The positive tone of April and May continued through into June as new car sales continue to return to normality – although still well short of pre-pandemic levels.
However, the picture was complicated by several manufacturers running into severe parts shortages brought on by pandemic shutdowns. The big-selling Mercedes-Benz A-Class, which had been third in the year’s sales charts, disappeared out of the top ten in June.
Porsche and Land Rover also seemed to suffer more than most, with their sales numbers well down. On the other hand, some car companies did very well – as we’ll see below. It was a tight battle for best-selling supermini this month, with small hatchbacks filling fourth to eighth places with some very small margins between them.
We’ve covered the detail of the monthly registration results already this week, so let’s look at the top-selling cars of the month.
The UK’s top-selling cars, June 2021
1. Tesla Model 3
The Tesla Model 3 wasn’t just the country’s best-selling electric car, it was the best-selling car of all. The American company has certainly found the magic recipe to lure thousands of petrol and diesel car owners over to its popular electric saloon, which will have long-standing manufacturers scratching their heads as to why their own electric models are not selling up a storm in the same way.
The Tesla Model 3 currently holds an Expert Rating of 86% according to our industry-leading Expert Rating index, which is much higher than an Audi A4 or Mercedes C-Class, and just behind the BMW 3 Series.
2. Volkswagen Golf
Another great month for the Volkswagen Golf, after it topped the charts in May, means that it has overtaken the Mercedes-Benz A-Class in year-to-date sales to sit third at the year’s halfway point. After a slow start to the year, the Golf is now delivering consistently strong sales for Volkswagen – helped by surging fleet registrations.
As more local reviews of different UK-spec Golf models have been published in the media, the Golf’s initial stellar Expert Rating slipped from a high of 85% to its current level of 80%. The much-vaunted ‘all-digital’ interior has drawn criticism from reviewers, who have found it inferior to the more conventional cabin of the previous-generation model.
3. Ford Puma
The top-selling Ford this month was once again the talented little Puma SUV, which reached new heights to sit in third place. On the one hand, it’s good news for Ford to have another big-selling model in the family. But on the other hand, this is hurting sales of the Fiesta, which is falling further behind the Vauxhall Corsa in year-to-date sales.
June’s strong result has also lifted the Puma above the Nissan Qashqai to sit fifth in year-to-date registrations at the halfway mark of 2021.
Ford’s junior crossover has been popular with critics, currently holding a rating of 82% on our unique Expert Rating index. This remains a best-in-class score for supermini SUVs, but it has slipped a few points in the last few months as we’ve added some new reviews and other sources have revised their initial opinions.
4. Vauxhall Corsa
Despite slipping back to fourth place in June, the Vauxhall Corsa extended its lead at the top of the charts over the Ford Fiesta. That means that the Vauxhall now holds a sales lead of almost 3,000 units at the halfway mark for the year, and it looks increasingly likely that the Corsa will finally wrest the best-selling car crown away from its arch rival after about a decade on top for the Fiesta.
The petrol and diesel versions of the new Corsa currently hold an Expert Rating of 72% on our industry-leading Expert Rating index, suggesting that journalists are not as excited about the Corsa as customers. That score puts it in the bottom half of the supermini class, although the all-electric Corsa-e does score slightly better with an Expert Rating of 74%.
- Vauxhall Corsa (2020 onwards) – Expert Rating
- Vauxhall Corsa-e (2020 onwards) – Expert Rating
- More Vauxhall ratings, reviews, news and features
5. Ford Fiesta
The year is not really getting any better for the Fiesta, although June was at least an improvement on May. At half-time in the 2021 sales race, the Fiesta is nearly 3,000 registrations behind the Vauxhall Corsa and there doesn’t seem to be any indication that it is going to close the gap, let alone overhaul its rival.
The Blue Oval brand’s dominance of the new car market is also slipping compared to its usual lofty standards. Overall, Ford was third in registrations for June, a long way behind Volkswagen and only fractionally ahead of BMW.
