Off-Roaders: the top UK cars declared SORN to avoid the scrapyard

Kwik Fit | Tuesday 12th April 2022 4:18pm

Rusty volkswagen beetle

New statistics published by the Department of Transport reveal the top selling cars of yesteryear which are now most likely to be up on bricks in the driveway, in pieces as a garage ‘project’, or perhaps just quietly rusting in the long grass of the front garden.

A closer look at the statistics of the UK’s National Car Parks shows that many models which were once the nation’s favourites are now among the 1.94 million cars registered as being off the road with the owner making a SORN declaration to the DVLA.

What does SORN mean?

SORN stands for Statutory Off Road Notification. When a vehicle owner makes a SORN it means they have registered the vehicle as being off-road with the DVLA, that is, the vehicle is not in use or parked on a public road. Declaring a vehicle as off-road also means that you won’t have to buy road tax for the vehicle and is ideal if you are keeping the car in a garage or driveway either because you simply can’t bear to part with it or you hope to one day bring it back to its former glory.

Once the vehicle returns to the road, is scrapped, sold, or taken abroad, the SORN no longer applies and it is no longer considered as off-road.

Down but not out

Abandoned car

The Department of Transport statistics show that significant numbers of some of the most popular cars of previous generations are still in existence, but are no longer seen on the roads. 

We analysed the data for all car models with at least 10,000 vehicles still registered in the UK, to find out which have the greatest proportion off road.  While the Ford Sierra was one of the most popular cars of the 1980s (with over 1 million units sold) - 75% of the Sierra models remaining in the UK today are no longer being used on the road. Our study also found that two cars which are widely regarded as having changed everyday motoring now find themselves almost as widely neglected - 67% of Austin Minis and 63% of Peugeot 205s are registered as off road. 61% of Vauxhall Cavaliers are now off road, while the Rover version of the Mini completes the top five with 58% no longer in daily usage.

Perhaps it is our collective love for these models that stops them heading for the scrapyard.

Top car models with the highest proportion registered as off the road

Make & Model Total in the UKNumber Registered as SORN% of Total Registered as SORN
Ford Sierra 13,65110,277 75%
Austin Mini 23,16615,416 67%
Peugeot 205 17,13510,767 63%
Vauxhall Cavalier 10,4496,357 61%
Rover Mini 28,81316,810 58%
Ford Escort 58,08533,651 58%
MG Midget 14,2167,096 50%
MG MGF 21,65510,227 47%
Mercedes 300 12,8766,061 47%
MG MGB 36,04616,512 46%
Mercedes 200 14,0606,368 45%
Saab 900 10,2734,287 42%

Table includes only models with more than 10,000 vehicles in the UK

Top 10 car models with the greatest number registered off road

Make & Model Number Registered as SORNTotal in the UK% of Total Registered as SORN
Volkswagen Golf 60,8751,102,638 6%
Ford Fiesta 57,6121,523,111 4%
Vauxhall Corsa 53,8731,244,538 4%
BMW 3 Series 50,447705,022 7%
Vauxhall Astra 48,4671,121,893 4%
Ford Focus 43,1291,508,036 3%
Renault Clio 38,041613,193 6%
Ford Escort 33,65158,085 58%
Peugeot 206 32,769405,686 8%
Ford Mondeo 32,715477,127 7%

Sometimes all that’s keeping these cars from daily use are some new tyres and a valid MOT certificate.  Kwik Fit offers fixed price servicing for most makes of car including many models now considered classics. If you have a vehicle that’s registered as off road, contact your local centre to see how much it would cost to get it back to being road legal and running well – it may be a lot less than you imagine and could be more cost effective than buying a new car.

Kwik Fit analysis of car statistics tables produced by the Department for Transport and published 14 April 2016 covering cars licensed and those registered with a SORN.

Tags : MOT Service

Any facts, figures and prices shown in our blog articles are correct at time of publication.

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