Car sales: Better deals and more availability have pushed numbers up with Vauxhall models most popular
The number of newly registered vehicles rolled out on the UK’s roads continued to soar with car sales rising for the seventh consecutive month.
According to figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders(SMMT) car registrations rose by 26.2 per cent in February as an easing of supply chain shortages steered the market closer to pre-pandemic levels.
February, typically a low volume month ahead of the March plate change, asw almost universal growth across the car sales market, with deliveries to private buyers up 5.8 per cent and those to large fleets up 46.2 per cent.
Consumers moved to more environmentally friendly car choices with hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) up 40 per cent, the highest growth of any fuel type.
This was followed by petrol, up 35.8 per cent with a 56.9 per cent market share, while diesel registrations fell by seven per cent.
Furthermore, battery electric deliveries rose 18.2 per cent, with all plug-in cars taking almost a quarter market share.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “After seven months of growth, it is no surprise that the UK automotive sector is facing the future with growing confidence. It is vital, however, that government takes every opportunity to back the market, which plays a significant role in Britain’s economy and net zero ambition,”
Vauxhall proved to be the most popular car of choice for buyers in February – selling 2,818 of its Corsa model and 1,805 of its Mokka model.
Mark Oakley, director of AA Cars, said new car dealers have entered March – traditionally one of the busiest months of the year – “with a spring in their step”.
He continued: “The big question is how the market will fare once the short-term boost offered by March’s new plates fades. Inflation is coming down, but only very slowly, and the rapidly rising cost of living is slicing into people’s disposable incomes – and thus their willingness to commit to big ticket purchases like a brand new car.”
Chris Knight, UK automotive partner, KPMG, added: “Car makers have enjoyed a period of higher profits due to the low availability of new cars, which has also increased used car values. “
“As supply issues gradually resolve, combined with a reduction in household spend for the majority of buyers, we’re seeing a more competitive landscape and a return to better deals and discounting in the new car market. This is also cooling used car values.
We expect to see a plethora of new auto brands launch in the UK in the coming months, further increasing consumer choice at all budget levels.”