Over 22,600 Ford Fiesta hatchbacks were sold in March 2012 compared to 17,200 Vauxhall Corsa hatchbacks in the same month, figures from the Society of Motoring Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show.
It was a good month for Ford, whose Ford Focus hatchback and estate models combined to finish in third place in the best-seller chart for March.
The two Ford models also top the sales charts for the first three months of the year with the Fiesta and Focus racking up 33,390 and 24,442 sales respectively.
As a whole car registrations in the UK rose by 1.8 per cent, a figure boosted by the introduction of attractive new car offers and new car discounts to celebrate the arrival of the new 12-plates, according to the SMMT.
“Domestic demand for new cars is showing signs of recovery with private buyers increasingly returning to take advantage of a wide range of excellent products and, this month, the new 12-plate,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT Chief Executive.
However, cost-conscious buyers are still favouring smaller cars with superminis such as the Fiesta and Corsa making up a third of the new car market.
More frugal diesels are also outstripping petrol sales in the UK, while alternatively fuelled vehicles such as electric and hybrid models saw another increase in sales of 5.6 per cent.
However, the UK is yet to see a hybrid or electric car in the top ten monthly best-sellers, something the likes of Vauxhall will be hoping to change with the forthcoming launch of the Vauxhall Ampera extended-range electric hatchback in May.