The increase in new car sales in May reflects continued consumer demand in the UK.

New car sales rose by 674.1% in May according the latest SMMT’s new passenger car registration figures compared to the same month last year when showrooms were closed due to the lockdown. In the first five months of the year, a total of 723,845 new cars have been registered. Registrations of petrol and diesel vehicles rose by 579.7% and 348.8% respectively in May. Battery electric vehicles rose 441.3% and plug-in hybrids grew by 1,091.7% with 13,120 and 9,855 units registered respectively. Overall new car sales remain down by -14.7% from May 2019’s, pre-pandemic levels.

In May, vehicle sales continued to benefit from the pent-up demand accumulated when showrooms were closed; footfall levels and volumes of enquiries alike are now beginning to increase following the reopening of dealerships.

Sales of new electric vehicles performed well and it is encouraging to see that plug-in vehicles now account for 13.8% of all new car sales; demand for used and nearly new cars remains buoyant too.

The outlook for the industry remains positive, consumer confidence is rising and with the economy performing better than expected, dealers are optimistic about the months ahead although tightness in supply may affect registrations of new cars over the summer.