Ford Fiesta most popular car of 2011 so far

The Ford Fiesta continued its domination of the best selling car sales chart in April – but registrations were down overall by 7.4 per cent, according to the SMMT.

Ford's hatchback found 6,700 homes in April and remains the best-selling car of the year with an impressive 34,679 shifted.

The second best-selling car was the VW Golf, but it was quite some way off the dominant Fiesta's tally, with dealers shifting 4,973 units. In third was Vauxhall's Astra missing out on second place by only 73 cars!

There will be celebrations at Luton, though, as the Corsa sealed fourth place with 4,888 sold – pushing the Ford Focus into fifth (4,843). This is likely to change as soon as new Focus supply is ramped up – dealers are still trying to sell off the run-out model alongside the recently refreshed hatchback.

Volkwagen's Polo sits in sixth place with 4,500 units registered and in seventh the Vauxhall success story continues with the Insignia finding homes with 3,912 buyers.

The Nissan Qashqai moved up a place to eighth with 3,738 registered – but that figure could have been considerably more had the manufacturer not been suffering the supply issues it currently is with the popular crossover.

BMW's perennial favourite the 3 Series took ninth with 3,133 sold and there was an unusual appearance for the Volkswagen Passat in 10th which managed to find 2,720 homes – most likely to be with fleet buyers.

Overall, April saw 137,746 new cars registered across the UK – a fall of 7.4 per cent on April 2010. It means car sales are now down 8.5 per cent this year, a decline of more than 64,000 cars. However, remember during that period in 2010 there were 100,000 scrappage scheme cars registered.

The market is expected to recover in 2012, back above the two million annual unit level seen before the recession. But the SMMT warns buyer uncertainty and a lack of confidence from possible short-term supply constraints caused by the earthquake in Japan could still cause problems this year

"New car registrations in April demonstrated continued stability in the marketplace, with demand remaining lower than in 2010, although slightly ahead of industry expectations," said Paul Everitt, the SMMT's chief executive. "The coming months will remain challenging, but we do expect to see a return to growth in the second half of the year."

Sue Robinson, director of the RMI, added: "The April market has performed relatively well during a period that has seen a lot of disruption with a number of factors slowing the market.

"There have been a number of bank holidays which resulted in slow showroom traffic, although when consumers visited they did tend to buy. There has also been a knock on affect on supply after the disaster in Japan and there are still signs of a lack of consumer confidence. That said, the results show that despite the conditions people are still out there visiting showrooms and willing to purchase."

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