• Thousands of Ford, Vauxhall and Volkswagen models predicted to break down this morning, on Christmas Day
  • Nearly 40% of cars fail annually

Nearly 100,000* Christmas lunches could be put on hold today by the most unwelcome of festive mishaps – car breakdowns.

Analysis of Warranty Direct’s 50,000 live policies reveals that, with an average annual failure rate of 36.5% across all makes and models, some 30,000 individual vehicles could break down on Christmas Day.

According to Warranty Direct’s unique Reliability Index (www.reliabilityindex.com), electrical issues, particularly batteries, are expected to be the root cause of more than 25% of all Yuletide breakdowns.

Assuming an average of three occupants per car on Christmas morning, breakdowns could strand nearly 100,000 people on the big day.

Despite being more reliable than average, Vauxhall Corsa owners are the most likely to be affected on Christmas morning – with 1.1 million registered in the UK and a failure rate of 36%, that’s almost 1,200 of the UK’s third most popular model that will break down.

The least reliable model among the top-10 most popular is the BMW 3-series; however, the executive saloon car can boast only 650,000 registered examples on UK roads compared to more than a million Corsas.

Top-10 most popular models by number of registered vehicles & amount predicted to breakdown

Make and model Number of
registered examples
rate (%)
Predicted number
of breakdowns
by model
Ford Focus 1,450,876 24.5 974
Ford Fiesta 1,345,298 16 590
Vauxhall Corsa 1,160,610 36 1,145
Vauxhall Astra 1,099,916 33.6 1,013
Volkswagen Golf 960,418 32.6 858
BMW 3-Series 647,428 38.1 676
Renault Clio 614,082 31 522
Volkswagen Polo 582,473 32.6 520
Ford Mondeo 509,007 33 460
Peugeot 206 470,576 29.5 380

Another popular model – the Ford Focus – is predicted to leave up to 1,000 families stranded on the driveway, followed by the Volkswagen Golf with nearly 900.

Warranty Direct managing director, David Gerrans, said: “A huge number of families expect to travel to see relatives on Christmas day; sadly, breakdowns could result in thousands of cold turkeys.

“The winter is generally tougher on many electrical and mechanical components, which can increase the chances of a breakdown. The only option is to be vigilant when it comes to maintenance.”

For more information on the reliability of your vehicle, visit www.reliabilityindex.com, or for a quote on cover www.warrantydirect.co.uk.