New cars sales up in September as EV total hits one million

Published:  05 October, 2022

New car went up again in September, with registrations rising 4.6% to, 225,269 , according to the latest figures from the SMMT. While sales were 9,957 up on last year, the month saw sales still lagging 34.4% below pre-pandemic levels.

The month also saw the second highest ever monthly volume of battery electric vehicle (BEV) registrations in history, up 16.5% to 38,116 units, although plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) sales dropped 11.5% to 12,281, Despite this, overall plug-in vehicles made up around one in five new cars sold in September. In total, 249,575 have now been sold during 2022, a quarter of the one million plug-in EVs on the road in total across the UK.

Hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) sales went up 16.5% to 29,088, while petrol car sales were up 4.3% to 126,873. Meanwhile, diesels went down 14.5% to 18,911.Commenting on the figures, SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes said, “September has seen Britain’s millionth electric car reach the road – an important milestone in the shift to zero emission mobility. Battery electric vehicles make up but a small fraction of cars on the road, so we need to ensure every lever is pulled to encourage motorists to make the shift if our green goals are to be met.The overall market remains weak, however, as supply chain issues continue to constrain model availability. Whilst the industry is working hard to address these issues, the long-term recovery of the market also depends on robust consumer confidence and economic stability.”

NFDA Chief Executive Sue Robinson observed: "September, an important plate change month for the motor retail industry, has seen an increase in registrations compared to 2021. This increase is a positive for the industry, particularly given the closure of dealerships due to the Monarch’s funeral and consumer uncertainty before the UK government’s Energy Bill Relief Scheme.”
She added: “Flattening consumer demand, driven by rising inflation, combined with tight supply in both new and used vehicles, driven by macro-economic factors, will continue to create challenging trading conditions for all in the automotive sector.”

According to John Wilmot, CEO at car leasing comparison website LeaseLoco, the EV market will need long-term support: “One million electric vehicles registered makes great headlines, but without full government commitment to its Net Zero strategy, momentum will be lost. The next six months will be critical to maintain that momentum, as buyer demand comes under increased pressure with the higher costs of running an electric car under the spotlight as energy prices have spiralled. Looking at the wider picture, September saw a second consecutive month of positive new car registrations after five consecutive months of decline, but t's too early to talk about the green shoots of a recovery, particularly against a backdrop of continued production constraints, long delivery lead times and the cost of living crisis.”

James Fairclough, CEO of AA Cars, concluded: “Upgrading your car to a bigger or newer model is often a discretionary purchase, and so is prone to being deferred whenever people are anxious about their financial prospects.With the cost of living crisis and rising mortgage costs already reducing disposable incomes, many drivers are opting to buy their next car second-hand rather than new.”

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