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Top UK Car Brands

Brands such as Ford, Volkswagen, Vauxhall, and Mercedes continued to perform well, with 6 cars between them finding their way into the top 10 selling cars of the year. Others, such as Alfa Romeo and Infiniti, took a fair slump, with Alfa seeing a 17.3% fall and Infiniti a fairly catastrophic fall of 78.7%.

The top car so far for 2019, as it has been for quite a while now and pretty comfortably too, was the ever-popular Ford Fiesta supermini. Ford has easily been the most dominant brand with three cars in the top 10, two of which found their way into the top 3. Overall 7 brands are represented in the list of the top 10 most popular models for the year thus far, with 6 of those covering the top 7 spots.

So without any further ado, here’s our list of the top car brands UK and the cars that are propelling their popularity.


When we look at the top 10 selling cars of 2018, it's fairly unsurprising to see that three of them are Fords. It will come as no surprise to tell you that the Ford Fiesta came up on top with 69,702 registrations, and this popularity has very much been continuing throughout 2019.

Following up behind the Fiesta are the Ford Focus, the third most popular car of 2018, and the Ford Kuga, the eighth most popular car of 2018. The Focus has been trailing somewhat of late behind the VW Golf, although so far this year there’s not even 1,000 sales between them.

As the second most popular of the 3 SUVs on the list of the most popular cars of the year, the Kuga has seen over 30,000 registrations so far this year which, when we consider that it’s due to be replaced over the coming months, is even more impressive.


The VW Golf is never going to go out of style. As one of the best British cars for families, it’s in constant battle with the Ford Focus (one that it’s currently winning) for second place behind the Ford Fiesta’s dominance.

The Polo also makes the cut in 9th place on the list of the top car brands UK 2018. While it won’t be giving any of those in the top spots a run for their money, it is nonetheless one of the most popular new cars in the whole country, and perhaps proves that those who are looking to buy superminis are increasingly looking to be seen driving in a more upmarket brand.

Both the Golf and the Polo are great all-rounders with good ride quality, impressive interiors, and efficient engines.


The Vauxhall Corsa remains and probably will always be one of the UK’s favourite cars, so it's no surprise to see it popping up as 2018’s 4th best selling car with almost 50,000 new registrations, coming up very closely behind the ever-popular Ford Focus.

With the Corsa’s current iteration coming to an end, there’s a brand new model coming up very quickly on the horizon this winter.


The British market has really been loving the new Mercedes A-class. This premium hatchback has been responsible for almost an entire third of Mercedes’ sales in the UK, and is miles ahead (if you’ll excuse the pun) of rivals such as the Audi A3 and the BMW 1 series, neither of which incidentally made the top 10 in 2018.

In true Mercedes-Benz fashion, the A-class features high performance, segment-leading tech spec, a lush interior, and affordable finance options to go along with its upmarket image. We don’t need to tell you why so many motorists love Mercedes-Benz.


Having seen 172,048 new registrations by the end of 2018, BMW actually found themselves going down somewhat, but only by 1.7%. This is far from a concern for the German manufacturer, as with a brand-new 3 series on the way and a new 1 series to follow shortly after that, BMW are more than certain to have seen a big upturn once we reach the end of 2019.


Audi has actually seen something of a downturn too, although much more severe than BMW’s 1.7% dip. By the end of 2018, Audi had seen 143,739 registrations across the board, which is a fairly substantial downturn of 17.9% on the year before.

This year Audi also released their first all-electric car, the e-tron SUV available in three different versions. Will we have seen Audi’s fortunes turned around somewhat by the end of 2019?


Toyota saw themselves gaining 101,986 registrations in 2017, but come the end of 2018 that was down to 101,922. Although that’s only a difference of 63 units, so we doubt Toyota have been losing too much sleep over it.


As the third of the three SUVs to make the cut of 2018’s top 10, the Kia Sportage has been continuing to fall back somewhat farther away from the Nissan Qashquai and the Ford Kuga to retain it’s 10th place spot. That’s not to say that it didn’t have a strong year in 2018 to get to that position though, with just shy of 31,000 new registrations.

The Kia Sportage, much like its aforementioned rivals the Nissan Qashquai and the Ford Kuga, is something of an all-rounder, although it’s a well balanced one for sure and one of the best British cars thanks to its warranty protection and price point. One major selling point for Kia that’s been tempting customers, though, is their pretty remarkable seven-year 100,000 miles warranty.


Nissan’s popularity seemed to be going downhill somewhat of late as a whole raft of new competitors entered the already pretty crowded compact SUV market. Regardless, though, the selling power of the Qashquai has yet to be defeated, coming in at 6th place overall for 2018 (with more than 46 thousand registrations) and continuing to sell incredibly well throughout 2019, and a fair way ahead of its closest rival, the aforementioned Ford Kuga. In fact, in October of this year it was the second best selling car in the land, beaten only by the powerhouse that is the Ford Fiesta.


With 34,387 new registrations, the MINI Hatch has managed to stick to its 7th place spot on the list of the top 10 selling cars in the UK. It won’t come as a surprise to anyone that’s ever seen a road in the UK that the Mini Hatch remains one of the most popular options for UK buyers looking to purchase a small car (although its classification as a small car is somewhat ironic given the size difference between new and original MINIs), and its appeal is looking to continue and grow well into 2020 as Mini are set to release the zero emission MINI Electric version of the MINI Hatch.

The Fastest Growing Brands of the Past 20 Years

By going over government data for the past 20 years, it’s possible to put together the rate at which the fastest growing car brands in the UK have grown, and there are some surprising trends. Who would’ve thought that the MG would make a successful comeback? Or that there’d be a huge boom for the luxury car?

The MG Makes a Comeback

The old MG was a classic, first established in 1920 and one of British motoring’s all-time greats, and boy did they have a comeback.

Some 20 years ago at the end of the 1990s and the beginning of the 2000s MG was seeing a growth rate of 337%. If we fast forward to 2008 and 2012, however, that growth rate has jumped to 469%, and has only continued to grow since. Come 2017, the growth rate had reached 782% by the end of 2017, making it the year’s fastest growing car manufacturer. In that year, the number of new MGs registered hit 4171, up from 473 only 4 years prior. Today, that number has hit 7,326 new MG registrations.

Luxury Cars Are On the Rise

New car registrations of luxury cars have been going up and up year on year. Brands such as McLaren, Porsche, and Lamborghini are among the key names here, and the rise has been put down to increased consumer confidence following the years of austerity.

Of all of the luxury brands, Bentley have come out on top with the biggest growth, especially between 2003 and 2007 where it reached 766%. The number of new Bentleys registered in 2003 stood at 172, but by 2007, this leaped to 1,490.

McLaren also saw huge gains, especially between 2008 and 2012, and shows no signs of slowing down either now or in the future. In the last 4 years alone, McLaren have seen a growth rate of 581%, and have recently delivered their 15,000th car in just 7 years.

It would also seem though that Maserati are making something of a comeback, looking to knock McLaren from their luxury car top spot. In the past 4 years, Maserati have seen a growth rate of 506%.

Tesla Arrives on the Scene

If we’re to follow the trends of Tesla, we can very much assume that we’ll start to be dominated by electric cars any day now. Between 2013 and 2017, the electric car giant saw a growth rate of 621%, putting them among the top 3 fastest growing car brands for 2017.

Obviously there are many different private number pates for each of these vehicles mentioned above. The most popular would have to be "BMW" followed by "MG" and Mercedes where the example numbers would be 123 BMW - 7 MG - 8 MB. CarReg have many of these types of private number plates in stock. Click here to view.

We have many more ideas for vehicle makes and models here.


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