New car sales up in October, but 2022 market expectations reduced

Published:  04 November, 2022

New car sales were up 26.4% in October, hitting 134,344 units, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), making it the third month in a row with growth.

Despite the positive overall figures for October, continuing supply chain issues, rocketing inflation and the cost of living crisis mean the SMMT;s market outlook for the year has been dropped by 2.2%, with 1.566 million new car sales now expected for 2022. This would make 2022 the toughest year since 1982.

Most of October’s increase came from fleet buying, which saw 47.4% growth, with 67,911 sold, while private buyers purchased 62,714 cars, up 7.4% to 62,714. While battery electric vehicle (BEV) registrations were up 23.4% to 19,933, October is the first month to see their market share fall year-on-year since May 2021. Meanwhile, plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) sales went up by 6.2%, reaching 8,899 sales. Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), shot up 81.7%. Overall, electrified vehicles represented one in three registrations, with 21.5% having a plug.Looking at conventional drivetrains, diesel sales dropped 9.7% to 6,347, while petrol sales went up17.8%, hitting 56,994.

Commenting on the figures, SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes said, “A strong October is hugely welcome, albeit in comparison with a weak 2021, but it is still not enough to offset the damage done by the pandemic and subsequent supply shortages.”
Investment in charging infrastructure is vital according to Mike: “Next year’s outlook shows recovery is possible and EV growth looks set to continue but, to achieve our shared net zero goals, that growth must accelerate and consumers given every reason to invest. This means giving them the economic stability and confidence to make the switch, safe in the knowledge they will be able to charge – and charge affordably – when needed. The models are there, with more still to come; so must the public chargepoints.”

NFDA Chief Executive Sue Robinson added: “The transition to electric vehicles, as evidenced by the continued increase in EV sales, will create opportunities for the motor retail sector. The UK government must continue to act to support this transition and the wider UK automotive sector, one of the UK’s largest and most important industries.”

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