UK car sales rise for fourth month in a row

The UK's new car market has recorded a fourth successive month of growth.

The Nissan Qashqai was the top-selling car in the UK in November and so far this year
The Nissan Qashqai was the top-selling car in the UK in November and so far this year

Some 142,889 new cars were registered in November, up 23.5 per cent on the same month last year, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

There were mixed fortunes for Jaguar Land Rover, which has its engine manufacturing centre at the i54 north of Wolverhampton.

Land Rover saw sales rise 25.7 per cent to 3,468 for the month, but Jaguar was down 45 per cent at 736.

MG, which is based at Longbridge but has its cars made abroad, saw sales up 20.9 per cent to 5,062.

Top-selling car model in the month was the Nissan Qashqai at 5,636. It is also leading the way on total sales this year at 39,198.

Volkswagen topped the November sales chart with 13,757 - up 59.3 per cent.

Plug-in cars such as pure electrics and plug-in hybrids accounted for more than a quarter of the market.

Overall, registrations last month were 8.8 per cent below pre-coronavirus levels.

The number of new cars registered during the first 11 months of this year is 3.4 per cent down on the same period in 2021.

Supply shortages have largely been blamed for the decline.

The SMMT is calling for urgent Government action to boost electric car charging infrastructure and support the uptake of plug-in vehicles.

Chief executive Mike Hawes said: "Recovery for Britain's new car market is back within our grasp, energised by electrified vehicles and the sector's resilience in the face of supply and economic challenges.

"As the sector looks to ensure that growth is sustainable for the long term, urgent measures are required - not least a fair approach to driving EV adoption that recognises these vehicles remain more expensive, and measures to compel investment in a charging network that is built ahead of need.

"By doing so we can encourage consumer appetite across the country and accelerate the UK's journey to net zero."

Ian Plummer, director of automotive classified advertising company Auto Trader, said: "Even though sales of electric cars have jumped more than a third in the past year, there are big question marks over how long this will last.

"Our data shows the cost-of-living crisis and high electricity prices are turning people away from EVs.

"Battery EVs accounted for just 19% of our retailers' sales leads in November compared with more than a quarter in June."

The SMMT anticipates that more new cars will be sold in 2023 compared with this year, but expects demand to remain below pre-Covid levels.

Alex Buttle, co-founder of used car marketplace, commented: "Despite the prospect of a bleak mid-winter, car buyers at large have not yet been put off buying a new car, with sales continuing to rise month-on-month versus the same time last year. EV sales continue to represent a significant proportion of these sales as consumers flock towards greener ways to drive ahead of the 2030 fossil fuel ban."

James Fairclough, chief executive at AA Cars, said: “Four straight months of rising new vehicle registrations would be an achievement at any time, but with Britain sliding into recession it feels all the more impressive.

“After a painfully slow start to the year – when the sector was hamstrung by supply shortages – sales are ending the year strongly, with drivers’ surging demand for electric vehicles leading the way. Pure EVs now account for well over one in four new cars sold in the UK.

“But the progress is all relative. Total sales so far this year are still 3.4 per cent down on the Covid-impacted numbers recorded at this point in 2021, and well adrift from their pre-pandemic levels."

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