It is a fact that more Mercedes A-Classes were sold in the UK last year than Jaguars.

Just pause and reflect on that for a moment, and layer it with the facts that the A-Class was at time Britain’s fourth best-selling car (behind the ubiquitous Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Golf and Nissan Qashqai) and that Mercedes was also the fourth largest car maker by sales.

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And then, just to blow your mind, ponder the fact that the A-Class was in its runout year. Good for discounts, of course, but not usually good for sales as fashion conscious buyers look for the next new thing. And in the arena of small hatches, there’s always a next new thing for the typically younger-than-average buyers in the segment.

In Europe, A-Class sales ended the year 1% up, in the PCP-driven UK 6% up. Add in the related CLA and you have a its comes close to leading the premium sector even at the end of its life - both variants sold 311,000 units, pipped by the Audi A3 hatch and saloon (316,000 units) and far ahead of the BMW 1-Series and 2-Series (275,000 units - but with the fastest growth of the three), according to statistics from industry analysts JATO.