“The 11.5% increase in new vehicle sales in March is a notable achievement for the industry and reflects the ability of franchised dealers to diversely engage with their customers. There is still significant pent-up demand and dealers are ready to deliver when lockdown eases on 12 April. Our members have ensured that their showrooms are Covid-secure by operating on an appointment basis, investment in PPE and instituting social distancing measures”, 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.
The UK new car market saw an 11.5% increase in March with 283,964 units registered. Compared to March last year, sales of new petrol and diesel cars declined by -10.0% and -31.4% respectively, with battery electric vehicles (BEVs) rising by 88.2% and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) grew by 152.2%.
Sue Robinson added: “Today’s figures show that demand for the new ‘21’ plates is high. This demand is expected to further increase as industry data* suggests that many car buyers are waiting for dealerships to fully reopen to complete their purchases. As dealers will be able to safely welcome customers back to the showrooms in less than a week, April is expected to be a bumper month.
“Positively, sales of electrified vehicles have continued to perform this year strongly. While the Government’s recent decision to reduce the plug-in grant has the potential to dampen growth, sales of EVs should continue to increase their market share.”
*A recent What Car? survey stated that 59% of car buyers are delaying their purchase until dealerships reopen. Additional data from What Car? suggested that 95% of potential car buyers would be comfortable entering a dealership when the lockdown restrictions are lifted.
NFDA Research Officer