24 Feb 2024

New car sales up 25.8% in June as EV registrations rise

As the year reached the halfway point new car sales were up 25.8% year-on-year in June, according to the latest figures from the SMMT. 177,266 new cars were registered during the month, which saw the 11th consecutive month of growth.

The easing of post-pandemic component supply issues played a part, as did the pent-up demand this caused. Sales were mainly to fleets, with registrations up 37.9% to 92,699 units, while sales to private buyers grew by 14.8% to 79,798. Looking at powertrain, petrol car sales were up 22.7%, with hybrids (HEVs) up by 40.1% and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) up 65.5%. Diesel sales were down 13.5%.2 Battery electric vehicle (BEV) registrations were up 39.4% and made up 17.9% of the whole market for the month In the first six months of the year, 949,720 new cars were sold with total registrations up 18.4%.

Commenting on the growing popularity of EVs among overall sales, SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes said: “The new car market is growing back and growing green, as the attractions of electric cars become apparent to more drivers. But meeting our climate goals means we have to move even faster. Most electric vehicle owners enjoy the convenience and cost saving of charging at home but those that do not have a driveway or designated parking space must pay four times as much in tax for the same amount of energy. This is unfair and risks delaying greater uptake, so cutting VAT on public EV charging will help make owning an EV fairer and attractive to even more people.”

As NFDA Chief Executive Sue Robinson observed however, it is still a mixed picture: “Ongoing economic turbulence, including rising interest rates and inflation is impacting consumer spending power. Price parity between EV and ICE is still far too wide which has the potential to become a problem on the road to 2030. It is imperative Government does not lose focus on its climate commitments and introduces more financial incentives for the general public to support affordability of EVs and enabling an efficient and fully functional charging infrastructure.”

She added: “ Supply side constraints are still prevalent for certain manufacturers, but on the whole, retailers are noticing consistent improvement for showroom stock and wait times are gradually reducing.”

Mark Oakley, Director of AA Cars, noted: “The surge in new car sales still has more miles left to run, having posted an 11th successive month of increasing year-on-year registrations. The easing of supply chain pressures, coupled with four straight months of increasing UK car production, is helping to get keys into drivers’ hands at a much quicker rate. That sales continue to increase on an annual basis despite stubbornly high inflation and rising interest rates points to the resilience of the UK car market. EV sales remain a big success story, with sales in June up by nearly 40% compared to last year, but there are signs that the rate of increase is slowing down.

He concluded: “At 16% of all new car sales, EVs have become a key part of the market but aren’t yet in the driving seat. They still have a way to go to become the dominant force they will need to be when sales of new petrol and diesel cars are banned in the UK in just over six years’ time. More still needs to be done to promote EVs, and improve the charging infrastructure around the UK in order to accelerate their take-up.”