“January’s figures have built on the momentum of the previous year and mark an eighteenth month of consecutive growth for the UK automotive sector” said Sue Robinson, Chief Executive of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle retailers in the UK commenting on the latest SMMT’s new passenger car registration figures.

In January, a total of 142,876 new cars were registered, an increase of 8.2% from the same period last year. Sales to private buyers decreased by -15.8%; fleet registrations were up by 29.9%.

Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) experienced a significant increase, up 21.0% to 20,935 units. Plug-in hybrid (PHEVs) registrations increased by 31.1% to 11,944 units, and hybrids (HEVs) experienced a decrease of -1.2% to 18,744 units.

With sales of electric growing, diesel fell for January from 10,399 units to 9,348 (-10.1%) and petrol has risen from 76,213 units to 81,905 units (7.5%).

Sue Robinson added “It is promising to see the year start off strongly with an increase in new car registrations in January, up by 8.2%. It is also encouraging to see that sales of electric vehicles have bounced back after experiencing a decrease in November and December. These give us an insight into how electric sales have fared since the implementation of the ZEV mandate at the start of the year.

“Despite the positive start to the year, it is important that the Government continues to support the automotive industry during the transition to zero emissions by investing in charging infrastructure and provide for financial incentives for EV buyers. These issues have been highlighted to the Government in NFDA’s 2024 Spring Budget submission.

“In NFDA’s 2024 outlook survey the top three most prevalent reasons given by dealerships as to why customers are not considering purchasing an EV include range (82%), anxiety around lack of chargers (82%) and cost (80%).

“2024 looks set to be an important year for the automotive industry, and we are confident that automotive retailers will continue to show their robustness through these challenging times.”