New car market grows for seventh month in a row
The UK’s new car market has grown for seven consecutive months, new figures show.
Some 74,441 new cars were registered last month, up 26.2% on February 2022, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said.
The increase is due to an easing of global supply chain shortages, according to the industry body.
The SMMT anticipates that registrations across the whole of 2023 will reach 1.79 million, up 11.1% on last year.
The total for February was just 6.5% down on the same month in 2020, before the coronavirus pandemic affected sales.
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “After seven months of growth, it is no surprise that the UK automotive sector is facing the future with growing confidence.
“It is vital, however, that Government takes every opportunity to back the market, which plays a significant role in Britain’s economy and net zero ambition.
“As we move into new plate month in March, with more of the latest hi-tech cars available, the upcoming Budget must deliver measures that drive this transition, increasing affordability and ease of charging for all.”
Registrations of hybrid electric vehicles were 40.0% higher in February than during the same month in 2022.
The market share for pure electrics was 16.5%, down from 17.7% a year ago.
Combined, plug-ins account for more than a fifth (22.8%) of all new cars delivered last month.
Numerically, sales of battery-electric cars are up on where they were last year but in terms of market share? Exactly the same. @iwengraf pic.twitter.com/ByXSsdLRcL
— RAC Foundation (@racfoundation) March 6, 2023
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “Looked at as a barometer for the economy, this rise in overall sales looks like good news.
“But in terms of the cars we are choosing to buy, the battery-electric share of the market is disappointing given the role electric vehicles are set to play in meeting our climate change objectives.
“Unless we choose to drive less, by the end of 2030 we estimate that well over a third of all miles driven by cars must be zero emission from the exhaust.
“At the moment it is under 2%, which suggests a far more rapid take-up of pure electric models is needed.”