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Scots favour French as Ford's influence wanes

The national picture

This latest analysis of new and used vehicle sales clearly demonstrates the changing nature of the competitive UK market.

While Ford is still dominant across all sectors, that domination has slipped. Rover's slide is also shown while the rise of Renault and Peugeot is marked.

Rover now has 8% of vehicles in operation (VIO) but only 5% of new car sales (NCS). Ford, with 17% of new car sales has 22% of the total car parc.

The changing picture is graphically illustrated if we look at VIO for older cars. Ford, Vauxhall and Rover have 52% of the market in cars aged 8-9, slipping to 44% of total VIO because of sliding shares in recent years - a combined share of just 37% of used cars less than one year old, for example.

These changes are also reflected in the breakdown of sales by model. While Ford Focus and Fiesta were the two best selling new cars (Table 5), the pattern changes with sub-one year old cars where Clio and Vectra are the top two (see Table 6) and Micra makes it into fifth spot while not even registering in the top ten of new car sales.

These volumes do not respond to the total VIO and point to dealers registering them and selling them on as 'nearly new' cars.

The total number of cars on UK roads was 24,879,633, an increase from July '98-June '99 when 24,701,201 cars were on our roads.

Scotland: Renault's strong showing

Renault is the star of Scotland performing well above its national average of fourth overall to beat Vauxhall into second place while also overtaking Peugeot (see Table 1).

Clio was the best-selling new car in Scotland for the year, while its is only the eighth best-selling car nationally (see Table 5).

The Clio is also number one both in Scotland and nationally for used car sales, (see Table 6) less than one year old. Renault also has Megane and Laguna in the Scottish top ten.

This sort of activity points to some form of manufacturer activity with either large fleet discounts or possibly some pre-registering by dealers; remember these figures relate to the period before the Supply of New Cars Order 2000 requiring details of pre-registered cars to be published came into force.

Ford's market share slips from 17% nationally to 13% in Scotland while Vauxhall is down from 13% to 11%.

Volkswagen also performs well north of the border with an 8% share against 7% nationally and Honda is in the top ten for Scotland with a 4% share of new car sales. It doesn't feature in the top ten nationally.

Toyota dealers perform the best of all in Scotland (Table 8) with 580 new car sales each sales only slightly below their national average of 581. This is despite the regional buy rate (Tables 7 & 8) being well below the national average reflecting Scotland's status as one of the UK's poorer regions.

By contrast Ford dealers perform badly with just 296 sales per outlet against 517 nationally.

National nibs

  • Ford has the densest dealer network with only just over 77,000 people per outlet; Vauxhall is next with 114,000.
  • Ford dealers sell only 517 cars per outlet against Fiat at 686; Vauxhall dealers sell 595 cars each.
  • The popularity of estate cars has slipped slightly from 15% of new car sales in 98/99 to 14%. Estates though have reinforced their position as the third most popular body style behind five and three door cars and ahead of traditional saloons.
  • More companies are buying diesel cars, up to 57% from 56% in 98/99, showing the importance of this fuel type in the fleet sector.
  • One-in-four new cars are blue and there are now more blue cars on our roads than red, the favourite colour historically. Silver is the new red, taking second slot in the new car sales but only fourth in used sales.

    Scottish nibs

  • There are significantly more private buyers (67%) in Scotland; the national average is 57%
  • The Scots buy more saloons (13%) than estates - the national average for estates is 14%
  • The most popular colour for cars in Scotland is red (25%) against 24% buying red nationally
  • Over the years, Scottish buyers have preferred green cars to the silver and white colours that are the third choice nationally; 11% of the cars on Scotland's roads are green
  • Ford and Fiat sell fewer cars per outlet in Scotland than nationally. Volkswagen and Renault dealers do better in Scotland than nationally.

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