Porsche has confirmed that it sold more Taycan electric vehicles than models of the German car maker’s legendary 911 sports cars in 2021, as it posted the highest sales in its 91-year history.
It confirmed on Wednesday morning deliveries of 41,296 battery-powered Taycans – which cost from £72,850 – worldwide last year.
That compared with 38,464 sales of its most iconic performance model, which was itself an annual record for the 911 nameplate in its 59-year history.
Demand for Taycans helped push Porsche to a new record of 301,915 sales last year and is further evidence of the increasing demand for electric models, even in the sports car sector. However, it was Porsche’s SUVs that still sold in the biggest numbers.
Topping the charts in 2021 was the Macan, with 88,362 deliveries. This was marginally ahead of the bigger Cayenne with 83,071 sold last year.
Porsche said the 911, which was first launched back in 1963 as the 901, was handed over to more customers than ever before, but appetite for its all-electric Taycan eclipsed its long-running sports car icon.
Best-selling Porsches worldwide in 2021
1. Macan – 88,362
2. Cayenne – 83,071
3. Taycan – 41,296
4. 911 – 38,464
5. Panamera – 30,220
6. 718 Boxster/Cayman – 20,502
Source: Porsche AG
Taycan sales were boosted by the arrival of the Cross Turismo shooting brake body style and the arrival of an entry-level rear-wheel drive version in 2021.
The bumper Taycan sales are another example of how traditional car makers are eating into Tesla’s dominance of the luxury electric car market.
The results are a sliding door moment for the German marque, which had already started to embrace electrification with plug-in hybrid versions of other models in its range, including the Cayenne and Panamera.
And it also suggests that buyers of high-performance cars are coming around to the concept of extremely fast machines without the soundtrack of a combustion engine.
The full-year sales report shows that around two in five Porsches delivered in Europe in 2021 were ‘electrified’ models, either hybrids or 100 per cent electric Taycans.
‘The overall result is very promising and shows the strategy to further electrify our fleet is working and is in line with demand and the preferences of our customers,’ said Detlev von Platen, member of the executive board responsible for Sales and Marketing at Porsche AG.
While Taycan sales were impressive, Porsche’s most popular models are still its SUVs.
And the popularity of Macan will likely see a rise in electric car sales for Porsche in 2022, with the brand set to reveal a new model in a matter of months, including a battery-powered version.
The new all-electric Macan will be sold alongside the existing combustion engine model during a transition period, with Porsche targeting for 80 per cent of all deliveries to be electric by 2030.
The 301,915 total sales in 2021 was an 11 per cent rise on the previous record in 2020.
Growth was especially strong in the USA, where 22 per cent more vehicles were delivered than in the previous year.
However, China remains the largest single market for the sports car manufacturer, with 95,671 units being an increase of eight per cent on 2020.
Record sales were achieved in the face of ongoing semiconductor shortages and production issues.
Mr von Platen said: ‘Despite the challenges posed by the semi-conductor shortage and the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic we have been working hard to enable more customers than ever before to fulfil their dream of owning a Porsche.
‘Demand remains high and our order books are looking very robust, so we start 2022 full of momentum and confidence in all regions of the world.’
Lamborghini also posted a new sales record in 2021… but three in five deliveries were NOT supercars
Another luxury car brand to announced record sales last year is Lamborghini, which like Porsche is owned by the VW Group.
A total of 8,405 cars were delivered worldwide, up by 13 per cent on 2020.
In the UK alone, 564 Lamborghinis were bought, which is 9 per cent more than the year previous.
The majority of the sales success can be attributed to Lamborghini’s first SUV, the Urus.
The brand shifted 5,021 examples of the high-performance 4X4 last term, which means that three in five Lamborghinis bought were SUV models.
Stephan Winkelmann, chairman and CEO, said: ‘This record has provided confirmation of four factors for us: the solidity of our strategic plan, our brand’s outstanding international reputation, the competence and passion of our people and the exceptional professionalism and dynamism shown by our 173 dealers in 52 markets, who have continued to invest alongside us at a challenging, uncertain time.’
Lamborghini is set embark on its first phase towards electrification by launching the first in its new hybrid range of supercars from 2023.
