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UK's top selling cars: Hatchbacks remain firm favourites

Ford Fiesta. Photo: Ford
The top-selling car in the UK in October was the Ford Fiesta. Photo: Ford (Ford)

Hatchbacks remain the most popular cars in the UK, with the Ford Fiesta taking the number one spot for new car sales in October.

The top-selling car in October was the Ford Fiesta (F) with 4,230 registrations, followed by the Nissan Qashqai (7201.T) at 4,228.

Ukraine, Kyiv - 16 July 2021: Silver Nissan Qashqai car moving on the street. Editorial
The Nissan Qashqai took second place on the list of top-selling cars in the UK in October. Photo: Getty (YuriyVlasenko via Getty Images)

The Volkswagen Golf (VOW3.DE) came in third with 3,339 sold. With 3,218 new registrations, the Ford Puma was at number four, followed by the Vauxhall Corsa in fifth place.

UK car sales jumped by a quarter last month but the automotive sector remains on course to deliver its lowest new car registrations total since 1982.

Registrations jumped by 26.4% to 134,344 units in October, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

But despite this increase, the SMMT expects 2022 to be the worst year for car sales in four decades.

“Ongoing supply chain shortages, surging inflation and a growing cost of living crisis have led to a -2.2% downward revision of the market outlook for the year, with 1.566 million registrations now anticipated. This puts 2022 on course to be the market’s toughest year since 1982,” the SMMT said.

The SMMT attributed the increase in registrations to “strong order books” being partly fulfilled.

Read more: UK service sector contracts steeply as inflation hits business confidence

But it noted that October 2021 was “particularly disappointing”.

The total number of new cars registered so far this year is a third below pre-coronavirus levels.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “A strong October is hugely welcome, albeit in comparison with a weak 2021, but it is still not enough to offset the damage done by the pandemic and subsequent supply shortages.

“Next year’s outlook shows recovery is possible and EV (electric vehicle) growth looks set to continue, but to achieve our shared net zero goals, that growth must accelerate and consumers given every reason to invest.

“This means giving them the economic stability and confidence to make the switch, safe in the knowledge they will be able to charge — and charge affordably — when needed.

“The models are there, with more still to come; so must the public chargepoints.”

The Volkswagen Golf was the third best-selling car in the UK in October. Photo: Volkswagen (Volkswagen)

Zero-emission-capable car deliveries continued to grow in volume, with battery-electric vehicle (BEV) registrations increasing by 23.4% to 19,933 and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) by 6.2% to 8,899.

Chris Knight, UK Automotive Partner, KPMG, said: “The order books for manufacturers remain strong, particularly for EVs, with long wait times still in place for new vehicles — reflecting the importance consumers place in having a new car.

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“However, rising interest rates are impacting monthly repayment costs and inflation is putting pressure on manufacturers to raise prices. With an expensive winter looming, many consumers are reassessing or pausing new car purchase decisions.

“With more consumers having to be led by price, some car makers feel there is a market space to be seized upon — including manufacturers from the east moving into western car markets, particularly hoping to secure lower-cost electric vehicle market share.”

Watch: These were the best-selling cars in September