The Volkswagen Golf was the best selling new car of March 2020 in the UK – but the market plummeted as coronavirus forced showrooms to close, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders confirmed.
New, March 2020 Volkswagen Golf registrations hit 7,103. This small, family class hatchback/estate therefore outperformed the best selling car of the year-to-date; the Ford Fiesta. New Fiesta registrations reached 6,687 so it was the second most popular vehicle of March 2020. The supermini was followed by cars from a wide variety of manufacturers, prices, and classes. These included:
- Mini Hatch (6,019)
- Ford Focus (5,985)
- Nissan Qashqai (5,907)
- Vauxhall Corsa (5,820)
- Mercedes-Benz A-Class (5,351)
- Kia Sportage (4,988)
- Tesla Model 3 (4,718)
- Range Rover Evoque (4,399)
Whereas these cars performed well compared to their rivals coronavirus sent the market into free fall. In March 2020, registrations were 254,684 compared to 458,054 in March 2019. That was 203,370 fewer (-44.4%). Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders Chief Executive, Mike Hawes, claimed the decline is a ‘stark realisation of what happens when economies grind to a halt’.
He said: ‘With the country locked down for much of March, this decline will come as no surprise.’ It could ‘have been worse’ though, Mr Hawes added. Why? Because the new ‘20’ registration plate launched before lock down and there were a ‘significant’ number of advanced orders delivered in the early part of the month.
‘How long the market remains stalled is uncertain’, Mr Hawes continued. However, he had a message of hope for people that rely on the motor industry for their financial security. ‘It will reopen’, he emphasised. ‘We will continue to work with government to do all we can to ensure that the thousands of people employed in the sector are ready for work – and Britain gets back on the move’.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders released further figures that highlight trends in the motor industry. In March 2020:
- petrol was the most popular fuel for new cars (60.1%)
- diesel was the second most popular fuel despite being demonised in recent times (17.6%)
- battery and hybrid cars of various types accounted for a comparatively modest percentage of new registrations (22.3%)
- most cars were registered for the private sector (51.9%), then the fleet sector (46.2%), then the business sector (1.9%).
Furthermore, year-to-date new car registrations were down in January, February, and March 2020. 483,557 cars found homes compared to 701,036 in same period of 2019. That represented a fall of 217,479 (-31%). Let us hope the motor industry recovers quickly.