There are more cars on the UK’s roads than ever before as the population grows and becomes more reliant on personal transport. Between 2002 and 2021, the number of cars registered in the UK rose from 28.5 million to 35m, according to the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders. But while the overall number is rising quickly, some models of car are vanishing even more rapidly.
A new study of DVLA data by comparison site Confused has found that some makes have seen a decline of up to 90% over the last decade and some models have dropped in numbers by up to 95%.
Among the brands, short-lived Korean oddity Daewoo is the fastest vanishing, seeing a 90% decline since 2001, just ahead of Sao - a South African brand that sold a grand total of six rebadged Mazdas in the early 1990s. Just one still exists, equating to a 83% decline. Other relative minnows such as Proton, Tata and Chrysler are also rapidly vanishing, alongside more famous but now-defunct names such as Rover and Saab.
But we wanted to get right down to the nitty gritty, so here are the 10 individual models that have declined in numbers the most since 2012.
1. Fiat Brava: -94.88% (14,995 to 767)
The Brava was part of a twin-model range launched by Fiat in 1995, alongside the Bravo as three- or five-door variants of the same basic package. The Brava was pitched as the more practical, family friendly version, with a more comfort-focused chassis setup while the Bravo was the youthful sporty one. Both were praised for being a major step up from the unreliable Tipo but the years haven’t been kind and since production ended in 2001, they’ve quickly been disappearing from our roads.
2. Daewoo Lanos: -93.55% (16,020 to 1,034)
Daewoo’s history in the UK is a tortured one. The brand started off selling slightly restyled Vauxhalls, put its name to rebadged SsangYongs for a bit, launched its own range models and was then bought out and rebadged as Chrysler. The Lanos was Daewoo’s first car created in-house and launched in 1997. Design was by Italdesign but the Lanos’s focus was on reliability and value rather than looks and driving thrills. It did well for the brand among customers seeking low-cost motoring but the brand and model vanished in the early 2000s when GM took over.
3. Kia Shuma: -93.36% (4,185 to 278)
Of all the brands on this list Kia, along with Hyundai, has seen the most spectacular transformation. While its fellow Korean marques have largely foundered, it has gone from the purveyor of cheap and nasty also-rans to one of the most important mainstream manufacturers in the country. The five-door Shuma was part of its early-00s onslaught that laid the groundwork, offering decent space, reliability and generous equipment for relatively little money.
4. Daewoo Tacuma: -93.34% (6,994 to 466)
The Tacuma was another of Daewoo’s in-house efforts, designed to offer a compact family MPV in the period when the market was awash with cars like the Renault Scenic, Citroen Picasso and Vauxhall Meriva. It survived longer than some Daewoo models and was rebadged as a Chevrolet for a while but perhaps its most distinctive feature is that you could specify it with an on-board PlayStation linked to a ceiling-mounted screen.