New car sales in May hold steady – but private sales DOWN by 13%
New car sales in May hold steady – but private sales DOWN by 13%
New car registrations in the UK in May 2024 showed a small increase of 1.7%, although sales to private buyers fell by 12.9%.

June 6, 2024 By Cars UK

New car sales in May 2024 Graphic

New car registrations in the UK in May 2024 showed a small increase of 1.7%, although sales to private buyers fell by 12.9%.

We’ve got used to new car sales in the UK increasing as the effects of Covid and war diminish, and May 2024 was no different, although with just 1.7% increase year-on-year numbers are still down by around a fifth on pre-Covid numbers.

As has become the norm, the increase in number is entirely driven by fleet and business sales, up by 14% and 9.5% respectively, as sales to private buyers fell by a whopping 12.9%.

Sales of diesel and petrol cars both fell in May, but sales of PHEVs rose by an impressive 31.5% and Hybrids by 9.6%.

On the face of it, sales of BEVs rose by 6.2%, but in a year the market share of electric cars has risen by just 0.7%, making a nonsense of the target of 22% EV sales for car makers this year or face punitive fines.

That increase in EV registrations comes entirely from Fkeet and Business sales, with sales of EVs to private buyers falling by 2.0%, meaning EV sales to Fleet and Business buyers accounted for more than 80% of EV sales.

That poor EV takeup by private buyers comes despite some big discounts on brand-new EVs; we found a Peugeot e-2008 reduced from £40k to £24k and a Jaguar i-Pace down from £80k to £50k among a huge selection of EV reductions on offer.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,

As Britain prepares for next month’s general election, the new car market continues to hold steady as large fleets sustain growth, offsetting weakened private retail demand. Consumers enjoy a plethora of new electric models and some very attractive offers, but manufacturers can’t sustain this scale of support on their own indefinitely. Their success so far should be a signpost for the next government that a faster and fairer transition requires carrots, not just sticks.

Hawes claim that incentives for private EV buyers will boost sales seems improbable as the big discounts currently on offer from car makers don’t seem to be doing much to boost private sales, never mind the huge depreciation on EVs.

Filed Under: Car News

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