New car market swells by a quarter

The new car market grew 24.4% in August with 85,657 new vehicles registered.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reported this was an increase of 16,799 units, although it remains 7.5% below pre-pandemic levels.

The increase was fuelled by a surge in registrations by large fleets, rising 58.4% to 51,951 units, while business registrations grew 39.4% to 1,635 units.

Meanwhile, demand for electrified vehicles continued to grow, accounting for almost four in 10 (37.8%) new cars reaching the road. Battery electric vehicle uptake swelled by 72.3% to secure a 20.1% market share, an August record and the highest recorded since last December. Plug-in hybrid uptake also rose significantly, by 70%, to account for 7.7% of new registrations. Hybrid volumes remained relatively stable with a 6.8% increase, comprising 10% of the market.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “With the automotive industry beginning a second year of growth, recovery is underway with EVs energising the market. But with a new Zero Emission Vehicle Mandate due to come into force in less than 120 days, manufacturers still await the details. Businesses cannot plan on the basis of consultations, they need certainty. And now, more than ever, government must match action to ambition, ensuring there are the incentives and infrastructure in place to convince drivers to make the switch.”