AM Online

Peugeot part of 'Big 3' as Renault slips back

The success of the 206 range in the UK has taken Peugeot registrations above 100,000 units for the first six months of the year. The milestone means the company, French owned but with a manufacturing base in the UK, joins Ford and Vauxhall to create a 'Big 3' in the UK market.

Official detailed SMMT registration figures, published for the first time, reveal how Peugeot has steadily pulled away from Renault and Volkswagen during the January to June period. Its 206 is the fastest growing range in the market, despite having been on sale for almost two years.

The figures also reveal the importance of having a modern and balanced model line-up. Ford has lost market share despite the success of Focus because of falling sales for Mondeo and Fiesta.

Renault is losing Clio and Megane sales while Volkswagen has failed to maintain the impetus with Golf. BMW has been hugely successful with 3 series, but sales are static overall.

Customers are continuing to downsize. The big growth is in the supermini B sector though the picture is exaggerated by the reclassification of the Rover 25 into this category. The Rover 200 was listed as C sector.

Nonetheless, medium and upper medium saloons are being squeezed. It will be interesting to see if this trend is reversed by the new, bigger D-sector cars coming along such as new Mondeo, Laguna and Citroen C5.

Growth in MPVs has been driven by the Vauxhall Zafira which seems to have added to the market rather than taken conquest sales. For the first time, Automotive Management has extracted compact MPV sales from the SMMT figures to reflect the importance of this new market.

Diesel sales have stabilised after a dramatic fall last year and other sectors are largely unchanged. The growth in 3dr hatchbacks is explained, once again, by the success of 206.

The performance of market newcomers always makes interesting reading. Daewoo is now firmly established in the top 20 UK brands, closing on Volvo. Perodua outsells Ferrari while Aixam, the French microcar maker, is just as successful as Bentley - though the unit profit margin is presumably rather less.

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