Vauxhall’s Corsa maintained its status as the UK’s best-selling model in May

Ford’s unbroken reign of building the biggest-selling new car in Great Britain and Northern Ireland has finally been ended after half a century.

In 2021, Vauxhall inherited number one spot from the Fiesta, the outgoing champion of the new car sales charts. Supply chain issues and production cuts are said to have contributed to the Fiesta’s fall from grace.

The last twelve months were so difficult for the supermini that it failed to rank inside the first 10 places. That will be of little concern to Vauxhall, however, as it topped the rankings for the first time ever.

Across a stop-start period for the UK’s new car market, which continued to be affected by coronavirus restrictions and the semi-conductor shortage, dealers managed to register 40,914 new Corsa models.

The company’s UK Managing Director, Paul Willcox, said the Corsa “fully deserves” to start the new year as the nation’s favourite nameplate following the publication of the figures by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

“Alongside its design, innovative technology and affordable pricing, a full choice of powertrain technologies has proven very popular – with customers able to choose between the fully-electric Corsa-e, or our efficient petrol and diesel engines,” he explained.

Willcox added that improvements to the EV car’s range, and lowering the on-the-road-price by £3,000, meant it was “even more attainable”, adding: “We’re confident it will continue to prove popular with UK buyers.”

A strong December for Tesla’s electric Model 3 car in which 9,612 cars were sold cemented its place in second behind the Corsa – a barometer of how quickly consumer tastes are changing.

Despite a replacement being readied by parent company BMW, the MINI’s popularity continued with UK motorists. The second-best seller in December (4,625), this strong finish kept it third in the final sales standings ahead of the Mercedes-Benz A-Class.

Volkswagen secured fifth and sixth positions with its Polo supermini and Golf hatch respectively, and the Sunderland-built Nissan Qashqai claimed seventh ahead of class rival, Ford’s Puma crossover.

The current Kia Sportage – which is being replaced in the coming weeks by an all-new version – ended the year in ninth with the versatile and stylish Toyota Yaris propping up the table on 27,415 sales.

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