UK 2022 car sales analysis: winners and losers – CAR Magazine

► How UK car market fared last year
► Provisional figures for 2022
► New-car sales shrink again

In case you hadn’t noticed, the new-car market remains volatile – and new figures released later today will show that Brits bought 2% fewer cars in 2022 than they did the year before.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reported sales of 1.61 million vehicles last year, as supply was constrained by ongoing shortages of semi-conductors and the chaos wrought by nearly three years of pandemic slowdowns, parts shortages and war in Ukraine.

The provisional figures are down on the 1.65m registrations in 2021 – and some 700,000 cars short of pre-Covid levels which topped 2.3m in 2019. It proves just how deep and painful the contraction of the past three years has been.

Covid has hit the car industry hard (Bloomberg)

Come back later on Thursday 5 January when we will have a more detailed UK 2022 car sales analysis, with a full breakdown of the UK’s bestselling brands and models.

Sales shrinking, but UK regains its place as Europe’s second biggest car market

Britain had slipped behind France in 2021 sales, but the SMMT confirmed that the UK was now once again the second largest new-car market behind Germany, which is on course for 2.5m+ registrations in 2022.

It’s not all doom and gloom – there are green shoots of recovery visible in the UK’s new-car market: December was the fifth consecutive month of growth, up 18% year-on-year, but the stronger second half couldn’t make up for the sluggish first six months of 2022.

And full battery electric vehicles (BEVs) continue to rise in popularity across Britain, accounting for 16.6% of all new cars sold last year; they have now overtaken diesel to become the second most common powertrain.

The UK’s bestselling cars of 2022

Drumroll please… In a surprise twist, the British-built Nissan Qashqai (below) raced to the top of the leaderboard, overtaking the Vauxhall Corsa to the top spot. Incredibly, the Qashqai represents 1 in 5 of all cars built in Britain since 2007.

Nissan Qashqai was the UK's bestselling car in 2022

And if you wondered why you see so many Teslas on the road, take a bow the Model Y. It was the third most popular car overall:

  1. Nissan Qashqai
  2. Vauxhall Corsa
  3. Tesla Model Y
  4. Ford Puma
  5. Mini hatchback
  6. Kia Sportage
  7. Hyundai Tucson
  8. VW Golf
  9. Ford Kuga
  10. Ford Fiesta

It’s interesting to note that six of the top 10 are crossovers or SUVs, in some form or other. Hatchbacks are very much in the descendency…

Bestselling EVs of 2022

The same pattern is repeated with the biggest-selling electric cars last year, with those shiploads of Teslas clearing out the top two spots:

  1. Tesla Model Y
  2. Tesla Model 3
  3. Kia e-Niro
  4. VW ID.3
  5. Nissan Leaf
  6. Mini hatchback
  7. Polestar 2
  8. MG 5
  9. BMW i4
  10. Audi Q4 e-Tron

Come back in a few hours’ time to get a more detailed breakdown.


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