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In The Run Up To Dealerships Opening, The Number Of New Car Registrations Increased

24 May 2021

In the build up to car dealerships opening their doors, the number of new cars registered in the UK rose by 11.5%.

In the build up to car dealerships opening their doors, the number of new cars registered in the UK rose by 11.5%.


For the first time since the start of the pandemic car registrations have grown, with a total of 283,964 new cars hitting roads in the UK in March, which is a total of 29,280 more that March of 2020.


This growth of 11.5% may be in comparison to the month that saw the first national lockdown that caused sales to drop by 44.4%, but this is still positive news for the industry as we move further along with the removal of restrictions.


Car dealerships were again forced to close their doors at the beginning of this year alongside all other non-essential retailers in line with the increased restrictions brought into force in an effort to combat the rising number of infections.


The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) did however say that this latest number does still represent a drop of 36.9% when compared to the 10-year March average. In addition to this there were 58,032 fewer new cars registered in the first quarter of 2021 in comparison to the first quarter of last year.


This has been estimated by the SMMT to have cost the industry approximately £1.8 billion. It was also said that they believe that 8,300 new cars will need to be registered on each business day for the entirety of the rest of the year in order for the market to achieve similar levels to before the pandemic.


It is interesting to note that out of all vehicles it was diesel vehicles that performed the worst of all in March, with a drop in the number of registrations of 31.4% in comparison to March of last year. Further to this diesels are down 46.9% down year on year to date and now only represent 11.4% of registrations in the UK.


Petrol vehicles have also seen a drop, with a total of 137,557 being registered in  March, which is 10% down on the 152,816 that were registered in March of 2020. Mild-hybrid vehicles on the other hand have continued to increase and are up by 134.9% on those registered last year, meaning they now account for 19.3% of the overall market.


That increase is then only slightly behind battery-electric, plug-in hybrid and hybrid vehicles, which combined shared 21.4% of the overall market in March. The total of fully electric cars has also increased by 88.2% with a total of 22,003. This is in spite of the recent reduction of the plug-in car grant offered by the government, which now only offers £2,500 for cars costing less than £35,000, instead of £3,000 for cars under £50,000.


As well as this the number of plug-in hybrids has increased dramatically by 152.2%, from 6,872 to 17,330.


“The past year has been the toughest in modern history and the automotive sector has, like many others, been hit hard,” said SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes. “However, with showrooms opening in less than a week, there is optimism that consumer confidence – and hence the market – will return.


“We know we will see record-breaking growth next month, given April 2020 was a washout, but a strong and sustainable market is possible if customers are attracted to the choice and competitive offer the industry is able to provide within the safest of showroom environments.”