Boost for UK car

sales

MINI dealership, 2024

THE UK new car market recorded its best February performance for two decades as registrations rose 14.0 per cent to 84,886 units, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

It was the 19thmonth of consecutive growth, which has primarily been driven by fleets investing in the latest vehicles.

Indeed, fleets and businesses were responsible for the entirety of February's increase, with registrations up 25.2 per cent and 15.5 per cent respectively.

Private uptake continued to struggle, with a 2.6 per cent decline to record a 33.7 per cent market share.

February is traditionally volatile as the lowest volume month of the year, with buyers often electing to wait until March and the new number plate.

Electrified vehicles recorded robust growth, with hybrid electric vehicles rising 12.1 per cent, but taking a marginally smaller year-on-year market share of 12.7 per cent.

Plug-in hybrids recorded the largest proportional growth for the month, rising 29.1 per cent to reach 7.2 per cent of the market.

Battery electric vehicle uptake similarly outpaced the rest of the market, rising 21.8 per cent to account for 17.7 per cent of registrations, an improvement on last year's 16.5 per cent.

While February's growth is positive and demonstrative of continuing demand for the latest vehicles, the long-term picture will become clearer in March, the busiest market month.

While BEV market share and volumes continue to grow during the first year of mandated targets for manufacturers, the increase in uptake is entirely sustained by fleets, thanks to compelling fiscal incentives. Private buyers account for fewer than one in five new BEVs registered in 2024 so far.

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