Britain’s top 10 most-bought cars in 2021
10. Toyota Yaris
2021 registrations: 27,415
2020 ranking: 15th (up 5 places)
The all-new Yaris was named 2021 European Car of the Year and picked up a number of different accolades last year, also boosted by the huge popularity of the GR Yaris rally-inspired hot hatch.
Glowing recommendations weren’t what entirely drove the Japanese supermini to tenth spot in the overall sales standings.
Toyota was one of the brands that best managed the semiconductor chip shortage last year, having stockpiled the essential parts. However, in August it was hit by supply issues, with the company forced to suspend production during September. Still, the impressive small car racked up enough sales to scrape into the top 10.
Toyota’s impressive management of the chip shortage also saw it become the best-selling car maker in the United States, dethroning General Motors, which had held the crown as US’s favourite brand every year since 1931.
9. Kia Sportage
2021 registrations: 27,611
2020 ranking: 16th (up 7 places)
Price: from £26,745 (2022 model)
The Sportage has always been a relatively popular family SUV in the UK, taking sixteenth spot overall in 2020. The rise to ninth spot last year is likely due to cars being available to buy.
That’s because an all-new Sportage hits the market in 2022, meaning dealers would have been shifting the remaining stock of previous-generation examples.
Why is it so attractive to buyers in Britain? Firstly, it is competitively priced – and that’s before you take into account any discounts with dealerships looking to make space in their showrooms for the arrival of the 2022 model.
But it is also packed with loads of equipment and is sold with Kia’s long-lasting seven-year warranty.
8. Ford Puma
2021 registrations: 28,697
2020 ranking: 9th (up 1 place)
Like the Toyota Yaris, the Ford Puma has picked up plenty of awards since it hit the market a couple of year ago, winning a string of gongs in 2020.
Incredibly, it’s the only Ford model in the top 10 list of best-selling cars, with both the Focus and – incredibly – the Fiesta dropping out of the order for the first time in decades.
Insiders suggest the reason for the pair of Ford stalwarts falling down the pecking order of registrations wasn’t a case of dwindling demand but a shift in tactics by the company as it appeared to prioritise semiconductor availability for the production of its commercial vehicles.
The Puma officially becomes the best-selling compact SUV in 2021, retaining the accolade from 2020 by leading the expanding sector.
7. Nissan Qashqai
2021 registrations: 29,992
2020 ranking: 6th (down 1 place)
The Qashqai has retained its crown of Britain’s most popular SUV in 2021, amassing more sales than any of its rivals yet again – a feat it has managed ever since it was first introduced in 2007.
One big factor helping to boost the Qashqai’s popularity among Britons is the fact it is produced on our shores, with the SUV assembled at Nissan’s Sunderland factory. And a new version arrived in 2021 offering mild-hybrid technology, plenty of extra equipment, a boost in practicality and fresh new looks.
A combination of orders for the third-generation car and sales of remaining second-gen model stocks in showrooms has kept it firmly among the best-selling new passenger vehicles of the previous 12 months.
A new ‘e-Power’ hybrid is set to be made available soon, which should help to cement the Qashqai’s position among the most popular motors in 2022 as drivers switch to greener vehicles.
6. Volkswagen Golf
2021 registrations: 30,240
2020 ranking: 3rd (down 3 places)
Every car maker has suffered as a result of the semiconductor shortage, with automotive giant VW also caught up in the global issue.
As a result, the Golf – traditionally Volkswagen’s best-selling new car – has slipped down the charts to sixth, having been the third most popular model in Britain behind the Vauxhall Corsa and Ford Fiesta in 2020.
Reduced outputs at the brand’s Wolfsburg plant mean the German car maker has a backlog of Golf orders to fulfil.
The eighth-generation car hit the market last year, meaning it has arrived at one of the most difficult times for the sector.
5. Volkswagen Polo
2021 registrations: 30,634
2020 ranking: 8th (up 3 places)
Like the Golf, there is a new Polo on the market, which arrived on sale late last year.
That means its position of fifth in the 2021 rankings is likely a result of available stock being sold to make way for the latest iteration, with order books for the latter opening around September.
This has pushed the Polo above its bigger sibling in the UK sales charts for the first time in years.
