New car sales hit 20-year high

New car registrations rose 14% last month to make it the best February performance for 20 years, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

It reported sales of 84,886 units to complete 19 months of consecutive growth.

The uptick was driven by fleets and businesses, which were up 25.2% and 15.5% respectively, while private uptake fell by 2.6% decline to account for just 33.7% of the market.

Meanwhile, hybrid electric vehicles rose 12.1%, plug-in hybrids were up 29.1%, and battery electric vehicle increased by 21.8%. However, private buyers account for fewer than one in five (18.2%) new BEVs registered in 2024 so far.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “The new car market’s ability to deliver growth continues with its best February for 20 years and this week’s Budget is an opportunity to ensure that growth is greener. Tackling the triple tax barrier as the market embarks on its busiest month of the year would boost EV demand, cutting carbon emissions and energising the economy. It will deliver a faster and fairer zero emission transition, putting Britain’s EV ambition back in the fast lane.”