We suggested the Chinese would follow the lead of Geely and SAIC in buying up more European brands. But why buy a European brand when you can just enter Europe with your own? This was the year in which Hongqi, Nio, Ora, Wey, Xpeng and more set out their stalls, some with good EVs.
We also predicted that more defunct marques could be revived, and this year brought us the promise of new cars from Bristol, Moke, Radford and others. We’re still waiting for that TVR, though…
We also predicted more dealer network conglomeration, through the bigger groups snapping up smaller firms. And that definitely is happening, as Marshall Motor Group’s recent purchase of Motorline shows.
Our boldest prediction on car sales was that the Ford Fiesta – Britain’s best-selling car every year since 2009 – wouldn’t be the Blue Oval’s top model in 2021. That seemed crazy – until you factored in not only the huge popularity of the related Puma crossover but also the increasing pressure from rival superminis.
And it was incredibly close: at the end of October, Ford had sold 26,899 Fiestas and 26,744 Pumas. That’s too close to call, but it seems certain the Fiesta’s streak as Britain’s favourite car is ending: it’s way off the Vauxhall Corsa, 35,183 examples of which were sold in the same 10 months.