Fleet new car sales soar as private demand plummets

By automotive-mag.com 3 Min Read

UK new car registrations grew for the 21st consecutive month in April, rising by 1% to reach 134,274 units.

Growth was driven by fleets, where registrations rose by 18.5% to reach 81,207 units – more than six in 10 of all new cars registered in April. Private buyer uptake fell by -17.7% to 50,458 units, while business registrations declined by -16.1%, to 2,609, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders.

Electrified vehicles continued to be the main drivers of market expansion. Plug-in Hybrids (PHEVs) recorded the strongest growth, up 22.1% to account for 7.8% of the market, followed by Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs), up 16.7% with a 13.1% share of demand.

April was a strong month for battery electric vehicle (BEV) registrations, due to incentives for businesses. Overall, BEV uptake rose 10.7%, pushing up market share to 16.9%, a significant uplift on last April’s 15.4%.

The SMMT called for urgent action by the government to encourage private buyers to switch to buying EVs, with one in six new BEVs bought in April went to consumers. It also called for action to increase the number of charge points in the UK.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “The new car market continues to grow even in the quieter months, driven primarily by fleet demand.

“This is particularly true of the electric vehicle sector, where the absence of government incentives for private buyers is having a marked effect.

“Although attractive deals on EVs are in place, manufacturers cannot fund the mass market transition single-handedly.

“Temporarily cutting VAT, treating EVs as fiscally mainstream not luxury vehicles, and taking steps to instil consumer confidence in the chargepoint network will drive the market growth on which Britain’s net zero ambition depends.”

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