The British car market loves premium brand vehicles. What makes a vehicle “premium” isn’t easy to determine. Take the Audi A1 as an example. Its base price of £13,420 is more than £2000 less than the Ford Focus’s MSRP. Can that possibly be a premium car? Assuming that it is, that anything badged with a BMW propeller or Mercedes-Benz tri-star or Maserati’s trident is a premium car, and the British new car market was 22% premium in June. In the United States, premium brands owned 11% of the new vehicle market. There’s no such thing as an Audi A1 in America, no Volvo C30 with 115 horsepower and a price that’s lower than the Volkswagen Golf.
This is the twelfth consecutive month that the British car market has been in decline. Much of that has to do with the old scrappage scheme, but the economy’s not exactly in a state of bliss. Some people don’t have jobs. The unemployed don’t buy cars. The abundance of red font in the table below shows how far the tentacles of decline have flung. Ssangyong’s downfall was the worst in June. Subaru’s struggles were mighty, as well. Jeep’s June improvements were striking, but seven other brands posted gains greater than 20% last month.