“February’s figures reinforce the robust performance of the UK automotive sector, maintaining a strong start to 2024 and signalling a nineteenth month of consecutive growth,” 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 new passenger car registration figures.

In February, a total of 84,886 new cars were registered, an increase of 14.0% from the same period last year. Sales to private buyers decreased by -2.6%; fleet registrations were up by 25.2%.

Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) experienced an increase, up 21.8% to 14,991 units. Plug-in hybrid (PHEVs) registrations increased by 29.1% to 6,098 units, and hybrids (HEVs) followed with growth of 12.1% to 10,801 units. There are 35,926 registered BEVs on the road in 2024 compared to the 29,607 units at the same point last year, a 21.3% increase.

With sales of electric growing, diesel fell from 5,397 units to 4,995 units (-7.4%), but petrol has risen from 42,378 units to 48,001 units (13.3%).

Sue Robinson added: “It is promising to see that electric sales continue to grow after a bounce back last month, particularly as OEMs seek to meet the targets set by the ZEV mandate for this year. In recent months, this has primarily been driven by fleet rather than private demand.

“In spite of encouraging progress, it is crucial that the Government continues to work with dealers to attain the best outcomes for consumers.

“The Spring Budget provides a prime opportunity for the Government to keep this momentum going. NFDA urged the Government, in its Spring Budget submission, to increase consumer confidence in EVs through price incentives and improving electric charging infrastructure. NFDA also stressed to the Government to prioritise investment and growth in the UK automotive sector.”