A GLIMMER of hope for new car sales came in November with the number of registrations growing for the fourth month running - up to 142,889 units.
That was the best total for November since 2019,with auto manufacturers continuing efforts to fulfil orders amid erratic global components supply.
However, registrations in the month were still 8.8 per cent below 2019 levels and, while further recovery is anticipated in 2023, global and domestic economic challenges mean that the market will remain below pre-pandemic levels.
According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, registrations by large fleets energised the market, up 45.4 per cent compared with November last year.
Demand from private buyers also grew, albeit by a more modest 2.7 per cent. Business registrations more than doubled, meanwhile, up 112.2 per cent, but remain a small fraction of the overall market.
Zero emission vehicle uptake continued to grow, with newly registered battery electric vehicles (BEVs) up 35.2 per cent to represent more than one in five new cars - the largest monthly share of BEVs this year.
Conversely, plug-in hybrid registrations fell by 5.7 per cent, making up 7.1 cent of the market.As a result, some 39,558 new plug-ins were registered,representing more than one in four new cars joining UK roads in November.
Hybrid electric vehicles, meanwhile, rose by 66.9 per cent to 11.2 per cent of the market, driven particularly by fleet operators looking for flexibility and emissions reductions.
As growth returns to the new car market, the car sector is poised to deliver an additional £8 billion for the UK economy in 2023, with an anticipated 15.4 per cent market growth.
The UK automotive industry is making rapid strides to deliver on its net zero targets, and further acceleration requires forward-thinking planning and collaboration from all stakeholders, said the SMMT.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: "Recovery for Britain's new car market is back within our grasp, energised by electrified vehicles and the sector's resilience in the face of supply and economic challenges.
"As the sector looks to ensure that growth is sustainable for the long term, urgent measures are required - not least a fair approach to driving EV adoption that recognises these vehicles remain more expensive, and measures to compel investment in a charging network that is built ahead of need. By doing so we can encourage consumer appetite across the country and accelerate the UK's journey to net zero."
The best selling car in November was the Nissan Qashqai with 5,636 sold followed by the Tesla Model Y at 4,229 and the MINI at 3,312.