AM registrations perception: the reasonably priced automobile manufacturers delivering stellar gross sales

In his newest in-depth evaluation of the UK’s automobile registrations panorama for AM Journal, David Francis finds the worldwide provide woes and cost-of-living disaster could be favouring reasonably priced automobile manufacturers.

The September market was up 4.6% at 225,269 models. To place that into perspective, pre-2017 the hypothesis was how far previous 450,000 the market would go.

Previously two years, we’ve not even been in a position to get to 250,000. The one progress space, after all, is in battery electrical automobiles (BEVs), with the Society of Motor Producers and Merchants (SMMT) celebrating the registration of the one millionth instance final month.

Nonetheless, the extra important statistic could also be that, in September, BEV (16.5%) practically matched full hybrids and plug-in hybrids mixed (18.4%).

5 years in the past, BEVs took solely one-ninth of all electrical automobile (EV) gross sales, and they’re now the dominant EV sort.

Plug-in hybrids are fading away as they now price an identical quantity to a BEV. Additionally, the charging nervousness associated to BEVs is decreasing. PHEVs have been all the time seen as a bridge expertise to BEVs, however the bridge is popping out to be shorter than anticipated.


At a producer stage, Ford is definitely wanting fairly perky for a change. An excellent September (9.2%) share has led to a small improve for the 12 months (7.8% year-to-date – YTD – 2022 vs 7.5% YTD 2021).

Each the Puma (up 5.9%) and the Kuga (up 20.2%) MG and Dacia’s progress in September displays product high quality, not simply frugality are doing nicely, though the unlikeliest rise has come from the dated Ecosport (up 76.2%).

Nonetheless, the Fiesta and the Focus proceed to battle and are down roughly 20% and 40% respectively.

In second place, VW is down a whopping 24.0%.

The one typical mannequin that elevated gross sales in any respect was the Arteon, however that may be a fringe participant at finest. Even the ID3, supposedly VW’s most essential mannequin for the reason that Golf Mark 1 in 1974, had a gross sales fall.

The one consolation for VW is that almost all its fashions fell by an identical quantity, strongly suggesting that the decline is because of VW Group microchips going to costlier fashions, slightly than due to a decline within the attraction of VW merchandise.

In third place was Kia (that phrase nonetheless takes some getting used to).

Surprisingly for a model more and more identified for crossovers and EVs, its quickest rising mannequin was its most conservative. The Ceed grew by 42%, and is now the fifth best-selling C-segment hatchback, simply forward of the Ford Focus.

Behind Kia, Audi and BMW are, as standard, in lockstep with fewer than 500 models between them.

Nonetheless, simply behind the German duo is Toyota, which has been growing its share for many of this 12 months.

Depending on availability, it’s not unattainable that Toyota might overtake the German premium manufacturers and end the 12 months in fourth place, which might be its highest-ever place within the UK.

The new Vauxhall AstraVauxhall is regular in sixth place on 5.5% share. That isn’t a foul end result, however the Astra is a possible trigger for concern.

First deliveries of the brand new mannequin have been in April, however it’s not but even within the High 20 C-segment hatchbacks, having been overtaken by Cupra’s Born.

Vehicles are historically at their most worthwhile of their first couple of years when retail clients are most eager to purchase high-spec variations, so the Astra actually must shift by way of the gears.

Exterior the High 10, the 2 stellar performers have been MG (up 66.9%) and Dacia (up 60.4%).

That is partly a mirrored image of financial circumstances that encourage frugality, but it surely additionally displays the strengths of the automobiles themselves.

To take the instance of the Dacia Sandero, which now outsells its Clio sibling by 2:1, what precisely are clients lacking out on in return for extra space and a cheaper price? Aside from barely more durable cabin plastics, which most individuals most likely both by no means discover, or cease noticing after the primary 5 minutes, there are few downsides.


Among the many important manufacturers to have misplaced share has been Land Rover (-26.5%). Clearly SUVs are usually not going out of style, however Land Rover seems to have been hit more durable than most by the chip scarcity.

When confronted with a alternative of retaining the massive boys, equivalent to Stellantis (and even BMW) blissful, or retaining Land Rover nicely equipped, JLR appears to be in direction of the again of the queue.

The foremost model that has fallen the furthest is Seat, down by 55.0%, however that appears to be little to do with the fashions it’s promoting. In any case, three years in the past, Seat was steadily growing market share and gave the impression to be heading in direction of 3%.

The issue seems to be fratricide: Cupra, as soon as Seat’s efficiency sub-brand, is now a fully-fledged model in its personal proper, and appears to be gobbling up each Seat’s manufacturing slots and its consumers. Spain is just not a low-cost nation anymore, so it makes extra sense for mum or dad VW to pay attention assets on higher-margin Cupras.

At a phase stage, metropolis vehicles continued their slide (down 21.6%), with extra opponents leaving the phase.

September YTD 2022 car registrations shift by market segmentThere are successfully solely 5 fashions left (Fiat 500/500E, Toyota Aygo X, Kia Picanto and Hyundai i10), however that, at the very least, means every one can promote in respectable numbers.

As has been the case for the previous two years, the supermini phase (down 1.9%) has fallen by lower than the general market, as extra households have determined {that a} B-segment crossover is sufficiently big for his or her wants.

Two of the segments which have declined most sharply are compact govt (down 21.6%) and govt fashions (down 24.3%), each struggling as consumers transfer to premium crossovers – extra BMW X3 and fewer BMW 3 Sequence gross sales.

Massive household saloons have additionally declined, however this has been a given for a lot of the previous 20 years.

For the complete 12 months, the SMMT is forecasting 1.6 million registrations, adopted by 1.9 million in 2023.

If forecasting is often laborious, it’s near-impossible at current.

The chip scarcity ought to ease off throughout 2023, boosting the market. Nonetheless, rates of interest are rising, and it’s attainable that home costs will fall – shoppers with falling home values are historically much less doubtless to purchase a brand new automobile.

Therefore you could possibly make case for any quantity between 1.75 million and 1.95 million for 2023.

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