UK new car market falls -1.3% in November

SMMT November 2019 registrations Electric vehicle sales have surged this year

The UK new car market fell -1.3% in November, with 156,621 models registered, according to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

In November, the decline was driven primarily by weak private demand, registrations down -6.1%, while the business market also fell, down -3.2%, but fleet registrations fared better, up 2.8%. For the second consecutive month, total alternatively fuelled vehicle (AFV) registrations reached a record market share, with more than one in 10 cars joining UK roads either hybrid, plug-in hybrid or pure electric – equivalent to 16,052 cars.

Electric vehicles surge

Demand for the latest battery electric cars surged by 228.8%, with 4,652 registered, while the markets for plug-in hybrids and hybrids also rose by 34.8% and 15.0% respectively. Elsewhere, petrol grew 2.0%, taking the lion’s share of all registrations (62.2%), as diesel fell -27.2%. Year-to-date, the overall UK new car market is down -2.7%, with 2.2 million cars registered, in line with current industry forecasts.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “These are challenging times for the UK new car market, with another fall in November reflecting the current climate of uncertainty. It’s good news, however, to see registrations of electrified cars surging again, and 2020 will see manufacturers introduce plenty of new, exciting models to give buyers even more choice. Nevertheless, there is still a long way to go for these vehicles to become mainstream and, to grow uptake further, we need fiscal incentives, investment in charging infrastructure and a more confident consumer.”

Commenting on the latest figures, GlobalData motor finance editor Chris Lemmon said: “The electric vehicle space continues to be the silver lining in a market bogged down by economic and political uncertainty.

“In the last 12 months, alternatively-fuelled vehicles have seen their market share grow from 6.8% to 10.2% – with sales set to accelerate in the New Year. Manufacturers are now investing significant sums in their electric ventures, while the UK government also continues to provide subsidies for owners and investment in the charging infrastructure network.

“Moving into 2020, we should see the price of electric vehicles continue to fall, while advancements in technology should help alleviate ‘range anxiety’ for consumers umming and ahhing over an electric vehicle purchase. The market as a whole will be hoping to see some clarity on the Brexit situation as we move into the New Year, giving manufacturers, dealers and consumers more confidence to buy and sell cars.”

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