The motor trade has seen little improvement in business since Covid restrictions and components shortages ended almost exactly 12 months ago, they have told their trade body.
“New car sales have now seen 12 consecutive months of recovery since the pandemic related supply chain shortages. NFDA conducted a flash poll of its members and found that retailers have seen little change in the business environment, with a slight decrease in customer footfall in July,” said Sue Robinson, Chief Executive of the National Franchised Dealers Association after the latest SMMT’s new passenger car registration figures.
“This is likely driven by the unseasonal weather, but continued engagement online demonstrates the importance of omni-channel retailing and a functional digital service to start the customer journey,”
In July, a total of 143,921 new cars were registered, an increase of 28.3% from the same period last year. Sales to private buyers increased by 0.3%; fleet registrations were up by 61.9%.
Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) experienced significant growth, up 87.9% to 23,010 units. Plug-in hybrid (PHEVs) registrations increased by 79.1% to 11,702 units, and hybrids (HEVs) followed with growth of 18.9% to 16,321 units. There are now 175,978 registered BEVs on the road in 2023 compared to the 127,492 at the same point last year, a 38% increase.
With sales of electric growing, diesel fell from 6,210 units to 5,687 (-8.4%), but petrol has risen from 51,294 units to 58,150 units (13.4%).
Sue Robinson added, “ULEZ has been dominating the headlines in the past month and NFDA’s flash poll revealed its members have seen increasing customer engagement and enquiries switching to electric.
“This is reinforced in this months’ figures with extremely positive uptake in electric, year to date market share for all electric categories is now at 35.3%, in comparison to last year’s 31.7% at this stage. NFDA and EVA dealers will continue to engage with its members on ULEZ, as franchised dealers look to find the right vehicle for their customers.”
Looking ahead, the outlook remains hard to predict as a result of inflationary pressures and higher interest rates in the UK, she concluded.