here are a few that caught our eye this time.

Do we have a battle for the UK best-seller on our hands? Perennial leader the Ford Fiesta is ahead, with 39,436 units registered, but the new Vauxhall Corsa is making up lost ground. It topped the September chart and is now on 35,735 units for the year.

Diesel, the dominant fuel until a few years ago, has a market share of 14.3% so far in 2020, while the fastest-growing sector is electric cars, with 6.7%. Electric and hybrid cars together topped 10% of the market for the first time in September.

One brand has officially grown its UK registrations in 2020: MG has 14,236 to its name so is up 52.2%. We say ‘officially’ because Tesla is also believed to be up, thanks to the Model 3, but it states its figures separately.

This growth puts MG in touching distance of Dacia (16,434), Jaguar (18,362) and Mazda (18,796) and ahead of Lexus (11,341) and Mitsubishi (7457).

DS (accountable for 474 UK sales last month, 0.14% of the market) has shifted more cars in Europe this year than Lexus and Alfa Romeo and is within a few hundred of Jaguar. A share of more than 10% in the executive market in France boosts its total considerably.

If you like to have sales staff attending to your every whim, try Subaru. Its 69 UK dealers registered a paltry 34 cars in August and a scarcely stronger 272 last month. That’s close to half a car per dealer per week.

Alfa Romeo fared little better, registering 331 cars in September across its UK network of 48 dealers. Only Smart (320), Bentley (263), Polestar (218), Maserati (77) and Alpine (10) made fewer.

Some 40% of cars sold so far in Europe in 2020 were SUVs. Sales are down around 10% year on year in an overall market about 30% down. The Peugeot 2008 and Renault Captur are vying for top spot, chased by the Volkswagen T-Roc.

Plug-in cars accounted for 81.6% of Norwegian sales in September – a record. Fully electric cars accounted for 61.5% of the total.

Europeans have bought more MPVs this year than executive cars (think the Audi A6, Mercedes E-Class, BMW 5 Series and above).

Lithuania is so far the least affected EU nation year on year, with registrations running at about 10% down. Croatia is the hardest hit, being almost 50% down.