Ford sold more cars than any other manufacturer in the UK in 2009; the company has hogged the top slot ever since it first dislodged an ailing British Leyland as market leader 33 years ago. The company 's Fiesta and Focus were also the best selling individual models in Britain last year.

Ford has dominated the UK light commercial vehicle market for even longer – the Transit van has been the best selling van in the UK since it was introduced 45 years ago.

It's worth noting, though that Ford's 2009 UK market share of 15.9 per cent, while a 0.8 per cent improvement on that recorded for 2008, is a lot lower than it was back in the Eighties. For several years, Vauxhall was closing on Ford, but that trend was reversed last year – Vauxhall may have suffered because of the uncertainty that surrounded the future of General Motors' European operations for most of last year.

Ford's success in the UK also comes at a price. The company no longer makes cars in Britain and imports most of those it sells here from the Eurozone; that worked well when sterling was riding high against the euro but its been a loss-making arrangement since the pound suffered a big drop last year, and the company has been edging up its list prices in an effort to compensate.

Ford is also doing well in its US home market, where its recovery is outpacing those of its rivals, Chrysler and GM.

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