Top Gear hits its… top gear

Top Gear sped ahead in the motoring market, selling over 60,000 copies more than its nearest competitor.

The BBC monthly, enjoying its most successful ABC results, sold 182,706 copies, up 9.6 per cent against 120,276 sold by Haymarket's What Car? which was down 4.7 per cent.

Simon Carrington, marketing manager for Top Gear, said: "The result makes Top Gear the fourth-biggest selling men's consumer monthly, which means that if you have got great editorial, you can succeed despite a struggling market."

Earlier this month, Haymarket acquired What Car? rival Test Drive from Dennis Publishing and immediately closed it, while Emap, which publishes Car, announced a radical shake up of the title into a premium brand, with its listings and news moving online. Car was down 17.5 per cent year on year to 78,831.

In the general motoring market Dennis's Auto Express sales fell to 87,018, down 4.4 per cent and Haymarket's Autocar was down 8 per cent to 60,934. Dennis's Evo was the only other title to increase sales, up 1.7 per cent to 73,830.

James Burnay, publisher, Dennis Motoring Division, said: "Evo's result is very strong and the period-on-period and year-on-year growth don't tell the whole story. The actively purchased sales are actually up 4 per cent, showing that if you get the right blend of emotive features you can buck the trend of the monthly motoring market."

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