By on December 15, 2016

2016 Ford Fiesta green 3-door - Image: Ford UKThe Ford Fiesta is the most popular car at TTAC.

We don’t mean to say that TTAC’s audience researches the Ford Fiesta more often than any other vehicle. Nor are we suggesting that the Ford Fiesta is the consensus favourite among TTAC’s vast contributor network. Rather, there are a total of three Fiestas spread across TTAC driveways: the managing editor’s 1.0-liter EcoBoost, an ST at the home of our advice columnist, and another ST in the family of TTAC’s editor-at-large.

That’s an impressive level of marketplace penetration for a car that generates just 0.3 percent of the U.S. auto industry’s new vehicle sales volume. Yet across the pond, the very same car owns an industry-wide 4.5 percent of the overall new vehicle market.

2016 will be the eighth consecutive year in which the Ford Fiesta claims the title of the United Kingdom’s best-selling vehicle. Not only is the consistency remarkable, so too is the authority with which the Fiesta scores its victories.

2016 is not yet over, but the results published by the UK’s Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders through the end of November reveal an insurmountable margin between the Fiesta and second-ranked Vauxhall Corsa. The 39,155-unit gap shows that the Fiesta sells more than 50 percent more frequently than the rather popular Corsa.

Although the Fiesta is now at the tail end of its sixth-generation, this streak as the UK’s best-selling car — a streak that began in 2009 — continues apace.

But this isn’t merely the continuation of a Fiesta streak. A decade-long run for the Ford Focus ended in 2008. Indeed, including 2016, Fords of one kind or another have risen to the top of the UK auto sales charts in 45 consecutive years.

2016 best-selling autos sales chart November 2016 YTD

UK auto sales are reportedly up 2.5 percent in 2016, which is likely to be the fifth consecutive year of volume growth and the second consecutive record year. Concerns over Brexit have not yet had a measurable impact on the number of cars Britons are buying, although concerns from manufacturers operating in the UK have resulted in dire warnings about the near future. Ford UK’s Fiestas are sourced from two European Union countries: Germany and Spain.

The seventh-generation Fiesta goes on sale in the UK in July 2017, but not until Ford has closed the books on a 2016 calendar year during which Ford brand sales have so far fallen 5 percent. The Fiesta and Focus, the latter currently positioned as the UK’s third-best-selling car, currently account for six out of every ten Fords sold in the UK. With 12 percent market share, Ford is the UK’s top-selling auto brand.

The Volkswagen Group’s six brands – Audi, Bentley, Porsche, Seat, Skoda, Volkswagen — own an industry-leading 19 percent market share, though Volkswagen Group volume is down 1 percent this year.

Timothy Cain is the founder of, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

[Image: Ford of Britain]

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56 Comments on “The Best-Selling Vehicle at TTAC Is Once Again the Best-Selling Vehicle in the UK...”

  • avatar

    “the United Kingdom’s best-selling vehicle”

    Make Britain Great Again! It sorely needs it if so many there are settling for Fiestas.

  • avatar

    While the Fiesta is end of life, it is a well executed ‘Aston Martin grille’ (as seen on Focus and Mondeo/Fusion) facelift, the next model looks very similar which should help resale values.

    The current Corsa was introduced as all new, but was very clearly a reskin of the old model (even if most panels were changed). The buying public didn’t pay into this cynical launch, and Vauxhall in the UK are struggling with a reputation of self combusting cars – the Zafira in particular – in which it took an investigation by a high profile BBC consumer programme to get Vauxhall to recall the model. There were reports that the same fault affected Corsa models, but so far Vauxhall/GM have been dragging their feet in admitting and recalling the model.

    The Corsa has also been cannibalised sales-wise by the (admittedly slow selling) Adam at the top of the range, and the Viva/Opel Karl (Chevrolet Spark) at the lower end. It will be interesting to see how Fiesta sales are effected when that model is moved upmarket to make way for the new Ka+ as a budget model. (The current Ka is a slow selling citycar co developed with Fiat – 500 – that didn’t really make any inroads into Fiesta sales).

    (Disclaimer: I’m no Ford fan, my last model – an Orion – was a Lemon, though the new Mondeo/Fusion and Mustang look great. I drive a GM product that has had a heater resistor problem in the past – the component that causes Vauxhalls to go on fire).

