The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Limited (SMMT) said UK new car sales rose by 11.6% per annum, to 132,990 units in April, recording the ninth consecutive monthly increase. The performance marks the best April since 2021’s, but remains -17.4% down on 2019 volumes. In March, UK new car sales rose by 18.2% per annum.
The data showed that in April, car deliveries to private buyers fell by 5.5%, and to enterprises with a fleet of less than 25 cars increased by 13.3%. Meanwhile, the number of car registrations among large fleets increased by 33.1%.
Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) remained the second most popular fuel type, with deliveries up by more than 50% and 15.4% of the market. Plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) also posted strong growth (+33.3%), while hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) recorded a 7.7% increase. As a result, electrified vehicles accounted for more than one in three registrations in April. Petrol-powered cars retained their best-selling status, comprising 58.1% of all registrations.
The SMMT also stated that from the beginning of 2023 (to April) UK new car sales increased by 16.9% - the best start to a year since the pandemic. Against the backdrop of such a significant increase, SMMT has improved its quarterly forecast (for the first time since 2021): 1.83 million new car registrations are expected in 2023, compared with 1.79 million expected in January. That puts expected market growth this year at 13.5%, which would be the best percentage gain since 1983.