UK new car market grows for ninth month running

UK new car market grows for ninth month running
  • New car market records ninth consecutive month of growth, up 11.6%

  • Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) take 15.4% market share, with additional investment needed for more drivers to make the switch.

  • SMMT upgrades 2023 outlook from 1.79m units to 1.83m as supply chain disruption eases, but BEV forecast softens.

The UK new car market recorded its ninth successive month of growth in April, with an 11.6% increase to reach 132,990 registrations, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The performance marks the best April since 2021’s 141,583 units but remains -17.4% down on 2019 volumes.1

Large fleet registrations grew by a third (33.1%) to 68,537 units as the market naturalised following weaker volumes last year, while deliveries to private buyers fell by -5.5% to 61,342 units.

Smaller business fleets accounted for 3,111 registrations, rising 13.3%.

Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) remained the second most popular fuel type, with deliveries up by more than half to 20,522 and 15.4% of the market.

Plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) also posted strong growth, up 33.3% with 8,595 registered in the month, while hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) recorded a 7.7% increase to 15,026 units.

As a result, electrified vehicles accounted for more than one in three registrations in April. Petrol-powered cars retained their best-selling status, comprising 58.1% of all registrations.2

As supply chain pressures have begun to ease, the overall market is now up 16.9% in the first four months – the best start to a year since the pandemic,3 with growth worth £3.2 billion.4 

This has led to an upward revision of the quarterly market outlook, the first positive revision since 2021, with 1.83 million new car registrations expected in 2023, up from 1.79 million anticipated in January.

That puts expected market growth this year at 13.5%, which would be the best percentage gain since 1983.5

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