UK cars sales down, but EV’s performing well

Friday, January 08, 2021

Latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show the UK market for new cars was down 29.4% in 2020 compared to 2019. Annual registrations dropped to 1,631,064 due to the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic.

In December demand was at its lowest level since 1992 with the overall the industry facing a loss of some £20.4 billion. Company car sales and fleet purchases were hardest hit, down 31%, while private sales were down by almost 27%.

In vehicle type trends, that are often followed in Ireland, sales of petrol and mild hybrid petrol cars were 33% down, while sales of diesel and mild hybrid diesels suffered most, down almost 48%. However, these categories still accounted for 62.7% and 19.8% of the market sales respectively.

The one bright spot for car makers was the performance of battery electric and plug-in hybrid electric cars. These made up around 10% of new cars sold up from 3% in 2019.

Pure EVs were 186% up on 2019 at 108,205 units. Meanwhile 66,877 plug-in hybrids were sold 91% up on the previous year against a backdrop of the overall decline. 35 new electric models are scheduled for 2021 introduction, more than combined new petrol diesel models.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, “2020 will be seen as a ‘lost year’ for automotive, with the sector under pandemic-enforced shutdown for much of the year and uncertainty over future trading conditions taking their toll.” He added, “With manufacturers bringing record numbers of electrified vehicles to market over the coming months, we will work with government to encourage drivers to make the switch.”