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Ford knocked off top spot in best-sellers chart for first time in 50 years, as Vauxhall triumphs and Tesla shocks

  • Vauxhall Corsa named Britain’s best-selling car in 2021
  • Its’s the first time a non-Ford car has taken top spot since 1971
  • Tesla shocks with second place as Model 3 lights up electric car sales

Time 3 weeks ago

Ford has lost its Britain’s best-selling car crown to Vauxhall, new figures show.

The Vauxhall Corsa was confirmed as 2021’s most popular new car in data published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) today (Jan 6).

It means the Griffin-badged supermini becomes the first non-Ford to take the top spot since 1971 and the Austin/Morris 1100/1300.

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Every year since 1971, the Cortina, Escort, Focus and Fiesta have enjoyed best-seller status.

Vauxhall shifted just shy of 41,000 Corsas during the year, while arch-rival Ford only managed eighth place in top 10 chart.

With 28,697 units registered, the title of most popular Ford went to the Puma and not the Fiesta – the latter has dominated the sales charts for the past 12 years.

Ford however did take the title of best-selling vehicle in 2021 with its Transit Custom.


The Blue Oval shifted 53,394 examples during the year.

While Ford slipped in the new car standings, Tesla triumphed as its Model 3 not only entered the top 10 chart, but romped away with second place.

The American carmaker registered 34,783 Model 3s during 2021 – a figure boosted by the car topping December’s best-sellers chart with 9,612 units registered to the Mini’s 4,625 and the Corsa’s 2,608.

Following the Corsa and Model 3 in the overall 2021 best-sellers chart was the Mini (31,792), Mercedes-Benz A-Class (30,710), the Volkswagen pairing of Polo (30,634) and Golf (30,240), the Nissan Qashqai (29,922), Ford Puma (28,697), Kia Sportage (27,611) and the Toyota Yaris (27,415).

The best-selling plug-in hybrid, meanwhile, was the BMW 3 Series with 10,979 units registered, followed by the A-Class (6,495) and the Volvo XC40 (6,362).

The Model 3 was top pure-electric followed by the Kia Niro (12,271) and the Volkswagen ID.3 (11,031).

Overall, new car registrations rose by just one per cent over 2020’s total, making 2021 the second worse year for registrations since 1992.

James Batchelor's avatar

James – or Batch as he’s known – started at Car Dealer in 2010, first as the work experience boy, eventually becoming editor in 2013. He worked for Auto Express as editor-at-large and was the face of Carbuyer’s YouTube reviews. In 2020, he went freelance and now writes for a number of national titles and contributes regularly to Car Dealer. In October 2021 he became Car Dealer's associate editor.

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