KIA, Ford and Volkswagen emerged as big winners in January's resurgent new car market - and there's a good reason for it, according to the UK's leading publisher of automotive advice and insight.
For, according to new stats from Autovia's Driver Power research, the trio and their dealers were top dogs in terms of maintaining buyer interest over time while others - including several premium brands - struggled to fulfil buyers' desires.
Driver Power, which captures the opinions and intentions of up to 60,000 car buyers per year, saw Kia ranked top of the list of brands motorists were planning to buy, when asked during the third quarter of last year. That intention was translated into results when the SMMT revealed Kia as the top-selling brand in January.
In contrast, some brands were edged out of the top ten sellers by strong performance from the likes of MINI, which replaced parent brand BMW's fourth place among intended purchases in the SMMT's final January sales data.
Others improved their position, including Ford, which moved up from the fifth most targeted brand to second place in actual sales. Two more brands - Hyundai and Vauxhall - also saw a boost in buyer interest, reaching the top ten registrations chart after ranking 11th and 19th among buyer intentions last September.
Examples of brands which lost ground, failing to translate consumer plans to buy into actual sales, included Jaguar, Land Rover, Audi and Lexus. They were all ranked in the top ten of brands consumers were intending to purchase but for which top ten January sales rankings failed to materialise.
Autovia believes that with lead times typically averaging anywhere between three and six months, or even beyond, capitalising on original positive intentions to buy is more challenging for manufacturers than ever.
Steve Fowler, Editor-in-Chief of Autovia, said: "In the current uniquely challenging new car market a lot can happen between someone deciding they want to buy a certain car and the dealer actually delivering that car to them, so January's market performance is a tribute to the staying power in buyers' minds of Kia, Ford and Volkswagen."