The first quarter of 2023 has been positive for UK new vehicle sales, said Sue Robinson, Chief Executive of the National Franchised Dealers Association.
“It is extremely encouraging to see sales figures starting to emulate pre-pandemic trends, particularly for the plate change month of march and consecutive months of optimism and growth,” she said, commenting on the latest SMMT’s new passenger car registration figures.
In March, a total of 287,825 new cars were registered, an increase of 18.2% from the same period last year. Sales to private buyers grew by 1.4%; fleet registrations were up by 40.9%.
Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) reached a record high, up 18.6% to 46,626 units, led by the Tesla Model Y (pictured above). Plug-in hybrid (PHEVs) registrations increased by 11.8% to 17,933 units, whilst hybrids (HEVs) experienced impressive growth of 34.3% to 37,252 units.
There are now 76,233 registered BEVs on the road in 2023 compared to the 64,165 at the same point last year, a 18.8% increase.
With sales of electric growing, diesel fell from 13,756 units to 11,024 (-19.9%), but petrol has risen from 102,349 units to 119,278 units (16.5%).
Sue Robinson added, “As supply constraints start to ease and waiting times for products begin to fall, dealers are finding it easier to sell their stock to customers.
“Whilst there are a prominent range of pressures facing the sector, including unprecedented levels of inflation, cost of living crisis and the fall out of the Russia-Ukraine crisis still affecting global supply chains, cars are still regarded as a necessity to many, whether it be for commuting or day-to-day life, and this will always be the strongest asset for franchised dealers.
“NFDA expects current trends to continue into Q2, with electric vehicles maintaining popularity among consumers with growing market share.
“Ten years to date, alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFV) held a minute 1.3% of the market share, selling 5318 units in March 2013. In March 2018, five years ago, AFV market share had grown to 5.1% with 24,126 units sold.
“Today, it is extremely positive to see electric vehicles now a dominant driving force within the UK market, recording a market share of (35.4%), with 101,811 units sold and franchised dealers are undoubtedly a pivotal factor in driving this trend.”
In Wales last month, registrations rose 5.17% to 10,015 and year to date they’re up 11.32% at 17,275 new cars. The Puma was top car for Welsh buyers and Ford had three models in the top ten.