Saturday 20 September 2008

Top 10 worst & best selling cars of 2008 (UK)

Times are hard in car showrooms across the land but some sales teams are fairing worse than others. And if things are grim now they look to get worse before they get better, with the SMMT forecasting a 10% drop in sales for the remainder of the year.

So who's really feeling the pain? Well, when compiling the 10 worst selling cars in the UK we've looked beyond the bald figures - after all Rolls Royce is clearly going to sell fewer cars than Ford but they operate in totally different ballparks. Instead we've picked out cars that are selling badly compared with direct rivals.

If you're into stats the figures are fascinating too, with gems like the fact with 630 sales in the year to date the Audi R8 actually outsold the Subaru Legacy, Nissan 350Z and Mercedes GL-Class to name a few. Here though is a selection of 10 cars who really should just give up and go home if the sales figures for this year are anything to go on.

As expected Ford and Vauxhall dominate, the latter accounting for four of the top 10 with the Corsa nibbling at the Focus's heels for the crown of Britain's favourite car. Meanwhile the relegation of the Vectra and Mondeo to the bottom two places reflects a shift in our car buying habits.

While this is mainly directed to smaller, more affordable cars the presence of two 'premium' German players shows we haven't quite lost the desire to use our car to project wealth and success. Note, in particular, the 3 Series, now as much as a fixture on British roads as the Vectra and Mondeo it now comfortably outsells.

Top 10 worst selling cars in 2008:

Mercedes Maybach 57/62 - 1 unit sold

Whether it's the credit crunch, an attack on eco awareness or simply the realisation that money doesn't buy taste, the Mercedes-derived über-limo hasn't exactly got super-rich buyers queuing up. In the same period, Rolls-Royce sold 146 Phantom variants. I wouldn't mind buying one myself...

Cadillac BLS/Escalade - 57/8 units sold

The American symbol of being excessive. The brash, bold, in-your-face SUV only sold a mere 8 units. Cadillac's most popular car, BLS isn't as popular as the company hoped with sales topping 57 units.

Lexus SC - 50 units sold

The Mercedes SL shifted more than 700 units this year compared to the 50 units for the Lexus SC and who can blame the sales figures? The Mercedes is better looking and is easier on the petrol. The SC looks bloated and American and has a V8 that can't return more than 24.8mpg.

G-Wiz - 30 units sold

£10,000, top speed of 50mph and runs of batteries....No wonder sales have plummet. You can buy a Seat Ibiza Ecomotive, VW Polo Bluemotion and Skoda Fabia GreenLine for a similar price tag. All of which are far more spacious, better looking and better equipped than the ugly G-Wiz.

Hummer H3 - 11 units sold

Certain American looking cars don't sell here in the UK. Check out sales for the Hyundai Sonata, Kia Magentis, Cadillac STS etc. The H3 hasn't exactly set the sales charts alight. Blame the lack of a diesel engine for that and the £26,495 asking price.

Citroen C6 - 78 units sold

The C6 is sold throughout the world in order to boost sales. Its not the best looking sedan on the market compared to the BMW 5 Series, Volvo S80, Mercedes E-Class and Lexus GS. Its comfortable, good value for money, easy on your wallet, however, it sits too low to the ground compared to the E-Class. The C6 looks alright in certain angles but its not good enough to steal sales away from established premium marques.

Volkswagen Phaeton - 150 units sold

Would you buy a Mercedes S-Class or Volkswagen Phaeton? I thought so. Considering Mercedes sold 1,400 S-Classes this year, the Phaeton has the typical boxy roofline and the wooden interior. Its not all bad, it sold very well in Germany.

Peugeot 1007 - 200 units sold

Here it comes, here it comes, here it comes...or there it stays in the Peugeot showroom. I like the electric sliding doors but that's about it! Bad enough in isolation but when you consider over 10,000 107s were sold over the same period buyers rejection of the radical city car appears complete.

SsangYong Rodius - 200 units sold

The biggest shock with the SsangYong Rodius is that nearly 200 people this year have looked at all the many wonderful, keenly priced and stylish cars on the market, then chanced upon the Rodius and thought "Yup, that's the one for me..." They're brave, I'll give them that.
The looks are enough to have mothers covering their kid's faces as it passes. But just pity the poor child who gets dropped off at the school gate in one of these beasts every morning. The playground taunts alone will take years of therapy to resolve. Not following the herd is a laudable aim. But there are limits...

