New car sales in the UK rose for the fifteenth month in a row in October and returned to pre-pandemic levels, data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders, or SMMT, showed Monday.
In October, new car registrations grew by 14.3 percent to reach 153,529. This was 7.2 percent higher than the pre-pandemic levels and marked the best performance for the month since 2018, the SMMT said. The latest growth was mainly due to large fleet registrations that surged 28.8% to 87,479 units.
Overall vehicle uptake grew 19.6 percent in the first 10 months and the market currently enjoying its best year since 2019, the auto industry body said. Electrified vehicle uptake continued to grow, claiming 37.6% of all new car registrations in October.
Battery electric vehicle sales rose for the 42nd month in a row, up 20.1 percent to 23,943 units.
However, BEV market share grew only modestly to 15.6 percent from 14.8 percent last year, SMMT said. “With demand for new cars surpassing pre-pandemic levels in the month, the market is defying expectations and driving growth,” SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes said.
“As fleet uptake flourishes, particularly for EVs, sustained success depends on encouraging all consumers to invest in the latest zero emission vehicles.”
The SMMT revised up its overall new car registrations outlook for the year. New car sales are forecast to reach 1.886 million by the end of the year, a rise of 2.1 percent on July’s expectations. Expectations for BEV uptake were scaled down, by -1.7 percent to 324,000 units resulting in an expected market share at year end of 17.2 percent, the SMMT said.