Figures reveal the cars left languishing in UK garages

01_SORN_CarsKwik Fit has analysed the data for all car models with at least 10,000 vehicles still registered in the UK, to discover which have the greatest proportion off the road.

These are cars listed by DVLA as SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification). Figures are based on tables published 14 April 2016.

12. Saab 900

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Percentage SORN: 42%
Total in UK/registered as SORN: 10,273/4,287

Fans of eccentric Swedish cars rejoice, because the Kwik Fit research reveals there’s as many as 4,287 Saab 900s sat in gardens and garages up and down the land. That’s a mighty 42% of all Saab 900s registered with the DVLA. These things were built to last, so it’s no surprise to see so many left in the UK.

11. Mercedes-Benz 200

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There are many different Mercedes-Benz 200 models, but the Kwik Fit figures suggest as many as 45% of all the cars left are listed as SORN. Who knows that people are planning to do with them. These aren’t necessarily small cars to store away.

Percentage SORN: 45%
Total in UK/registered as SORN: 14,060/6,368

10. MGB

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Percentage SORN: 46%
Total in UK/registered as SORN: 36,046/16,512

Here’s one you probably expected to find in the top 10. The MGB is one of Britain’s best loved classic cars, with figures from Kwik Fit suggesting there’s as many as 36,046 in the UK. We’d expect the proportion listed as SORN to fall during summer months, as owners enjoy the fine weather in their British sports car.

9. Mercedes-Benz 300

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Percentage SORN: 47%
Total in UK/registered as SORN: 12,876/6,061

Another multi-model here, with the Mercedes-Benz 300. Somewhere in the country, there’s probably a huge underground lair filled with ageing Mercs. Probably.

8. MGF

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Percentage SORN: 47%
Total in UK/registered as SORN: 21,655/10,227

It says something about the enduring appeal of the MGB that there’s fewer MGFs left in the country, either on the road or off it. Does this highlight a shift to a more disposable culture or simply that the MGB was a better product? Answers on a postcard…

7. MG Midget

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Percentage SORN: 50%
Total in UK/registered as SORN: 14,216/7,096

You don’t need a huge amount of space to squirrel away an MG Midget, which helps to explain why 50% of the cars left are listed as SORN. As with the MGB, we’d expect this figure to drop during the summer months.

6. Ford Escort

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Percentage SORN: 58%
Total in UK/registered as SORN: 58,085/33,651

Well over 4.5 million Ford Escorts were sold, placing it second behind the Ford Fiesta in the list of Britain’s best selling cars of all time. In that respect, 58,085 doesn’t represent a good survival rate, but enough people care for there to be 58% of the surviving Escorts to be stored away for a later date.

5. Rover Mini

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Percentage SORN: 58%
Total in UK/registered as SORN: 28,813/16,810

The fact that the original Mini is one of Britain’s best loved cars helps to explain the percentage SORN figure. It became the Rover Mini in 1988, making these the most recent examples sold in Britain. Will people grow attached to their modern MINI in the same way?

4. Vauxhall Cavalier

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Percentage SORN: 61%
Total in UK/registered as SORN: 10,449/6,357

There are ‘only’ 6,357 Vauxhall Cavaliers listed as SORN, but that’s a huge proportion of the total left in the UK. Our guess is that there’s a generation of former sales reps, who like to sit in their laid-up Cavalier, reminiscing about the good old days of sales conferences, Little Chef Early Starters and Stacey from accounts.

3. Peugeot 205

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Percentage SORN: 63%
Total in UK/registered as SORN: 17,135/10,767

The Peugeot 205 was one of the greatest superminis ever built, so it’s encouraging to see so many listed as SORN. While we expect a sizeable chunk to be the desirable GTI models, we shouldn’t neglect the common or garden models. Questionable safety standards aside, the 205 would make for a good, useable daily classic.

2. Austin Mini

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Percentage SORN: 67%
Total in UK/registered as SORN: 23,166/15,416

The Mini started life as the Austin Se7en and Morris Mini-Minor, later becoming the Austin Mini. The Kwik Fit data reveals that as many as 67% of all the cars left are listed as SORN, with owners keen to protect their Mini from the ravages of the great British winter.

1. Ford Sierra

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Percentage SORN: 75%
Total in UK/registered as SORN: 13,651/10,277

And so to the top of the chart, where we find the Ford Sierra. We bet you weren’t expecting that? It took a while for Britain’s motorists to embrace the space age styling of the Ford Sierra, but once they did, it became one of the country’s most popular cars. As a nation, we love the Sierra enough to save three-quarters of the survivors for a later date.

Next, we move on to the top 10 cars with the highest numbers off road, rather than the highest percentage.

10. Ford Mondeo

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Registered as SORN: 32,715

We start with the Sierra’s replacement: the evergreen Ford Mondeo. Saloon cars are falling out of favour, as the country turns to crossovers and SUVs, but there’s still a staggering 32,715 Mondeos listed as SORN.

9. Peugeot 206

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Registered as SORN: 32,769

The 206 is Peugeot’s best selling car of all time, so it’s no surprise to discover there’s over 400,000 left in the UK. Of these, 32,769 are listed as SORN, which is 8% of the total number.

8. Ford Escort

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Registered as SORN: 33,651

The Ford Escort also appears in the top 10 car models with the greatest number registered off road. Its replacement – the Ford Focus – can be found later on.

7. Renault Clio

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Registered as SORN: 38,041

We promise to get through this slide without mentioning Nicole or Papa. Wait, what?

6. Ford Focus

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Registered as SORN: 43,129

Figures from Kwik Fit suggest there are over 1.5 million Ford Focus cars in the UK, so the number registered as SORN represents a tiny 3% proportion of the total.

5. Vauxhall Astra

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Registered as SORN: 48,467

Finally, the Vauxhall Astra manages to beat the Ford Focus in a chart.

4. BMW 3 Series

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Registered as SORN: 50,447

This figure represents 7% of the 705,022 BMW 3 Series cars in the UK. Where on earth are they being stored?

3. Vauxhall Corsa

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Registered as SORN: 53,873

Kwik Fit’s communications director, Roger Griggs said: “Sometimes all that’s keeping these cars from daily use are some new tyres and a valid MOT certificate.” We could also suggest that the number includes pre-registered cars waiting for their first owner…

2. Ford Fiesta

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Registered as SORN: 57,612

The country’s most popular car fails to top this particular chart. There are well over 1.5 million Fiestas in the UK, of which 57,612 are registered as SORN. We’ve got to hope the majority are Mk1 and Mk2 models, but we’re not holding our breath.

1. Volkswagen Golf

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Registered as SORN: 60,875

If only everything in life was reliable as a SORN-registered Volkswagen Golf…

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  • Murgatroyd

    ‘If only everything in life was reliable as a SORN-registered Volkswagen Golf…’

    It probably is.