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Tesla knocked off top spot in UK July car sales

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·2 min read
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A MK6 Volkswagen Polo GTI Plus
Top spot: A Volkswagen Polo

Tesla (TESLA) was knocked off the top spot by a more unassuming car in the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders July car sales leaderboard.

Volkswagen's (VOW3.DE) Polo was the top-selling car in the UK in July, with 3,047 vehicles sold. The Toyota Yaris was close behind, having sold 3,001. 

Last month, Tesla's Model 3 was the best-selling car in Britain with 5,468 sold. Tesla outsold its nearest rival, the Volkswagen Golf, by more than 800. But it doesn't feature in July's top 10 list. 

123,296 new cars were registered as the industry recorded its weakest July performance since before the turn of the millennium.

July performance was down 22.3% on the average recorded over the past decade, as the ongoing semiconductor shortage and the "pingdemic" impacted on both supply and demand. 

As a result, this was the weakest July for new car registrations since 1982, prior to the introduction of the two-plate system.

Car registrations. Chart: SMMT
Car registrations. Chart: SMMT

Tesla has been riding a wave of consumer interest in electric vehicles in the UK. Sales of battery-powered cars and plug-in hybrids both rose more than 100% last month. Combined, battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles accounted for 17.2% of new vehicles hitting the roads.

Consumers have been turning to electric vehicles as a ban on petrol and diesel car sales looms. A net-zero drive by the UK government includes plans to phase out the sale of cars running on fossil fuels by 2030.

Read more: Boris Johnson tells UK money managers: Buy British for 'investment Big Bang'

However, as lockdowns ease and attention turns to staycations, Volkswagen's Polo might seem like an attractive option, as one of the cheaper cars on the road.

The top-selling car for the year-to-date was the Vauxhall Corsa, with 26,215 new vehicles on the road, closely followed by the classic Ford Fiesta. 

The Volkswagen Polo registers seventh in the top 10 best sellers for the year. 

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