    • 0 avatar

      I remember Orion. It was a sedan version of Escort, then was replaced by Focus. I am a Ford fan but bought Toyota Carina II because it was cheaper used and more reliable statistically. But it was boring, not well designed and poorly driving car, to say that body was not rigid was understatement – it was flexing all the time, I had regrets about buying it. Clutch was good though but engine gutless. It was size wise similar to Mondeo/Sierra, but Mondeo was superior to any Japanese car including newer Carina E and Avensis and Opel Vectra too.

  • avatar

    “The Ford Fiesta is the most popular car at TTAC.”

    EDITED: I drove one last year, and wasn’t impressed. It wasn’t good, it wasn’t bad – it was just a “car” that got us around for a couple of days and that was it.

    Just another Ford jellybean. I wouldn’t buy one for myself, but apparently many do like them, and for a city car, it’ll get the job done. I’m glad they like them in the U.K. A new Ford Cortina, perhaps!

    (Corey, is that better?)

  • avatar
    Corey Lewis

    How do these figures look, I wonder, if you go Europe-wide? The UK is a weird market with their RHD things and Vauxhall iterations of things labeled as Opel everywhere else.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s Europe’s 4th best selling car so far in 2016 – 244,905 sold, with data available until the end of October – behind the VW Golf, VW Polo and Renault Clio.

      It’s so popular in the UK because we’ve long considered Ford an adopted British brand.

      • 0 avatar
        Corey Lewis

        Thanks! Exactly what I wanted to know.

      • 0 avatar

        “It’s so popular in the UK because we’ve long considered Ford an adopted British brand.”

        So THAT’S why! Now I know. (I always did like the Cortina of the late 60’s)

      • 0 avatar

        The matter of Ford’s “nationality” is rather peculiar: in US you treat it as a domestic make, the Brits think it’s British, whereas the rest of Europe sees the Blue Oval as German but less so than VW, BMW et al (when referred to on its own, Ford is generally classified as German but when someone lists German cars in general Ford is always added as a sort of an afterthought). I wonder how China, India, Australia and the others see it (respectively: American, American, and domestic, I presume). Where is the diesel midsize pickup brigade from down under when you need them?

        • 0 avatar

          It’s understandable since Ford has had significant R&E centers in both the UK (Dunton) and Germany (Köln/Merkenich) for a long time.

          • 0 avatar

            It sure is, Jim. Still, it’s interesting how none of the other decidedly multinational companies have such ambiguous perceived origins.

          • 0 avatar
            spreadsheet monkey

            Woop, Ford a significant R&E centre! But no cars built in the UK.

            As mentioned above, Ford is seen as the “home team” in Britain, has done a very clever marketing job to achieve that, when in reality Ford Europe is just a small part of a very big American corporation.

            I have a CRV and an XK8 – both built in the UK. Flying the flag for the British car industry!

        • 0 avatar

          If follow trend they should think that it is Chinese and Indian car company respectively. Note that Americans think that Toyota and Honda are American companies while Ford and GM Mexican, Chinese or Canadian companies. And Chrysler is of course Italian/German.

          • 0 avatar

            “Note that Americans think that Toyota and Honda are American companies while Ford and GM Mexican, Chinese or Canadian companies. ”

            No we don’t. what the hell are you even talking about?

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          Here in Australia Ford is considered very Australian. The Falcon is the reason for this.

          The Ranger pickup is an Aussie design and considered “more” Aussie than other Thai built pickups, sort of like how Mexican pickups are viewed in the US.

          Ford UK has done some great work for Ford. The supercharged Miami V8 (up to 380Kw) and research/engineering for FPV and Ford V8 Supercars as well.

          I would dare say Ford UK even had input into the latest Mustang along with Ford Australia.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al From 'Murica

          It is American and very cleverly marketed in those places.

    • 0 avatar
      spreadsheet monkey

      The UK might be “weird”, but our car tastes are pretty similar to the rest of Europe. The top 10 for the whole of Europe is a similar blend of B and C segment cars, with perhaps a stronger market share for Fiat and the French brands.

      What is notable from that top 10 list is the decline in popularity of non-premium D segment cars in the UK and Europe. A lot of the midsize cars that you have in the US (with the notable exception of the Accord) are available to buy in the UK, but their sales volumes are poor. The popular logic in the UK is that a basic 3-series or Audi A4 is not much more expensive than a Mondeo (Fusion) if you’re leasing, so most people prefer to go for a small premium car and put up with limited rear legroom. This is borne out by the Merc C class achieving 9th position in the sales charts. I would imagine both the A4 and 3-series are in the top 20, not far behind the C class.

