Party season is here

There was a real party atmosphere for the UK’s car industry this week, when the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders announced September’s new car sales figures were at a ten year high.

In among the celebrations and general congratulations, much analysis of the figures centred on the Alternative Fuel sector (electric vehicles to you and me) – which has grown by more than 50 per cent so far this year.

However, with bucket loads of marketing spend, media coverage and even government incentives in place to try and shift AFVs, their growth is perhaps is not surprising.

But before we get carried away with predictions of an electric revolution, we should remember that so far this year, AFV sales account for less than two per cent of all new car sales.

Rather than looking at what’s shiny and new, maybe more manufacturers should be casting an eye in the direction of the blue oval and wondering what magic dust Dagenham’s alchemists are sprinkling over the Fiesta. With sales of more than 106,000 Fiesta’s already this year, they are already nearly 40,000 units ahead of their closest rival (which happens to be another Ford product).

OK, the Fiesta far removed from its initial incarnation launched nearly 40 years ago, but there seems to be no end to the dominance of Britain’s best-selling car of all time. I’m guessing Ford’s not achieving its record sales through the fleet market as the Fiesta lacks the sales-rep pulling power of an Audi A4 or BMW 3 series.

Perhaps the reason for the Fiesta’s success is nothing more complicated than some back-to-basics, common sense marketing? With a clear understanding of their audience, Ford has developed a product that appeals to many important types of motorist; from those learning to drive, to families in need of an economical second car, or even older drivers, the Fiesta has widespread appeal.

Don’t get me wrong, the car is packed with technology but perhaps it’s the type of technology that’s in demand by drivers rather than Governments with a vote-inspiring agenda. So before we dismiss the combustion engine as an historic relic, or think that every driver desires one of Germany’s big three, let’s pause and celebrate the success of the humble Fiesta.

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