New car market approaching pre-Covid levels

UK new car registrations grew by 26.2% in February as 74,441 new cars joined Britain’s roads.

According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), this marked the seventh month of consecutive growth as easing supply chain shortages steered the market closer to pre-pandemic levels, down just 6.5% on the same month in 2020.

Meanwhile, hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) recorded the most significant growth of all fuel types, up 40%, followed by petrol, up 35.8% with a 56.9% market share, while diesel registrations fell by seven per cent. Zero emission capable vehicles continued their upward trend, with plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) rising one per cent and battery electric vehicles (BEVs) posting another strong month, up 18.2% to account for one in six new UK car registrations.

Combined, plug-ins accounted for almost a quarter (22.8%) of all deliveries in the month.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, 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 high-tech cars available, the upcoming Budget must deliver measures that drive this transition, increasing affordability and ease of charging for all.”