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New car registrations rise again in November with growth fuelled by increased fleet demand

Some 156,525 units were delivered during November.

New car market

New car registrations grew by 9.5 per cent in November as figures closed in on reaching pre-pandemic levels.

Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that 156,525 vehicles were registered during the month, down by just 96 units on pre-pandemic 2019’s sales.

Growth was largely pushed through by fleets ‘investing in the latest vehicles’ according to the SMMT, with registrations in this area growing by 25.4 per cent to account for 94,049 vehicles and a 59.4 per cent share of the market as a whole.

In the market’s best November for four years, registrations almost returned to pre-pandemic levels, down just 96 units (-0.1%) on 2019

Here are the top ten models for the month

— SMMT (@SMMT) December 5, 2023

Private demand, meanwhile, fell by 5.9 per cent to 60,506 registrations, while business uptake dropped by 32.7 per cent to 2,970 units.

The picture for the market overall looks good, however, with year-to-date figures up 18.76 at 1.762 million units as the segment continues recovering steadily over a period of 16 months.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “Britain’s new car market continues to recover, fuelled by fleets investing in the latest and greenest new vehicles. With car makers gearing up to meet their responsibilities under new market legislation, and COP28 currently underway, now is the time to take sensible steps that will multiply that economic growth and minimise carbon emissions.”

— SMMT (@SMMT) December 5, 2023

The SMMT’s figures show that November proved fruitful for both hybrid electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles which saw rises of 27.8 and 55.8 to 20,525 and 15,871 units respectively.

Demand for electric vehicles continues to remain largely within the fleet segment, as of the 24,359 new electric vehicles delivered during November 77.4 per cent were taken on by fleets or businesses. Overall battery-electric vehicle sales fell by 17.1 per cent in the month, though the SMMT says that this was ‘atypical’ and put it down to a surge in electric registrations in November 2022 following supply-chain disruption.

Year-to-date figures show that electric vehicle registrations are up 27.5 per cent with a 16.3 per cent market share and the SMMT expects this to rise to 22.3 per cent next year.

Hawes added: “Private EV buyers need incentives in line with those that have so successfully driven business uptake – and workable trade rules that promote rather than penalise the transition.”

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