New car market finishes 2023 strongly

The UK new car market grew for the 17th month in a row in December to make 2023 the best year since the pandemic.

Sales were up 9.8% in December and 17.9% for the year to 1.903 million units, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Meanwhile, battery electric vehicle (BEV) uptake reached a record annual volume – up by almost 50,000 units with 314,687 new registrations. In fact, more BEVs joined UK roads in 2023 than 2021 and 2022 combined. This was despite a fall of 34.2% in December.

Overall, BEVs accounted for one in six new cars registered in 2023.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “With vehicle supply challenges fading, the new car market is building back with the best year since the pandemic. Energised by fleet investment, particularly in the latest EVs, the challenge for 2024 is to deliver a green recovery. Government has challenged the UK automotive sector with the world’s boldest transition timeline and is investing to ensure we are a major maker of electric vehicles. It must now help all drivers buy into this future, with consumer incentives that will make the UK the leading European market for ZEVs.”