Ford sold more than 9,500 fewer cars during March to top to the table of the month’s biggest registrations decline by volume during the crucial ‘plate change month.
A total of 40,755 Ford vehicles were registered last month, marking a 18.91% year-on-year decline during the month to leave it the sector’s biggest loser by volume, followed by Nissan’s 18.7% decline (down 4,599), Honda’s 15.6% (down 1,853) and Mazda’s 12.8% (down 1,294).
Just as ASE chairman Mike Jones had predicted in his car dealer profitability report for February, however, there was “significant variance between brands, with double digit gains and falls amongst different franchises”.
Dacia added 3,330 sales during the month as its registrations soared by 85.47% (to 7,443), Citroën added almost 2,000 sales with a rise of 21.8% (to 11,023) and Volvo added almost 1,200 sales with its 26.5% increase to 10,420 registrations.
Citroën’s impressive growth was credited to increased demand for core models and the introduction of the new C5 Aircross SUV.
Citroën UK sales director, Eurig Druce, said: “Citroën is very much bucking the trend, growing our car sales by 16.8% during the first quarter of 2019.
“This growth is testimony to our fantastic product range, our strategic direction to build a sustainable business model and of course down to the huge efforts of the Citroën team within our Dealer partners’ and central teams. My thanks and admiration goes to all involved.”
Volvo Car UK's registrations resulkted in a record Q1 result for the brand, with a total of 16,204 vehicles sold YTD
Jon Wakefield, Volvo Car UK managing director, said: “This is a fantastic start to the year for us, further demonstrating how our global strategy is producing vehicles that have wide-ranging appeal to customers.
"In a relatively short time, we renewed our product range with models that have instantly become the benchmarks against which the competition is being judged, giving us a strong position in a very competitive market.
"The challenge now is to sustain our performance, something that further new models and derivatives will help us achieve in the months ahead.”
Dacia's March result also represented a record Q1 for the brand in the UK. A total of 10,926 cars were sold to the end of last month, representing a rise of 52% over the same period last year.
Ben Fletcher, head of Dacia UK, said: “With the full All-New Duster line-up now available as well as recent high-profile award wins, Dacia is going from strength to strength.
"By providing the most affordable new cars on the market as well as our simple line-up and proven reliability the British public have really taken to Dacia’s no-nonsense approach to motoring.”
Mirroring Dacia’s drive up the sales charts with its value-driven offering during March was MG Motor UK.
The brand celebrated a record-breaking start to the year, achieving its best-ever sales figures for the month of March with 1,814 new registrations.
The tally took the brand’s Q1 sales to 3,016 – up by 70% year-on-year.
Daniel Gregorious, head of sales and marketing at MG Motor UK, said: “This continued rise in popularity of MG cars among the car buying public is vital, as we further strengthen our position as the fastest-growing car manufacturer in the UK.”
MG currently has 92 franchised car dealerships in its UK network but has set a target of reaching 100 by the end of 2019.
Gregorious added: “We are eager to maintain this momentum, supported not only by our ever-growing network of national dealerships, but also by the great anticipation of our first-ever battery-electric vehicle, the MG ZS Electric, due soon.”