Currently reading: The slowest-selling UK cars of 2018
Whether it’s a case of limited edition or limited interest, today’s showroom squatters could be tomorrow’s collector’s items

We enjoy a huge choice of new cars, but few of us fully exercise it.

The UK’s best-selling model is the Ford Fiesta, 95,892 owners taking the keys to a new one in 2018. But only four new owners climbed aboard a new, UK-registered Cadillac Escalade during the year. The glacial sales of this vast SUV aren’t so surprising given that it’s left-hand drive and available through only two official UK dealers, and nor are the mere 25 sales of the McLaren Senna, for example – this supercar’s sale rate dictated by its tightly limited build rate. 

But there are plenty of other models whose low UK sales don’t have the defence of being limited editions, very low-volume specialist machines, left-hand-drive imports or cars that were deleted during the year. Many are far from being bad cars and some, even the failures, will become tomorrow’s classics. 

Here, then, are 2018’s rarest new cars.

25. Rolls-Royce Phantom - 2018 sales: 98 

The latest Phantom hasn’t been on sale a full year yet, but nevertheless outsold its smaller brother, the Ghost. It will probably hit three figures during 2019. 

24. Subaru BRZ - 2018 sales: 96 

The BRZ isn’t quite as sharp as the near-identical Toyota GT86, but not so far adrift as to warrant a fifth of the sales. That’s the power of brands. 

23. Rolls-Royce Wraith - 2018 sales: 94 

Rolls-Royce’s elegant fastback found almost 100 UK buyers in 2018, but that wasn’t enough to outsell the new Phantom. Which probably suits Wraith buyers just fine.

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22. Rolls-Royce Ghost - 2018 sales: 85 

The Ghost seems to be just that, this more accessible Rolls selling more modestly than it deserves. Perhaps buyers struggle with the contradiction of buying a lesser best car in the world. 

21. Maserati Quattroporte - 2018 sales: 76 

The luxury saloon is dying, especially in Modena – sales of the big Quattroporte are on a par with the Bentley Mulsanne’s. That it’s dated and of limited abilities doesn’t help. 

20= Lexus LS - 2018 sales: 75 

The model that launched Lexus in 1989 was never a big seller here, nor intended as one, but this 2018 result renders the latest LS nearly invisible. 

20= Lotus Elise - 2018 sales: 75 

You might expect Lotus’s entry-level Elise to be its best-seller, but the Exige tops it by 27 units. Not that either – nor the Evora – sells well. 

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19. Bentley Mulsanne - 2018 sales: 72 

Easily Bentley’s most expensive model, a Mulsanne takes two to three months to build, guaranteeing exclusivity. As confirmed here. 

18. Lotus Evora2018 sales: 70 

Ever-faster editions and continued fettling have failed to boost sales of one of the most underrated performance cars in the UK. 

17. Infiniti Q60 - 2018 sales: 67 

The Q60 went on sale in 2017, and off it during 2018, underlining Infiniti’s struggle to make any impact here. The Q60 was slightly troubled, but didn’t deserve to be this ignored. 

16. McLaren 570GT - 2018 sales: 62 

Prettier than its 570S sister, easier to live with and more practical, but McLaren buyers prefer the core model by a factor of over four to one. 

15. Vauxhall Cascada - 2018 sales: 51 

Rarer than a limited edition, the Cascada is destined to be one of those classic convertibles you’d forgotten, like the Peugeot 306 and Metro Cabriolets. 

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14. Ferrari GTC4 Lusso T - 2018 sales: 49 

The smaller-engined, two-wheel-drive V8 turbo version of Ferrari’s four-seater betters the all-wheel-drive V12, but sells at half the rate. 

13. Aston Martin Rapide - 2018 sales: 41 

One of the most handsome saloons you can buy, but almost all Aston shoppers want two doors rather than four. 

12. Toyota Mirai - 2018 sales: 36 

Toyota’s excellent fuel cell flagship earns its maker a loss, which is why it’s rationed. But 36 sales is more than planned. 

11. Volkswagen Jetta - 2018 sales: 31 

You may not even have realised that this Volkswagen Golf with a boot was on sale. It barely was, and these are among the last sold. 

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10. McLaren Senna - 2018 sales: 25 

As with the LaFerrari, the Senna is a sold-out limited-edition hypercar, 25 British orders fulfilled during 2018. 

9. Alfa Romeo 4C Coupé/Spider - 2018 sales: 24 

The 4C has the right ingredients – feisty engine, carbonfibre tub, exciting design – but sells at one-third the rate of the similar, and similarly under-performing, Lotus Elise. 

8. Chevrolet Camaro - 2018 sales: 23 

Chevrolet’s muscled coupé sells at one hundredth the rate of the Ford Mustang, but it’s left-hand drive and only sold through two official dealers. 

7. Honda NSX - 2018 sales: 19 

Honda’s amazingly complex, reborn supercar is better at generating energy than buyers, despite its many merits. Maybe the upcoming titivations will help. 

6= Chevrolet Corvette - 2018 sales: 18 

The C7-generation ’Vette is the best yet, but that hasn’t fired sales – left-hand drive not helping. Maybe the mid-engined C8, due soon, will fare better. 

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6= Subaru Levorg - 2018 sales: 18 

The intriguingly named Levorg didn’t intrigue enough to attract buyers, most of the 18 sold probably being demonstrators. It deserves better. 

5. McLaren 600LT - 2018 sales: 12 

The Longtail 570S will only be made for 12 months, with relatively few sold so far. Expect numbers to rise in 2019, but it’ll be rare. 

4= McLaren 540C - 2018 sales: 9

An entry-level, slightly more affordable McLaren ought to appeal, but clearly not with sales this modest. The similar but pricier 570S found 276 UK buyers 

4= Vauxhall VXR8 - 2018 sales: 9 

Imported on an individual basis, these were the last of the Vauxhall-badged, Australian-made Holdens to make it over here. They’re collectible already. 

3. Peugeot iOn - 2018 sales: 7 

This Mitsubishi-based electric gadfly is almost 2018’s slowest seller. That’s not inappropriate, given that a slow approach is best for stretching its inadequate range. 

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2. Ferrari LaFerrari2018 sales: 5 

A mere five sales is part of the point for this ultra-rare Ferrari, the LaFerrari’s buyers chasing exclusivity as well as cranium-crushing pace. 

1. Cadillac Escalade - 2018 sales: 4 

If you really want exclusive, and don’t mind turning up in a vehicle larger than most sheds, the Escalade is your beast.

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Add a comment…
DVB78 21 May 2019

Re: Subaru

I cant really understand Subaru/Subaru Uk's thinking.

why does the XV not have the 1.6turbo from the Levorg??

Why doesn't the Levorg have a 2.0t , ie a fast estate??

I desperately want to but another Subaru, but am being forced to look elsewhere

Andrew Lee 29 January 2019

I think not

Wraith 'an elegant fastback'.

Cascada 'a classic convertible' (and incidentally, who thought naming a drophead after a waterfall was a good idea?!)

Zeddy 28 January 2019

IM Group

You might argue that no one could have done any better but I think it's shameful the way that the Subaru importer has allowed the marque to wither on the vine in the UK.