Car companies’ half-year report card 2017

Who's doing better than last year, and who's worse off?

Aston Martin Rapide wheel

With the first half of the year behind us, the new car market has been quite volatile. A monster month in March was largely due to the government’s new road tax rules, which in turn led to a very quiet April. By May, a general election had been called and that always puts a dampener on new car sales.

Although total new car registrations are down about 1.3% on last year’s record numbers, the detail within has been interesting.

Diesel sales have practically stalled in the last three months, down 20% from 2016 levels, which will be causing headaches at many car companies and dealerships. Hybrid and electric vehicle sales continue to increase, a pattern which looks set to continue as what are currently referred to as “alternatively-fuelled vehicles” become the new normal.

As always, some car brands have enjoyed strong growth, many are in a roughly similar place to last year and others have fallen alarmingly. Below, we take a look at the ten best performers and ten worst performers, based on the 2017 results compared to last year.

(Note: The biggest winner in percentage terms is actually Chevrolet, but since the manufacturer no longer officially sells cars in the UK, we have not included it here. Also, the SMMT did not report McLaren’s UK registration numbers for the corresponding period in 2016, so its growth cannot be measured).

The ten biggest winners so far for 2017:

Aston Martin (up 110%)

Aston Martin DB11 Henley Royal Regatta edition

Aston Martin has more than doubled its sales results compared to the first six months of 2016. This will largely be due to the introduction of the all-new DB11 model, and a seemingly-endless run of limited edition Vantages as the model comes to the end of its model cycle.

The future is looking bright once again for Aston Martin, with the all-new Vantage due to appear later this year, and the new DBX crossover set to enter production in 2019.


Infiniti (up 36%)

Infiniti Q60 coupe

In the UK and Europe, Infiniti has always struggled to emulate the brand’s success and market presence in the US. But the company continues to push on, and has made some significant investment in Euro-specific models like the Q30 and QX30, both built in Nissan’s Sunderland plant right here in the UK.

A new Q60 coupé adds brand presence and showroom appeal, but is not likely to significantly boost sales numbers.


Next page: SUVs and lightweights

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