6 April 2021

Motor Trade News reports the UK new car market recorded its first growth since last August, with 29,280 more units registered during March compared to the same month last year, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Whilst a sign to be optimistic about, this month represents the anniversary of the first lockdown in March 2020, when the pandemic brought Britain to a standstill and registrations fell by 44.4%.

So far, 2021 has seen 58,032 fewer cars registered compared to January to March last year, equivalent to a loss of £1.8 billion in turnover during the first quarter.

A trend that continues to climb if the switch too EV’s with plug-in vehicle demand reaching its highest ever volume. Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) took a combined market share of 13.9%, up from 7.3% last year as the number of models available to customers increased from 72 to 116.

SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes said: “The past year has been the toughest in modern history and the automotive sector has, like many others, been hit hard. However, with showrooms opening in less than a week, there is optimism that consumer confidence – and hence the market – will return.

“We know we will see record breaking growth next month given April 2020 was a washout, but a strong and sustainable market is possible if customers are attracted to the choice and competitive offer the industry is able to provide within the safest of showroom environments.

“New plug-in models are already helping drive a recovery but to convince more retail consumers to make the switch, they must be assured these new technologies will be convenient for their driving needs and that means, above all, that the charging infrastructure is there where they need it, and when they need it.”

We will look to explore these specific points on the switch to EV’s in our forthcoming report in the Summer.