October car market above pre-pandemic levels

October’s new car market grew by 14.3% to reach 153,529 registrations, which is 7.2% above pre-pandemic levels, according to new figures.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reveals the best data since 2018 and is the 15th month of consecutive growth for the UK car industry.

Electrified vehicle uptake continued to accelerate in October, accounting for 37.6% of all new car registrations. Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) grew 24.6% to reach 19,574 units, while plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) recorded the highest proportional growth, up 60.5% to 14,285 registrations. Battery electric vehicle (BEV) uptake increased for the 42nd month in a row, by 20.1% to 23,943 units.

Overall vehicle uptake is now up 19.6% in the first 10 months, with the market currently enjoying its best year since 2019.

October’s plug-in vehicle performance follows a significant increase in chargepoint rollout in Q3, which improved significantly relative to new plug-in car uptake. 4,753 new standard chargepoints came online in the quarter, the largest ever quarterly delivery.

This equates to one new standard public chargepoint being installed for every 26 new plug-in cars reaching the road between July and September, improved from 38 in the same quarter last year.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “As fleet uptake flourishes, particularly for EVs, sustained success depends on encouraging all consumers to invest in the latest zero emission vehicles. The Autumn Statement is a key opportunity for government to introduce incentives and facilitate infrastructure investment. Doing so would send a clear signal of support for drivers, reassuring them that now is the time to switch to electric.”

Looking ahead to next year, the SMMT said overall market outlook for 2024 is marginally more positive than previously anticipated, up 1.0% to 1.970 million units with BEV market share of 22.3%.

Image from Shutterstock

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