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Top 10 fastest disappearing cars from the 1990s

Vauxhall Cavalier

New research has revealed that the Top 10 best-selling cars from the decade of ‘Cool Britannia’ are vanishing from our roads at an alarming rate.

In 1993 the Mk5 Ford Escort was Britain’s best-selling car. It sold 122,002 units that year, but now there are just 460 of those left on the road. That’s a survival rate of 0.37%.

It’s a similar story with the Mk3 Fiesta, which was second in the best-sellers list with 110,449 finding new homes in 1993. Now just 435 of those are still on the road – a survival rate of 0.39%.

In fact, none of the Top 10 best-selling cars from 1993 has a survival rate of more than 1% – that means 99% have been crushed.

The startling statistics have been uncovered by Honest John Classics which used the latest vehicle data to give readers a figure of how many cars from the 1990s are registered – both those on the road and those off the road, plus those that have been scrapped.

But why are so many of the cars from the 1990s endangered species? There are several reasons, but one of the biggest is the 2009-10 scrappage scheme when the Government encouraged people to trade-in cars more than 10 years old for £2,000 off a new car – a discount that you could’ve got by haggling. In total, 392,227 future classics were taken off the road because of the scrappage scheme.

Rover 400

For example, 2,613 Rover 400s were taken off the road in 2016 – that’s 20.8% of the total number left. At the current rate of extinction, they will all be gone in five years.

It’s a similar story for the Vauxhall Cavalier and Citroen Saxo. Once beloved of sales reps everywhere, 10.2% of 1990s Cavaliers have been scrapped. While the Saxo, which defined modified motoring for the Max Power generation saw 2505 destroyed – 24.1% of the total left.

Top 10 fastest disappearing 1990s cars

Make and Model Number on the road in 2015 Number on the road in 2016 Number scrapped % change
Ford Fiesta 80519 62549 -17970 -22.3%
Vauxhall Corsa 57381 44022 -13359 -23.3%
Vauxhall Astra 60996 47771 -13225 -21.7%
Volkswagen Polo 45051 35888 -9163 -20.3%
Ford Focus 35257 26478 -8779 -24.9%
Renault Clio 35257 26478 -8779 -24.9%
Peugeot 206 16181 11969 -4212 -26.0%
Rover 400 12546 9933 -2613 -20.8%
Nissan Almera 10840 8252 -2588 -23.9%
Citroen Saxo 10375 7870 -2505 -24.1%
Vauxhall Cavalier 7760 6969 -791 -10.2%


Top 10 selling cars in 1993 (and their survival rates)

Position Make and Model Number sold in 1993 Number remaining in 2017 (taxed and MoT’d) % survival rate
1 Ford Escort 122,002 460 0.37%
2 Ford Fiesta 110,449 435 0.39%
3 Vauxhall Astra 108,204 906 0.84%
4 Vauxhall Cavalier 104,104 573 0.55%
5 Ford Mondeo 88,660 322 0.36%
6 Rover 200 77,745 508 0.65%
7 Rover Metro 57,068 249 0.44%
8 Peugeot 405 52,184 250 0.48%
9 Vauxhall Corsa 51,608 443 0.86%
10 Renault Clio 45,269 220 0.48%
Total N/A 817,293 4,366 0.53%

About Gareth Herincx

Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who's worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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