Shropshire Star

New car sales rise for seventh month in a row

The UK's new car market has grown for seven consecutive months, new figures show.

The new Vauxhall Corsa was tthe UK's best-selling car in January

Some 74,441 new cars were registered last month, up 26.2 per cent on February 2022, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said.

The increase is due to an easing of global supply chain shortages, according to the industry body.

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

Land Rover sales rose 56.5 per cent to 1,358 with Jaguar down 11.1 per cent to 312.

MG, which is based at Longbridge, saw an 11.3 per cent rise to 1,014.

The top-selling brand in February was Ford at 6,852 with the Vauxhall Corsa the best-selling model at 2,818.

The SMMT anticipates that registrations across the whole of 2023 will reach 1.79 million, up 11.1 per cent on last year.

The total for February was just 6.5% down on the same month in 2020, before the coronavirus pandemic affected sales.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: "After seven months of growth, it is no surprise that the UK automotive sector is facing the future with growing confidence.

"It is vital, however, that Government takes every opportunity to back the market, which plays a significant role in Britain's economy and net zero ambition.

"As we move into new plate month in March, with more of the latest high-tech cars available, the upcoming Budget must deliver measures that drive this transition, increasing affordability and ease of charging for all."

Registrations of hybrid electric vehicles were 40.0 per cent higher in February than during the same month in 2022.

The market share for pure electrics was 16.5 per cent, down from 17.7 per ent a year ago.

Combined, plug-ins account for more than a fifth (22.8 per cent) of all new cars delivered last month.

Mark Oakley, director of AA Cars, said: “New car dealers have entered March – traditionally one of the busiest months of the year – with a spring in their step.

“February’s strong sales figures extended the new car market’s uninterrupted run of increasing year-on-year registrations to seven straight months. After a challenging 2022, and despite fragile consumer confidence, new car sales have gained some real momentum.

“With the first examples of cars sporting the brand new March registration plates now arriving in forecourts, dealers will be hoping to tempt more would-be buyers in the coming weeks.

“The big question is how the market will fare once the short-term boost offered by March’s new plates fades. Inflation is coming down, but only very slowly, and the rapidly rising cost of living is slicing into people’s disposable incomes – and thus their willingness to commit to big ticket purchases like a brand new car"

Alex Buttle, co-founder of used car marketplace, said: “The sun is continuing to shine on new car sales, with February registrations growing for the seventh month in a row. This is no mean feat against a backdrop of economic uncertainty but is partly explained by the backlog of demand the industry is now able to fulfil.

"While demand for used EVs may be slower than last year, sales are still on the rise despite the concern over energy prices, proving motorists are still pursuing greener pastures.”

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