2021 was an unpredictable year for the car industry, and recent car registration figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) confirm that the shocks continue to affect the top 10 best-selling cars in the UK as we continue through 2022.
The post-pandemic battle, global semiconductor shortages and the ongoing crisis in Ukraine continue to limit manufacturers’ ability to build cars, and it is taking its toll on the overall market. As of May 2022, the total number of new car registrations in the UK fell by 8.7% to 661,121, compared to 723,845 cars registered around the same time last year. In the month of May, the total number of new car registrations decreased by 20.6% from 156,737 in 2021 to 124,394 in 2022.
Diesel continues the downward trend, down 50.8% from 2021 figures so far, accounting for just 6.1 percent of total UK car sales. Gasoline models also fell 25.1% compared to the previous year, but still account for 45.6% of new car registrations.
Battery-powered electric cars continue to rise in popularity with a 17.7% increase in year-over-year monthly sales in May, accounting for 17.7% of the total market. Hybrid electric vehicles also saw a 12.0% year-over-year increase, while plug-in hybrid vehicle registrations declined 25.5% compared to May 2021.
In terms of individual model sales, last year’s best-selling car, the Opel Corsa, so far still leads the way in 2022, with the Ford Puma in second place and the Nissan Qashqai in third.
The UK’s best-selling cars for 2022
Opel Corsa – 17.198
There’s still a long way to go before the Vauxhall Corsa is crowned Britain’s best-selling car for 2022. However, the supermini tops the list for the first half of the year, with key rivals such as the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo which doesn’t even make it into the top 10.
Ford Puma – 15.426
The Ford Fiesta had topped the UK’s best-selling car list for years, but failed to finish in the top 10 for 2021. Instead, it was up to the Puma to lead the Blue. Oval’s sales push. The eighth best-selling British car of 2021 is doing even better in 2022 and with the Fiesta still missing out on the top 10 despite another facelift, the Puma looks set to become Ford’s big achiever again.
Nissan Qashqai – 13.596
The arrival of the all-new Qashqai has given this chart-topping a boost, and we expect the introduction of the innovative Qashqai e-Power hybrid to accelerate sales later in 2022.
MINI – 13.486
The MINI had an astonishingly successful 2021, taking third place on the overall list. The addition of an all-electric model helped boost sales, and we think it’s a premium, well-built and charming supermini – so it definitely deserves to maintain a spot in the top five.
Kia Sportage – 13.364
The Kia Sportage finished ninth overall in 2021, taking the title of Britain’s third most popular SUV. This year started well, but in a bad February it lost first place. A new 2022 model is now on sale and we think it’s the best Sportage yet.
Hyundai Tucson – 12.214
We were so impressed with the Hyundai Tucson when it launched last year that we awarded it the coveted Mid-size SUV of the Year award at our New Car Awards. The Tucson’s more premium approach could even bring in a new customer base in 2022, our long-term Tucson test car certainly ticked all the right boxes as a family SUV.
Ford Kuga – 11,568
The Puma’s bigger brother comes in as the second best-selling Ford of the year, and for good reason. We think this third-generation Kuga is the best yet. It’s a great car to drive and is offered with a range of efficient petrol and hybrid engines. The Kuga meets all the requirements for a competitively priced, practical family car.
Kia Niro – 11,227
The Kia Niro may be starting to pick up a bit, but it still proves to be a successful model for the Korean brand. A new Niro will be out later this year with a similar range that includes a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid and the all-electric e-Niro variant, so Kia is doing a great job of changing the current model.
Volkswagen Golf – 10.174
In typical Volkswagen styling, the eighth-generation Golf has evolved from the previous model, with some tweaks to the exterior styling and an overhauled interior packed with new technology. As you’d expect, the latest Golf is a well-rounded, premium hatchback, so it’s no wonder it’s one of this year’s best-selling cars so far.
Opel Mokka – 9,638
The latest Vauxhall Mokka is a significant step forward over the old model. Sitting on the CMP platform shared with the Opel Corsa and Peugeot 208, the Mokka is available with a diesel, petrol or even an all-electric powertrain, so there’s something for everyone.
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