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Best-selling cars of 2020: Is safe the new stylish?


We all love that feeling of getting behind the wheel of a new car. The smell, the smooth steering, the sharp acceleration – it all adds to the sense of excitement. But what do you look for when it comes to browsing the forecourts?

Some opt for fuel efficiency, to make sure they don’t have to refill at the petrol station every other day. Others are sold on looks, top speed or horse power. But for many, safety is the number one priority.

If that’s you, then consulting the Euro NCAP ratings is a great place to start. You’ll be able to see which makes and models rank at the top of the list and which of those don’t quite receive five-star billing. We’ll pick out a few examples and also examine how the UK’s best-selling cars of 2020 correlate to those deemed safest.

Safety sells

Data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reveals that three of the UK’s best-selling cars so far in 2020 were given a five-star rating for 2019 by Euro NCAP. The Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus have proven to be the second and third-most popular cars this year respectively, both having sold in excess of 14,000 models.

The other five-star rated car to make the top 10 is the BMW 3 Series, which has sold 7,861 units and sits ninth overall. Top of the pile is the Ford Fiesta, having sold 15,897 at the time of the SMMT release – a car which boasted a five-star Euro NCAP rating in 2017. It seems that for many, safety is paramount when it comes to picking a fresh set of wheels.

The best of the rest

The Vauxhall Corsa, Nissan Qashqai, Mercedes-Benz A-Class, Mini and the VW Polo complete the top 10, alongside the Kia Sportage (8,374 units sold to date in 2020). The Sportage earned a five-star rating in 2015 while its fellow Kia, the Ceed, also reaches that benchmark for 2019 with the additional safety pack option. However, a widespread decline in overall car sales means that dealers across the UK face challenges.

Safety is sought-after but sales are on the slide

According to industry figures released earlier this year, new car sales in Northern Ireland fell by just less than 2% in 2019. That decline was part of a wider trend, with the overall drop for the UK closer to 2.5%. New car sales in NI have fallen for the past three years, with the SMMT pointing to a reduced demand for diesel engines as a major contributing factor.

Although the data reveals that car sales are decreasing, it also suggests that those who are buying vehicles are prioritising safety – potentially good news for Ford, VW, BMW and Kia dealers in Northern Ireland.


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1 Comment

  1. There is a decline in car sales across the country, for obvious reasons, I think. However, my husband and I are considering buying a new car.I like Mercedes-Benz, but I need to get more familiar with its characteristics and think about it. Usually, I check any information about the car I’m interested in only on the site about cars. A lot of useful information in one place.

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