As expected, the national lockdown in England and the additional restrictions across the UK, resulted in a decline in new car sales in November. However, it is encouraging that this was a “far stronger performance” than the spring lockdown as dealers were better prepared for ‘click and collect’ retail for their customers.

UK new passenger car registrations saw a decline of -27.4% in November, with 113,781 units, according to the latest SMMT’s new passenger car registration figures. Year to date, 1,498,382 new cars have been registered, a decline of -30.7% from last year. In November, private demand fell by -32.2% while registrations by fleets saw a decline of -22.1%

Registrations of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) continued to grow significantly, up 122.4% and 76.9% respectively in November. BEVs recorded their ‘third highest ever monthly share of registrations at 9.1%’. Petrol declined -41.9% and diesel -56.2%.

The significant, sustained growth in the electric vehicle sector is positive, especially given the challenging 2030 deadline to end the sale of internal combustion engine cars. Dealers continue to work hard to meet consumer demand, as the uptake of our Electric Vehicle Approved (EVA) accreditation scheme demonstrates, but it is important that businesses and customers continue to be supported during this transition.

Going forward, as the sector focuses on the transition to zero emission, it is vital that the Government reaches a trade deal with the EU that avoids tariffs on vehicles and vehicle parts to not undermine the stability of the automotive sector, which employs over 800,000 people in the UK.

The first few days of the month have been busy with pent-up demand driving sales and franchised dealers are looking forward to a buoyant December as the UK emerges from lockdown.