Brits registered 162,288 new vehicles in May 2012 according to the SMMT, a 7.9% increase over May 2011. The United Kingdom’s new car market is up 2.6% through five months. Ford is very clearly the best-selling new car brand in the UK; Volkswagen is just as clearly the leading auto manufacturing conglomerate.
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BMW sales increased in May, but not to the extent that Audi has been superseded as the UK’s top-selling premium brand in 2012. Audi’s lead over BMW did shrink to 4857 units by the end of May, however. Mercedes-Benz, the third-ranked premium automaker, is more than 17,000 units clear of fourth-ranked Land Rover.
Yes, that’s Land Rover you see ahead of Honda. It’s not abnormal in UK car sales to see Honda trailing the British SUV-maker. This is the third time in 2012 that it’s happened, although Honda outsold Land Rover by nearly 13,000 units in 2011. It’s not that any Honda machine lines up against a Land Rover SUV, but these rankings show the relative weakness of Honda in the United Kingdom, the strength of Land Rover in its home market, and the strength of Honda in the United States. For every Land Rover sold in America in May, Honda sold 35 vehicles.
While Land Rover, Suzuki, Chevrolet, Lexus, and Chrysler posted huge year-over-year percentage gains in May 2012, Subaru continues its slide out of the British new car market’s collective consciousness. Subaru sold only 86 cars in the United Kingdom in May. Bentley and smart both sold more. Year-to-date, Subaru sales are down 22%.
Click the accompanying market share chart for a look at which automakers are truly dominant and which are truly niche-oriented. GoodCarBadCar will shortly publish a list of May 2012’s ten best-selling cars in the UK. For the first time this year, a Ford isn’t in top spot. In the table below you’ll find detailed May 2012 sales figures. Brands are ranked by total volume.