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New car registrations remain ‘steady’ in May

A 1.7 per cent increase in registrations represented the 22nd consecutive month of growth.

Used car sales

New car registrations in the UK grew by 1.7 per cent in May, representing the 22nd consecutive month of growth for the sector.

In total, 147,678 vehicles arrived on the road – according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders – making it the best May since 2021, though down by close to 20 per cent on the same month in 2019.

As in April, fleets and business continued to drive growth – rising 14 and 9.5 per cent respectively – while private sales dropped by 12.9 per cent in contrast. Demand for both diesel and petrol-powered cars declined, too, though sales of electrified vehicles continued to rise with plug-in hybrids coming out on top as the most sought-after powertrain amid a rise of 31.5 per cent to take a market share of eight per cent.

Electric vehicles also ‘outperformed the market’, according to the SMMT, with demand rising by 6.2 per cent to 17.6 per cent market share – an increase from 16.9 per cent the month prior. However, much of this growth can be attributed to the fleet market where demand rose by 10.7 per cent, contrasting the two per cent fall in the private sector.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “As Britain prepares for next month’s general election, the new car market continues to hold steady as large fleets sustain growth, offsetting weakened private retail demand.

“Consumers enjoy a plethora of new electric models and some very attractive offers, but manufacturers can’t sustain this scale of support on their own indefinitely. Their success so far should be a signpost for the next government that a faster and fairer transition requires carrots, not just sticks.”

Kia’s Sportage came out as the best-selling car for the month, followed by the Ford Puma and Audi’s A3 in second and third places respectively.

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