UK car sales grow for third month in a row

The UK's new car market has recorded a third successive month of growth – and West Midlands-based MG is one of the star performers.

The Ford Fiesta, which is being discontinued next year, was top sell for the month in the UK
The Ford Fiesta, which is being discontinued next year, was top sell for the month in the UK

Some 134,344 new cars were registered in October, up 26.4 per cent compared with the same month last year, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

Ford was the top selling brand with 13,295 sales – up 94.6 per cent – with the Fiesta the individual top seller in the UK at 4,230. Production of the Fiesta is ceasing next year.

MG, which is based at Longbridge, saw a 103 per cent rise to 4,749. Its range of electric cars have proved popular, with a waiting list for deliveries to customers.

Jaguar Land Rover had mixed fortunes. Jaguar sales were down 38 per cent at 375, but Land Rover was up substantially, by 103.4 per cent at 3,275.

The SMMT attributed the national increase to "strong order books" being partly fulfilled. But it noted that October 2021 was "particularly disappointing".

The total number of new cars registered so far this year is a third below pre-coronavirus levels.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: "A strong October is hugely welcome, albeit in comparison with a weak 2021, but it is still not enough to offset the damage done by the pandemic and subsequent supply shortages.

"Next year's outlook shows recovery is possible and electric vehicle growth looks set to continue, but to achieve our shared net-zero goals, that growth must accelerate and consumers given every reason to invest.

"This means giving them the economic stability and confidence to make the switch, safe in the knowledge they will be able to charge – and charge affordably – when needed.

"The models are there, with more still to come; so must the public chargepoints."

Registrations of pure battery electric new cars grew by less than the overall market for the first time since the pandemic, up 23.4 per cent.

The year-on-year market share of the cars fell for the first time sine May last year, from 15.2 per cent to 14.8 per cent.

The SMMT said this was "primarily attributable to supply challenges".

Alex Buttle, co-founder of used car marketplace Motorway.co.uk, said: New car sales usually fall as we head into the winter months, with people prioritising Christmas over car purchases . Therefore, it is a welcome ray of winter sunshine to see such an uplift in new car sales versus last year. Even more encouraging is that EV sales are a significant factor as more drivers turn electric ahead of the 2030 fossil fuel ban on new car sales."

James Fairclough, chief executive of AA Cars, said: “The surging popularity of electric vehicles has electrified the new car market as a whole. This latest jump in new vehicle registrations marks the third month in a row of upward progress.

“The September registration plate change injected renewed dynamism into the market, and the momentum continued into October.

“But while the return to growth is very welcome, total sales so far this year are still 5.6% down on the Covid-affected figures achieved at this point in 2021. And new registrations are still falling far short of the levels typically seen before the pandemic struck.

“The increase in new vehicle sales in October demonstrates the resilience of franchised dealers and their ability to find the right deal for their customers and the importance of supply finally reaching forecourts”, said Sue Robinson, chief executive of the National Franchised Dealers Association.

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