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Car sales up 16.7pc last month

The new car market has recorded its longest period of year-on-year growth since 2015.

Ford Puma
Ford Puma

Some 145,204 new cars were registered in May, up 16.7 per cent from the same month last year, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said.

May was the 10th consecutive monthly rise, but registrations remain 21 per cent down on the pre-coronavirus levels of 2019.

JLR had a mixed month. The luxury car maker, which has its engine manufacturing centre at Wolverhampton, saw a rise of 21.6 per cent in Jaguar sales to 1,341.

Land Rover sales were down 6.7 per cent to 3,391.

MG, which has its head office at Longbridge but has its cars made abroad, enjoyed a 100.5 per cent jump to 6,304.

Pure electric new cars consolidated their position as the UK's second most popular powertrain behind petrol.

A further 24,513 went on the road last month, up 58.7 per cent on May 2022 to secure a 16.9 per cent market share.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: "After the difficult, Covid-constrained supply issues of the last few years, it's good to see the new car market maintain its upward trend and the fact that growth is increasingly green growth is hugely encouraging.

"Transforming the market nationwide, however, and at an even greater pace means we must increase demand and help any reticent driver overcome any concerns about electric vehicles.

"This will require every stakeholder - industry, government, chargepoint operators and energy companies – to play their part, accelerating investment to drive decarbonisation."

Ian Plummer, commercial director at online vehicle marketplace Auto Trader, said: "It's great to see another month of solid sales but the continued strength of the new car market will soon depend on substantial order growth in the electric segment.

"Sales of electric vehicles (EVs) are moving in the right direction but we need to see sustained momentum. Less than 10 per cent of new car inquiries are for EVs on Auto Trader currently.

"To unlock mass adoption of EVs, we need to focus on the segments of society being left behind in the electric transition.

"Our research shows that just one fifth of women are considering an EV, opposed to a third of men.

"Women are seeing less information about EVs and not engaging with current selling points.

"In order to reach the Government's 2030 goal, the focus needs to be on converting the masses and making EVs more accessible across different demographics."

Sales of new petrol and diesel cars will be banned in the UK from 2030.

Mark Oakley, director of AA Cars, commented: “The new car market is the gift that keeps on giving, having now recorded a run of increasing year-on-year registrations for 10 straight months.

“Supply is holding up well, with a 10 per cent increase in UK car production in April and robust demand helping this additional output translate into higher sales.

“June will see the end of an era as Ford ceases production of the Fiesta, one of the UK’s most popular vehicles and consistently one of the searched-for models on the AA Cars website. No doubt there will be some Ford fans desperate to get their hands on one of the last examples to roll off the production line.

“The curtain coming down on Fiesta production is a watershed moment and a sign of the steady transition to electric vehicles.

“With battery EV sales rocketing by 58.7 per cent year on year, we could soon see other popular cars cease production well before the 2030 cut-off for sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles.

“Thankfully for Fiesta devotees, the car will have a strong presence on the second-hand market for many years to come.”

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