There are a number of different ways that you can analyse a year. What news stories hit the headlines? What changes were there in politics and current affairs? Which movies and albums were most popular? These might be what interests a lot of individuals, but it’s not all that is important. For car lovers the real mark of a year is how it impacted on vehicle sales, launches and reviews. Looking back at 2012 in cars we see some interesting and exciting events, releases and statistics.

Winners, Losers and Best-Sellers

In 2012 more than 2 million cars were sold in the UK, the largest number since 2008. Surely a huge relief for car showroom managers and car manufacturers, this resurgence is hopefully something that can be maintained. However, a rising tide doesn’t necessarily raise all boats, with some manufacturers trouncing others in 2012. So, who were the winners and losers?

• MG managed to more than double their sales, increasing by 117%.
• Land Rover’s sales increased by 29%.
• Porsche’s sales rose to 7,998 vehicles, an increase of 25%.
• Bentley saw 1,267 sales, an increase of 22%.

• Jaguar saw just a 2.3% rise.

• Subaru’s sales dropped by 23% to 2023.
• Alfa Romeo dopped to 7253 units, down 37%.
• Renault sold 40,760 cars, a drop of 40%.
• Lotus sold just 137 cars – a decrease of 58%.

In terms of makes and models the UK’s best selling car was once again the Ford Fiesta, followed by the Vauxhall Corsa, Ford Focus, Vauchall Astra, Volkswagen Golf, Nissan Qashqai, BMW 3-series, Volkswagen Polo, Mercedes C-class and with the BMW 1 series rounding out the top 10.

Innovations and Endings

2012 saw a number of new cars launched on the market, some redesigns or improvements of existing cars and others entirely new concepts. Audi brought out the A1 Sportback, the A3, the RS4 and the S6 Avant. BMW had the 3 Series saloon and the 3 Series touring. Chevrolet had the pretty Camaro. Fiat launched the Panda. Ford had a wide range of models with the Fiesta ST, the Focus ST and the Kuga. Hyundai came out with the Celoster and the i30. Volkswagen’s Beetle Cabriolet and up! were also new sights on the road. Mercedes also took 2012 on as a big year, with updates to a number of classes and ranges.

While it won’t be available in Europe till mid 2013, the Tesla Model S launched in the US in 2012, after a first view in 2009. This 4 door sedan is an electric vehicle with a range of 265 miles for the 85kWh battery version and 208 miles for the 60kWh battery option. It’s definitely interesting, but the success will depend on the status of the Supercharger network that’s scheduled to be rolled out.

A number of cars that were expected in 2012 are now thought to be coming in 2013, including the Geely, the Volkswagen Beetle R and the Ford Kuga. Similarly, the Jaguar XF Sportbrake that was eagerly anticipated for 2012 didn’t make an appearance.

While 2012 saw a number of launches, it also was the year when Saab closed their doors. First production was in 1949, but after a bankruptcy filing in 2011, January 2012 saw the official closure of Saab.

Car enthusiasts certainly had an interesting 2012, with a wide range of new vehicles launched and teasers for future makes and models. Hopefully 2013 will have an equally exciting variety of developments in motoring and cars.

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