The percentage of '90s cars that are registered but declared SORN is relatively low meaning people are still using them for day-to-day tasks, rather than letting them decay on a driveway or only using them in the dry summer.
Even so, many of the cars from the 1990s have been scrapped, so while there are still thousands left there are considerably fewer examples than were built during the decade.
The Ford Fiesta was the bestselling car of the 90s and in fact it still is the bestselling car in the UK - so it’s no surprise there are still loads of them on UK roads. It’s worth considering how many were sold, though – well over a million. So despite the fact more than 200,000 remain, most are long gone.
The Vauxhall Astra was a stalwart in the top ten sales charts throughout the 90s, and despite being a fairly drab car it was a perfectly acceptable family runabout. 163,678 are still taxed and on the road – a higher number than its arch-rival, the Ford Escort, which sold substantially more through the 90s.
The Vauxhall Corsa is a popular used car for first time drivers – it’s cheap, abundant and simple to fix. That simplicity – and a ready supply of spares - might well have contributed to the amount that survive on the road. It might also explain why the car was sold in various strange forms across the developing world until the late 2000s.
The Mk3 Volkswagen Golf maintained Volkswagen’s reputation for solidity. It wasn’t even half as popular as the Ford Escort in the 1990s and yet there are almost 40,000 more 90s Volkswagen Golfs than Escorts still on the roads in the UK today. That’s testament to the cars longstanding reputation for durability – and to its’ owners desire to keep them going.
The Nissan Micra was at its most popular through the 1990s – the bubble shaped second generation car sold well and was used by driving schools and families alike. Many of the Nissan Micras first registered in the 90s are still going today, thanks to simple mechanicals and cheap repair costs. They’re also extremely cheap to buy, making them ideal first cars.
For the first half of the 1990s Volkswagen sold its Mk2 Polo in facelifted form before replacing it with the Mk3 Volkswagen Polo in 1994. That car soldiered on until 2002. It offered the typical Volkswagen solidity buyers seem to love and, despite missing out on a spot in the top ten 1990s bestseller list, more remain than many more popular cars.
The Peugeot 306 was quite a success for Peugeot, selling in fairly large numbers. It was engaging to drive and was available with frugal diesel engines. There are still a good few on the roads in the UK but numbers are falling by around 15% each year, so it’s worth saving the desirable models like the Peugeot 306 GTi-6 while they’re still reasonably affordable.
The Ford Escort might be in this list of common 90s cars but they’re dropping like flies. If Ford Escorts continue to disappear at the current rate they will all be gone within two-and-a-half years. More than a million were registered in the 90s and of those just under 94,000 remain in everyday use, with a further 24,547 declared SORN.
The Renault Clio made it into the top ten overall bestseller list for the 1990s, so it was a very popular little car. Most of those left are still used as everyday runarounds so numbers are steadily declining – but nowhere near as fast as the Ford Escort. There is still high demand for the desirable Williams model, which was one of the best hot hatches of the 90s.
Nowadays the BMW 3 Series often outsells the Ford Mondeo, but that wasn’t the case in the 1990s. However, despite the fact the Mondeo was a bigger seller in its day there are slighty fewer of them left these days. Perhaps people think more prestigious cars are worth maintaining, while more common cars are treated as disposable.
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