Top 10 best-selling cars
March is always a big month for the British new car market. It sees the introduction of a new registration plate – the 16 plate in this case – and as buyers rush to get a car with the latest number plate it sees a huge uplift in sales.
The month just gone was no exception, with a 5.3% increase in new car registrations compared to March 2015. More than 518,000 new cars were registered in the UK in March – just the third time over half a million new cars have been registered in a single month. This also makes it the biggest month ever since the system was altered to changing the plate twice a year in 1999.
March also sees the numbers for the first quarter published and these figures show that more than 771,000 new cars were sold in the first quarter of 2016. This is a 5.1% increase over the same period in 2015.
Petrol is also starting to take a significant lead over diesel this year, too, petrol attracting over 20,000 extra buyers compared to diesel. More than 260,800 petrol cars were bought last month, as opposed to 240,456 diesel-powered cars.
Alternative-fuelled vehicles (AFVs) – hybrid, plug-in hybrid, fuel cell and all-electric cars – are also on the rise, with nearly 17,500 new registrations in March 2016. This represents a 21.5% increase over March last year, while 25,714 AFVs have found new homes so far this year – a 23.7% increase compared to the same period last year.
Unsurprisingly, the Ford Fiesta remains Britain's favourite new car, in both the monthly and the year-to-date figures, with the Vauxhall Corsa coming in second in both the monthly and year-to-date figures. The Ford Focus comes in third, while the Volkswagen Golf, Nissan Qashqai and Volkswagen Polo come in fourth, fifth and sixth respectively, again in both the monthly and year-to-date numbers.
In the monthly figures, the Vauxhall Astra came in seventh, followed by the MINI hatchback, Fiat 500 and the Audi A3 hatchback. The Astra also came seventh in the year-to-date league table, followed by the Audi A3 in eighth with the Vauxhall Mokka and Fiat 500 in ninth and tenth places respectively.