New car market up in plate change September and EV milestone – Red Marlin’s analysis

September marked the second consecutive month for growth in the new vehicle market, coinciding with the one millionth electric vehicle being registered – ready to hit the road. 

As with March, September is one of the most important months for dealerships as it is fantastic opportunity to get new customers into a shiny new vehicle with some new numbers on their registration plate, and many more savvy motorists will be on the lookout for a used car bargain. Plate change month also provides an indication of how the automotive industry, and wider economy, is performing. 

New car market records second successive month of growth 

As August signalled an end to the five months of decline in the new car market, September continued that trend with an overall growth of 4.6 per cent compared to 2021. There was a significant increase in the number of new vehicles registered with a total of 225,269, up 9,957 units vs 2021. 

Electric continues to increase registrations and market share. 

There are now over one million electric vehicles on Britain’s roads, but once again, there has been a continuation in trends seen over the past few years, with another significant rise in battery electric vehicles (BEVs) with 38,116 units registered, up 16.5 per cent vs 2021. This also equates to a total market share of 16.9 per cent. 

Motorists are turning away from pure piston power 

Petrol vehicles have seen a slight decline in registrations, down -2.8 per cent at 91,679 units registered. Diesel vehicles continue their decline, down -3.1 per cent vs 2021 with 10,330 units as both fleets and individual sales move away from pure piston power. 

Indeed, while petrol and diesel vehicles are declining in registrations, sales and their overall market share, they are simply not being replaced by BEVs – some motorists are taking smaller steps on their way to electric, opting to purchase petrol hybrids and petrol MHEVs (mild hybrid electric vehicles). MHEVs have seen the largest per centage change compared to 2021 with a 28.8 per cent increase with 35,194 vehicles registered – the second highest number of vehicles registered through the month of September (with only petrol registrations ahead). This also equates to 15.6 per cent market share, the highest increase in sector market share vs 2021, up 2.9 per cent. 

New car market is struggling for traction 

Supply chain issues, the cost of living crisis and high fuel prices are significantly squeezing the new car market – this will have knock-on effects which will spill over into the aftermarket and parts sector. While growth is welcome and there has been a slight improvement compared to August, the overall market is struggling to regain traction, down -8.2 per cent on a weak 2021 performance and -35.1 per cent below the first three quarters of pre-pandemic 2019 – equivalent to 653,903 fewer units. 

It is fantastic to see the millionth electric vehicle reach the road, but supply chain issues and the overall increase in the cost of living has constrained availability. As the industry is working hard to alleviate supply chain and stock issues, the key to long-term recovery lies within industry, economic and consumer confidence and stability.  

(Source: SMMT)

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