Registrations hit 30,634 last year, which was 394 examples more than the Golf. Volkswagen – for the first time on record – was the most popular car brand in Britain last year, overtaking Ford.
4. Mercedes-Benz A-Class
2021 registrations: 30,710
2020 ranking: 5th (up 1 place)
The UK has a new favourite family hatchback – and it’s a premium model.
The Mercedes A-Class now outsells the VW Golf, Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra and every other mainstream family hatch on the market, and has also completely thrashed the BMW 1 Series – arguably its closest rival.
This second-generation A-Class only arrived on the market late in 2017 but has had a big impact on UK buyers and proved a huge hit thanks to attractive finance deals.
Private customers and fleet operators have been lapping it up due to its quality interior and high safety standards. This has seen the Merc move one place higher in the sales standings than last year.
3. Mini Hatchback
2021 registrations: 31,792
2020 ranking: 7th (up 4 places)
The Minis rise to the third most-bought new car in 2021 is despite owners BMW being forced to pause assembly lines at its Plant Oxford site in April, again due to semiconductor shortages.
Yet some 31,792 examples of the compact hatchback – both three and five-door models – were registered in the UK, according to the latest SMMT figures.
This means the Mini has jumped four places higher in the popularity ranks for UK drivers compared to a year ago.
The Mini Electric – also built at the Oxford factory – likely helped to boost sales, with the zero-emission version of the car the seventh best-selling pure-electric vehicle last year.
2. Tesla Model 3
2021 registrations: 34,783
2020 ranking: 14th (up 12 places)
In 2020 the Tesla Model 3 set a new record by becoming the first fully-electric car to break into the top 15 best sellers in Britain.
Last year, it went to dizzying new heights and has become the second most-bought new passenger car in the country, with a massive 34,783 registrations during 2021.
Incredibly, at the end of November the Model 3 wasn’t even among the top 10.
However, a shipment that arrived in the final month of the year – as tends to be the case with Teslas mostly coming to the UK in bulk at the end of each quarter – saw it leap up the standings, with 9,612 Model 3s (almost a third) registered in December alone.
The majority of Model 3 customers will be company car drivers who are taking advantage of the lucrative salary sacrifice scheme with low benefit in kind taxation of 1 per cent for electric vehicles.
1. Vauxhall Corsa
2021 registrations: 40,914
2020 ranking: 2nd (up 1 place)
The Ford Fiesta has been the top-selling new car in Britain for the previous 12 years. But it has been forced to pass the baton to a new king, the Corsa.
It will be a bitter pill for Ford to swallow, passing the gong to its nearest rival, and brings to an end a 50 year run of a Ford topping the sales charts.
It also spells the end of a record held by the brand for half a century. The last time a car without the blue oval badge on its bonnet (either the Cortina, Escort, Focus or Fiesta) was crowned the nation’s best seller was in 1971 when the Austin/Morris 1100/1300 topped the registration rankings.
The Corsas rise to the top is down to a combination of factors, including plenty of fleet sales and the popularity of its all-electric Corsa-e, which was the ninth most-bought pure electric car in Britain in 2021.
However, the Corsa WASN’T the best-selling motor in Britain last year…
NATION’S BEST-SELLING VEHICLE OVERALL IN 2021: Ford Transit Custom van
2021 registrations: 53,394
2020 ranking: Behind Vauxhall Corsa and Ford Fiesta (up 2 places)
Price: from £28,825 (excl VAT)
That’s right, the best-selling new motor in the UK last year wasn’t a car but a van.
A total of around 355,000 vans sold in 2021 – up 21 per cent on 2020 and only two per cent down on 2019.
Ford’s Transit Custom topped the commercial vehicle sales charts, amassing 53,394 registrations, which is more than any car model last year and 12,480 units ahead of the Vauxhall Corsa.
Industry insiders claim the rise in demand for vans due to the increasing reliance on deliveries during the pandemic saw Ford prioritise its semiconductor availability to its commercial vehicles. For those manufacturers that build them, vans also offer stronger profit margins than passenger cars because they are less expensive to produce.
It also explains why the two-tonne Transit also sold in massive numbers last year with 34,923 registrations – enough to place ahead of the Mini Hatchback in the list above.