We’ve come to accept and report without question for the most part that the monthly registration numbers from the SMMT are a true indication of the sales success of car manufacturers.

We know that a new vehicle registration doesn’t always mean that a car has been sold to a real customer, just witness the number of ‘nearly new cars with delivery mileage’ on most franchised dealers’ used car forecourts.

This is highlighted every few years as a new trend when in fact it has been evident for more than 20 years.

But that’s not what I want you to think about. I want you to consider registrations per model/derivative as a measure of success.

If you take the SMMT’s list of top ten manufacturers for the first seven months of 2015 and divide the number of registrations by the number of models/derivatives offered by each of those manufacturers then the top ten list looks somewhat different. For the purposes of this exercise I’ve used the list of new cars available in the UK from the latest issue of Autocar, as good a reference as any.

SMMT list:  Captain Pugwash list: 
Ford                           201,265 Nissan93,335 ÷ 66 = 1,414
Vauxhall                            159,333 Ford                           201,265 ÷ 225 = 894
Volkswagen135,567 Hyundai52,911 ÷ 70 = 756
Audi99,013 Toyota60,196 ÷ 101 = 596
Nissan93,335 Volkswagen135,567 ÷ 232 = 584
BMW89,748 Mercedes-Benz84,930 ÷ 170 = 500
Mercedes-Benz 84,930 Vauxhall159,333 ÷ 323 = 493
Peugeot 64,414 Peugeot64,414 ÷ 149 = 432
Toyota 60,196 Audi99,013 ÷ 374 = 265
Hyundai52,911 BMW89,748 ÷ 479 = 187

And let’s not forget the new kid on the block which would jump from 22nd to 4th place, infront of Toyota and knocking BMW out of the top ten altogether: Dacia 15,503 ÷ 24 = 646

Interesting to note how comfortably Nissan outperforms Ford and the squabbling German twins become very much also-rans!

Does this prove anything? Maybe not but it could allow Nissan, Hyundai and Dacia to put a more positive spin on their monthly sales results when reporting back to their respective head offices.

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