The UK’s two best-selling new cars for July were both built in Britain, as the Nissan Qashqai topped the new car registration charts ahead of the Mini hatch.
Private new car sales were steady in July, according to monthly registration data published this morning by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), although overall results were down 9% thanks to continuing poor results for fleet registrations.
The ongoing downturn in new car registrations is still largely due to global supply problems, although there have been various reports to suggest that things are now starting to improve for several car companies. The SMMT has revised its overall 2022 forecast down, which was expected after a slow first half of the year, but predicts that the last few months could see better news.
Plug-in hybrids falling flat
While fully electric cars and regular hybrids continue to grow their market share, sales of plug-in hybrids were off the pace again in July. This has been an emerging trend of 2022, as market share of plug-in hybrids has fallen drastically.
Regular hybrids (which can’t be plugged in) and full EVs continue to be in high demand, which suggests that customers want to either go all-in on electric power or they want some electrification benefits without having to change their driving habits at all. So it appears that the halfway-house option of a plug-in hybrid is being left behind.
It’s also worth pointing out that while EV market share continues to grow every month, there are considerable fluctuations in results because the largest EV car company operates very differently to every other car company. Tesla doesn’t have normal dealerships for selling cars to consumers, so it has months of huge sales (like March, where it claimed about 13,000 sales), whereas in July it officially registered… three cars.
As you can imagine, this makes it impossible to read too much into month-by-month results. However, at least it is becoming more transparent as the SMMT finally now appears to be publishing Tesla’s complete registration data.
Good month, bad month
Despite the ongoing challenges facing the car companies and a market that was down 9% overall, there are always some companies performing better than others.
Relative to the overall market, it was a good month for Alfa Romeo, Alpine, Bentley, Cupra, Dacia, DS Automobiles, Genesis, Hyundai, Land Rover, MG, Nissan, Porsche and Renault – all of these brands outperformed the overall market by at least 10%
Meanwhile, it wasn’t quite as exciting for Abarth, Citroën, Honda, Jeep, Lexus, Mazda, Polestar, SEAT, Skoda, Smart, Subaru, Suzuki, Vauxhall, Volkswagen and Volvo – all of these underperformed against the overal market by at least 10%.
Qashqai qashes in
For the second time this year, the British-built Nissan Qashqai topped the monthly sales charts in July, beating the venerable Mini hatch by about 100 units. Great news for all of the workers in Sunderland and Oxford, as well as for all of the companies that supply those two factories.
Despite it being one of the oldest models on sale (the current model was launched way back in 2014), the Mini shows no sign of slowing down as it heads towards its expected replacement next year sometime.
The rest of the top ten was yet another mixed bunch as car companies struggle to maintain supply of vehicles. Interestingly, it was probably the most evenly distributed top ten we’ve seen in a long time, with small margins between almost every position on the leaderboard. There were two debutants this month, with both the Audi A1 and new Toyota Aygo X appearing for the first time.
In terms of year-to-date sales, the Vauxhall Corsa remains on top and actually increased its lead over the second-placed Ford Puma, which was absent from the top ten after a solid few months. It looks like the Corsa is well on its way to successfully defending its 2021 sales crown.
We’ll update our running top ten report in the next day or so. Next month will inevitably be a quiet one, as August is one of the two slowest months of the year ahead of the bi-annual number plate change in September.