Perodua Kenari - 70 units sold

One of the most dated and aged cars on the British car market. Similarly priced is the better looking Fiat Panda. Bigger, stylish, more practical...Why buy one of these?

Top 10 best selling cars in 2008:

Ford Focus - 73,429 units sold

With over 1m sold since the first generation debuted in 1998, it remains a popular family car. Although the Corsa outsold it last month, the Ford maintains a healthy lead in the year to date figures, cementing its position as Britain's favourite car. The Focus has a superb ride quality and handling and its range of clean and efficient engines. The fact that all the 1.6 diesels offer CO2 emissions of less than 120g/km, £35 per year running costs is just one of the Focus's many strengths.

Vauxhall Corsa/Astra - 65,593/64,028 units sold

Almost as popular as the Focus, the Corsa is a class-leader when it comes to sales. Although certain Corsa's suffer from faulty handbrakes, the Corsa offers big car comfort and supermini practicality, alongside low running costs.

Set to be replaced next year, the Astra still remains well-liked despite being 4 years old. Low running costs, variety of body-styles, practicality and heavy discounting makes the Astra an all-round winner. Will the next Astra be as popular?

Ford Fiesta - 61,176 units sold

The Fiesta is the fifth best selling car in the country before replaced by an all-new model shows how much Britain love the baby Ford. In the overall rankings for the year to date, the Fiesta does one better too, slotting in behind the Astra to take fourth place.

Given the excitement over the all-new model it's a wonder Ford buyers aren't biding their time for its October sales debut. But it seems the Fiesta's honest, down to earth charms haven't worn out, despite the fact it's somewhat off the pace of its rivals in many areas. Ford will rightly be expecting big things of its successor.

Volkswagen Golf - 43,948 units sold

It was a very slow start for the current Golf. First year sales in Europe topped no more than 40,000 units. The current Golf majoring on quiet luxury, excellent build quality and all the performance you could wish for. Quiet petrol engines are a strong point but the aged diesels aren't the best for refinement. This has been sorted out for the Mark VI, which will offer the new VW Group common-rail diesel and give the Golf the tools it needs to go hunting its Astra and Focus rivals.

Peugeot 207 - 37,965 units sold

Following in the footsteps of the 206, the 207 was in fact the biggest selling car in Europe last year, with sales nearly topping 500,000 units. Small Peugeots have always been very popular in the UK, especially among younger drivers, and this tradition is reflected in the 207's success. Further evidence of this is provided by the fact that Peugeot has already sold over 10,000 107s and 20,000+ 308s so far this year too.

BMW 3 Series - 34,004 units sold

The biggest shock is that the 3-Series outsells both the Vectra and the Mondeo, both considered the default high volume sellers among fleet buyers. The fact that despite this huge success, BMW still manages to contrive an air of exclusivity and status must be a huge irritation to rivals. BMW's uncanny ability to record ultra-low CO2 figures with its company car driver-friendly EfficientDynamics innovations. If this wasn't bad enough the facelifted version out soon is further improved.

Vauxhall Zafira/Vectra - 31,424/29,048 units sold

Taking the format pioneered by Renault with its Scenic and running with it, the Zafira's killer blow is its neat Flex7 seating system, which transforms it from people carrier to load lugger in the blink of an eye. Affordable to buy and own it's not hard to see why Vauxhall leads the field here.

The launch of the Insignia at the British International Motor Show in July officially heralds the venerable Vectra's retirement. But it's enjoying a last hurrah by beating the Mondeo in the sales figures. Thank heavy discounting for this, as dealers clear stock ahead of the Insignia.

Always a fleet favourite, like many cars in their final phase of life the Vectra has matured into a decent, dependable vehicle. It's less graceful than its glamorous successor but has a hard working honesty many drivers appreciate. The Vectra's passing marks the end of an era but few would bet against the Insignia continuing the lineage.

Ford Mondeo - 27,804 units sold

The Mondeo remains a vitally important car for Ford but the trend for downsizing means it could soon be edged out of the top 10 by smaller rivals like the Honda Civic, Renault Megane or the Mini. When it comes to space, comfort and handling though the Mondeo remains a benchmark.

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