Ford was easily Great Britain’s most popular car brand in January – it’s lead over the nearest competitor was more than 4300 sales – but when Volkswagen is united with its underlings, the story changes slightly. Together with the Czech Republic’s Skoda and Spain’s Seat, as well as super-premium Bentley and the Audi luxury brand, Volkswagen held 19.6% of the UK auto market in the first month of 2011. That’s a gain of two percentage points from where the Volkswagen Group left off 2010. Ford is up on the 2010 Year End total, too.

Luxury brands are major players Across The Pond where they all sell small-engined, very fuel efficient variants of their least expensive cars. Before discounts, an up-optioned Ford Focus Titanium 2.0 is about the price of a basic BMW 318i. As a result, so-called luxury car sales represent a large chunk of new car volume in the UK. Take Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz as examples. The three combined in January to grab 17.3% of the UK car market. Compare that with the United States where, in January 2011, the three best-selling luxury auto brands (Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Lexus) owned just 5.6% of the new car market or Canada where the three best-selling luxury auto brands (Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Audi) held just 4.5% of the new car market in January.

In other words, the pie chart for UK auto market share you see below is markedly different from that which you’d normally see on GoodCarBadCar.net.