SMMT New Car Registrations (April)

Fleets Drive Growth Amidst Declining Private Demand

17th May 2024

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has released its latest data on April 2024 UK new car registrations, highlighting a modest growth of 1.0% compared to April 2023. This marks the 21st consecutive month of growth in the UK new car market, with 134,274 units registered. This is the market's best April since 2021, although it remains 16.6% below pre-pandemic levels.

Fleet Sales Leading the Charge in April 2024 UK New Car Registrations

Continuing a year-long trend, the growth in April 2024 UK new car registrations was driven entirely by fleet sales. Fleet registrations surged by 18.5% to 81,207 units, accounting for more than 60% of all new cars registered. In contrast, private buyer registrations fell by 17.7% to 50,458 units, and business registrations dropped by 16.1% to 2,609 units.

Electrified Vehicles: The Future is Now

Electrified vehicles (EVs) remained a significant driver of market expansion in the April 2024 UK new car registrations. Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) saw the strongest growth, increasing by 22.1% to account for 7.8% of the market. Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs) followed with a 16.7% increase, securing a 13.1% market share. Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) also experienced growth, rising by 10.7% and reaching a market share of 16.9%, up from 15.4% in April 2023.

However, the growth in BEV registrations was driven predominantly by fleet buyers, with private BEV registrations dropping by 21.9%. The disparity highlights the need for enhanced government incentives to encourage private consumers to transition to electric vehicles.

Government Support: A Crucial Component in April 2024 UK New Car Registrations

The SMMT report underscores the importance of government support in fostering the adoption of BEVs, as reflected in the April 2024 UK new car registrations. The current lack of incentives for private buyers is a significant barrier. The report suggests that halving VAT on new BEV purchases and altering the Vehicle Excise Duty for EVs could substantially boost private adoption.

Furthermore, expanding the charging infrastructure is essential for building consumer confidence. Despite a record number of chargepoints installed last year, the ratio of chargers to plug-in cars remains low, with only one standard charger for every 35 plug-in cars on the road.

Market Outlook for 2024

The SMMT has revised its market outlook for 2024, anticipating 1.984 million new car registrations, a 4.2% increase from last year and a 0.5% rise from the January forecast. However, the expected share of BEVs has been downgraded to 19.8% from the previous 22%, reflecting the challenges in boosting private BEV demand.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, emphasised, "The new car market continues to grow, driven primarily by fleet demand. For the electric vehicle sector, government incentives for private buyers are crucial. Cutting VAT, treating EVs as mainstream vehicles, and enhancing the chargepoint network will drive market growth, essential for the UK's net-zero ambition."

Detailed Insights: April 2024 UK New Car Registrations

Top Models for April 2024:
Year-to-Date Performance:
Fuel Type Trends:

Conclusion

The SMMT's April 2024 UK new car registrations report provides a comprehensive overview of the current state of the UK car market. While the growth in new car registrations is promising, it is clear that sustained government support is crucial for accelerating the transition to electric vehicles. Enhancing incentives for private buyers and expanding the charging infrastructure will be key to maintaining the momentum towards a greener future.