  • avatar

    I have been thinking about a Fiesta ST for a while, but I’m not fully committed to the idea. Seeing that photo of the 3-door makes me think that if the 3-door Fiesta ST were available in the U.S., I would probably have already bought one. I know, I know, there are probably only 12 people who actually feel the same way.

  • avatar

    Jack has one of these too?

  • avatar

    I had a 2011, bought it new. Kept if for a long 80,000. From a reliability standpoint it was the car from hell. 17 unscheduled repairs with some repairs taking over five trips to the dealer. My Accord that is now over two years old has had zero repairs. MPG’s are only 3 mpg worse.

    If we get tariffs on cars coming from Mexico, I really doubt Ford will keep bringing them to the U.S.

    • 0 avatar
      Dave W

      We just traded in our 2011 Fiesta with 84000 miles. It took 2 months for a new (manual) transmission to arrive from Germany and replace the one that wouldn’t go into reverse after 100 miles. Absolutely no problems after that. I haven’t done the final math but we got somewhere over 40 mpg for it’s life time, not too shabby considering over half it’s miles were with snow tires and winter blend gas.

      We would have kept it another 3-5 years but the C-Max deals just looked too good. That the dealer just gave us a (stripper) Focus to drive while waiting for the slow boat from Germany, and no grief over the transmission* definitely helped make the C-Max sale.

      * not once did anyone ask if we knew how to drive a manual transmission, or imply we broke it.

  • avatar

    Since the Brits really have a passion for modifying their cars, is there a website that has some really cool go-fast or look-cool accessories?

  • avatar
    tom m

    How is the 1.0 EB holding up here in the states? Local dealer has one with 28k for $10k or so, thought I would try it out.

  • avatar

    I have owned Fiesta sedan for four years. It has been a great car, other than PowerShud-d-d-er transmission. That had to be rebuilt. Other than that wretched transmission, it has never been to shop. I would buy one again, minus PowerShud-d-der.

  • avatar

    Its an awful, terrible car. EcoBoost 3 cylinder gets 17 mpg at best, 0-60 for the ST is like 19.5 sec. No one owns one and likes it. Worst car in history, until a different Ford is the subject of a future article.

    Ford just gave them away for free in the UK so they could pretend to be a real carmaker. Everybody knows that they S-U-C-K! Always have. Facts don’t lie.

    Truth is, nobody anywhere buys a Ford, or ever has, and every one ever made is in a junkyard before its 3 years old. Yes, you can bet the farm on all these true and honest facts.

    Still better than the ATS.

    How am I doing, DW?

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    I liked the Fiesta for the brief time I experienced one. A nice blend of solidity, refinement and driving dynamics, it reminded me a bit of a downsized and downpriced VW Golf. In a nation with very tight urban cores, narrower streets and expensive fuel, I can understand why it sells.

    I don’t know how anyone uses the backseat in these things, however, unless the average Brit is a full foot shorter than me.

  • avatar

    I *almost* bought a 1.0EB fiesta 5 door before I pulled the trigger on my 05′ 2.5XT 5M Outback. But since the Escape 2.0EB in our family is just so poorly built, I opted out. Because at Ford quality is on their list, but it’s way at the bottom. And since my 02′ WRX wagon went for 240k without any real problems, and I literally beat the hell out of it, and since the issues it did have I was able to fix myself with a 12 or 14mm wrench, I went with a known quantity.

    Ford is my enemy for life.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Ford vehicles manufactured external to NAFTA seem to be of better qaulity.

      I do know my mother’s Michigan built Focus is second rate compared to the EU and Thai built ones. It does seem reliable, with the worst auto, make ut second worst auto I’ve encountered.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al From 'Murica

        The craziest Ford I ever drove was a Mercury Capri that had a basically disentigrating interior. It was of course from your neck of the woods. So shove it.

  • avatar

    Surprised no one has commented on the fact that there’s only 1 crossover on this list.

  • avatar

    I test drove one for a friend who didn’t quite have her license; she ended up with a Fusion. I did not like it and that blind spot up front is yuuuuuugggggeeeeee. I say that as somebody who generally likes Ford.

    My 93 Escort was a real peach.

  • avatar
    Brett Woods

    Wow, I have been waiting for the 1.0L fiesta reviews and updates and I almost missed this one. It’s so true that U.K. love their Fords in both regular and hot rod editions, and especially the fiesta hatchback. It’s been ongoing for decades. Keep in mind cars are more expensive, gas is more expensive, streets and parking are smaller, and…. Most of ‘em think Ford is English!

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