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VW Golf outsells Ford Fiesta as overall UK car sales decline

Demand for cars has dropped in all areas of the market, according to the latest SMMT figures, and the Ford Fiesta has been replaced at the top of the UK’s best-sellers by the VW Golf.

A mere 207 extra sales allowed the VW Golf to knock the ever-popular Ford Fiesta into second place in June, 2017, although it is worth noting the latter is being phased out in preparation for the new model (2017 Ford Fiesta review here).

Overall car sales declined across the board for the third consecutive month, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). The figure fell by 4.8 per cent compared to a year ago to a total of 243,454 new cars registered.

The decline is being emphasised by the fact car sellers and buyers were trying to beat the April 2017 VED changes, which have seen a lot of cars financially penalised in the short-term, and that the first half of 2017 was the second biggest on record.

Alternative fuel vehicles continued their upward growth, rising to a 4.4 per cent of the market share in June ─ more than 10,721 vehicles, up from 8,311 a year ago. To put that into perspective, petrol cars accounted for 129,169 registrations.

Diesels, now enemy number one in the combustion engine world, saw a drop of 14.7 per cent to 103,564 units. This time last year, diesels accounted for 47.5 per cent of registrations overall. In 2017 it is 42.5 per cent.

Despite a downward drop, SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes remains positive: “As forecast, demand for new cars has started to cool following five consecutive years of solid growth, but the numbers are still strong and the first half of the year is the second biggest on record.”

“Provided consumer and business confidence holds, we expect demand to remain at a similarly high level over the coming months,” he added.

Hawes also said it was “encouraging” to see hybrids, plug-in hybrids and electric car sales on the up, but noted there was a need for “more long-term incentives” to make them a more common sight in the UK. The Government recently made it harder to achieve the full plug-in grant of £5,000.

The SMMT has been against Brexit. It warned leaving the EU could see an extra £1,500 added to the price of a typical family car and potentially endanger the numerous manufacturers that use the UK as a base for delivering cars to the rest of Europe.

A number of manufacturers have already increased the price of their cars to account for the rising costs behind the scenes.

Although the VW Golf came top in June, the supermini still has more than 19,000 sales over the second-place Focus when it comes to annual sales. The complete best-sellers list awaits.

Best-selling cars of June 2017

  1. Volkswagen Golf (8,808 cars)
  2. Ford Fiesta (8,601)
  3. Ford Focus (8,283)
  4. Vauxhall Astra (6,977)
  5. Mini (6,630)
  6. Vauxhall Corsa (5,739)
  7. Nissan Qashqai (5,103)
  8. Volkswagen Polo (4,705)
  9. BMW 3 Series (4,264)
  10. Mercedes-Benz C-Class (4,102)

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