Electric charge

continues in vehicle

market

Nissan Qashqai, 2023, top selling British car in 2022
Ford Transit Custom PHEV, 2022, front

THE best-selling new vehicle in the UK in 2022 was a van as the Ford Transit Custom topped the sales charts for a second consecutive year.

With 42,762 registrations the Transit Custom outsold the top selling car - the Nissan Qashqai - by 58 sales in a year which saw battery electric vehicles become the second most popular powertrain.

Overall, car sales fell by two per cent compared to 2021 to 1.61 million units while the van market was down 20.6 per cent at 282,139 sales.

The figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders reveal that plug-in electric vehicles accounted for 22.9 per cent of all new car sales while 5.9 per cent of van sales were electric.

Hybrid electric vehicles also enjoyed growth, rising to 11.6 per cent of the car market for 2022.

As a result of the shift towards electrification average newcar CO2fell 6.9 per cent to 111.4g/km - the lowest ever.

While the car market is showing a resurgence following months of disruption caused by semi-conductor shortages and soaring fuel costs as well as the after-effects of the pandemic, a surge in sales since the summer was not enough to see annual sales rise.

The latest figures show the UK market was some 700,000 units down in 2022 on pre-covid figures although the boom in the past few months was sufficient to see Britain reclaim its position as Europe's second largest new car market.

With the British-built Nissan Qashqai topping the sale list it was the first time in 24 years that a home-produced car was best seller.

It came ahead of the Vauxhall Corsa at 35,910 sales with the all-electric Tesla Model Y in third place with 35,551 sales just ahead of the Ford Puma at 35,088 and the MINI at 32.387.

The remainder of the top ten was made up of the Kia Sportage (29,655), the Hyundai Tucson (27,839), the VW Golf (26,558), the Ford Kuga (26,549) and the Ford Fiesta (25,070).

In the LCV market the Transit Custom was followed by the Transit itself at 33,203 sales followed by the Mercedes Sprinter (17,034), the Vauxhall Vivaro (16,830) and the Ford Ranger (16,827).

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive,said: "The automotive market remains adrift of its pre-pandemic performance but could well buck wider economic trends by delivering significant growth in 2023.

"To secure that growth-which is increasingly zero emission growth-government must help all drivers go electric and compel others to invest more rapidly in nationwide charging infrastructure. Manufacturers' innovation and commitment have helped EVs become the second most popular car type.

"However, for a nation aiming for electric mobility leadership, that must be matched with policies and investment that remove consumer uncertainty over switching, not least over where drivers can charge their vehicles."

Looking ahead, the SMMT said supply chains are beginning to stabilise and although the shortage of semiconductors is expected to ease, erratic supply will likely impact manufacturing throughout 2023.

The organisation's most recent market outlook, published in October 2022, anticipatesaround 1.8 million newcar registrations in 2023, worth around £8.4 billion in additional turnover to the UK economy.

Plug-in vehicles accounted for almost half of all new car sales last year with 368,617 registrations with petrol cars seeing registrations fall by more than 10 per cent to 682,474 units and diesels crumbling by almost 40 per cent to 82,981.

In December the surge towards electrification grew even more impetus with battery-powered cars notching up more than 50,000 sales - almost matching the number of petrol cars registered in the month.

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