The Fiesta’s struggle becomes starker when you compare pre-pandemic results. Compared to 2019, the new car market is down about 28% at the end of June. However, the Fiesta is down by more than 50% for the same period, so Ford is literally shifting half the number of Fiestas it was two years ago. By comparison, the Corsa is down by less than 19%, so its net gain on the Fiesta has been enormous.
The Fiesta currently holds an Expert Rating of 81% in The Car Expert’s unique Expert Rating index, which aggregates reviews from 25 of the UK’s top motoring websites. That’s some 9% better than the Corsa, so the motoring media still clearly prefers the Ford even if customers currently say otherwise.
6. Volkswagen Polo
It was a bit of a fall for the Polo, dropping from third in May to sixth in June, although it was in the middle of a close battle with the Fiesta just ahead of it and the Toyota Yaris and Mini hatch just behind it.
A second strong month in a row also lifted the Polo from tenth to eighth in year-to-date registrations as the year hit the halfway mark, deposing the BMW 3 Series and Volvo XC40. The success of the Polo and Golf in June also helped Volkswagen to comfortably retain top spot in the charts for best-selling manufacturers, with sister brand Audi holding second place and eternal market leader Ford just edging out BMW for third.
The Polo holds an Expert Rating of 80% in The Car Expert’s New Car Ratings calculator, which is good but still a few points behind its Spanish cousin, the SEAT Ibiza. A facelifted model has just been announced, which is expected to arrive here in the UK in the next month or two.
7. Toyota Yaris
It was another step forward for the Toyota Yaris in June, improving from in eighth place in May up to seventh – and only six registrations behind the Polo in sixth place. This also helped lift it into the top ten cars in year-to-date sales.
The Yaris currently holds an overall score of 76% on our Expert Rating index, which is several points behind the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo, although about four points ahead of the Vauxhall Corsa. It has received a number of awards in recent months, including European Car of the Year 2021, so it may be that the Yaris is going to become a far more regular sight in the top ten than its unloved predecessor.
8. Mini hatch
Another facelift for the ageing Mini hatch has helped keep sales ticking over as it continues to occupy space in the bottom half of the top ten. Eighth this month was one step better than ninth in May, although not enough for the Mini to break into the top ten for year-to-date sales.
Despite being the oldest car in the top ten, the Mini hatch still holds a very solid score of 80% in our Expert Ratings aggregator, which is better than most cars in its class. The new Mini Electric model dosn’t score so well, with an Expert Rating of only 73% – although this may change by a few points (either up or down) once the facelifted version is reviewed.
- Mini hatch (2014 onwards) – Expert Rating
- Mini Electric (2020 onwards) – Expert Rating
- More Mini ratings, reviews, news and features
9. BMW 3 Series
The BMW 3 Series returned to the top ten for the first time since March. With its ninth place in the top ten this month, it holds the same position in year-to-date sales. Strong fleet registrations over the second quarter of the year will have certainly helped that, as the 3 Series has always been a popular company car.
The 3 Series currently rates one point better than the electric Tesla Model 3 in our Expert Rating index, and a long way ahead of other petrol/diesel/plug-in rivals from Audi, Mercedes and others. As of July 2021, it has an overall score of 87%, which is exceptionally high.
10. Kia Sportage
The current Kia Sportage is very much in run-out mode, with an all-new model unveiled in the last month that will arrive in the UK before the end of this year. Depending on how much stock of the current model Kia has available, that could mean either some very good deals to clear the decks or sales slowing down to a trickle as stocks are exhausted ahead of the new model’s arrival.
The Sportage currently holds an Expert Rating of 72% in our aggregated Expert Ratings index, which is midfield for medium SUVs but a couple of points behind the also-about-to-be-replaced Nissan Qashqai and quite a margin behind the top cars in the mid-size SUV segment. The new Sportage certainly has a much bolder and more distinctive look than the current model, and will be interesting to see whether buyers flock to it or look elsewhere.