21 Jun 2024
The voice of the independent garage sector

Feb new car sales best for 20 years

New car sales went up 14% last month making it the best February for 20 years, according to the latest sales figures from the SMMT.

Fleet sales were up 25.2%, while business sales increased by 15.5%. However, private sales were down 2.6%, making up 33.7% of market share.
Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) went up 12.1%, while plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) went up 29.1%, hitting 7.2% of the market. Battery electric vehicle (BEV) sales were up 21.8%, which represented 17.7% of the total. Up on 2023’s 16.5%.

Looking to towards the Budget, SMMT Chief Executive encouraged the Chancellor of the Exchequer to incentivise buyers to go towards EVs: “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.”

NFDA Chief Executive Sue Robinson observed: “It is promising to see that electric sales continue to grow after a bounce back last month, particularly as OEMs seek to meet the targets set by the ZEV mandate for this year. In recent months, this has primarily been driven by fleet rather than private demand. “

James Hosking, Managing Director at AA Cars commented: “The momentum gained in the new car market last year has rolled into the first part of 2024, and dealers have plenty of reasons to be optimistic after the best February for 20 years. EV sales continue to increase to the detriment of diesel vehicles, and the expected launch of more affordable models this spring will provide even greater choice to drivers. The commitment from manufacturers to continue to deliver a wide variety of EVs in different classes and affordability levels will be crucial in helping this portion of the market further increase its share of sales over the coming years.”

John Wilmot, CEO at LeaseLoco, added: “The positive momentum witnessed in the new car market last year has seamlessly transitioned into the first part of 2024, with the strongest February in two decades setting an optimistic tone for the rest of the year. Consumer confidence is steadily rising, buoyed by anticipated declines in inflation. If coupled with a reduction in interest rates, this trend promises continued growth and stability for the automotive industry. Electric vehicle sales remain on an upward trajectory, driven by fleet registrations. The imminent release of more budget-friendly EV models this spring will expand driver options and ensure momentum isn’t lost.

“Governmental support is equally crucial, especially with growing evidence of private drivers hesitating towards the EV transition. Urgent action is imperative to address barriers such as high purchase costs and inadequate charging infrastructure. Decisive measures are essential to drive Britain’s electric transition forward.”