New car sales fell in March according to the latest SMMT figures. Demand for electrified vehicles, however, remains strong.

In March, a total of 243,479 new cars were registered, a decrease of -14.3% from the same period last year, the latest SMMT figures show. As a result, overall registrations for Q1 2022 are down -1.9%.

Sales to private buyers grew by 8.2%, although showrooms were closed in March last year; fleet registrations were down by -34.4%.

Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) saw significant growth, up 78.7% to 39,315 units. Plug-in hybrid (PHEVs) registrations declined by -7.5% to 16,037 units, whilst hybrids (HEVs) grew 28.4% to 27,737 units. More than a third (34.1%) of all new car registrations were electrified vehicles in March. With sales of electric growing, diesel fell -55.2% and petrol -25.6%.

New car sales fell in March as supply constraints continue to impact the market. However, dealers report underlying demand for new and used vehicles remains stable despite industry headwinds and external factors affecting confidence.

Cost of living increases are impacting customer decision making and it is vital that the Government supports UK households as inflation rises. Despite this, there are offers that motorists can benefit from.

According to our members, vehicle servicing departments continue to be busy and franchised dealers are working hard to ensure quality of service, customer value and support in the aftersales market.

On a positive note, sales of electrified vehicles performed very well in March accounting for more than one in three new cars registered.

NFDA expects this trend to continue as brands introduce new models and retailers help customers choose their next EV.