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New Car Sales Crossed 1 Million mark by Mid year in 2024, EV Sales Decline: SMMT

For the first time in five years, the new car market has surpassed one million sales at the half-year mark. A 1.1 percent increase in registrations in June pushed 2024’s half-year sales to 1,006,763, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders(SMMT).

The rise in June was driven by increased electric vehicle uptake and fleet sector sales. However, private retail demand has decreased across the board. The industry is now calling for the next government to “re-energize the market” by unveiling EV incentives on election day.

New car registrations in June reached 179,263 units, pushing the six-month total above the one million mark for the first time since the pandemic. This marks a 6 percent increase compared to the first half of 2023.

The most significant growth came from the fleet sector, which saw a 14.2 percent increase, largely due to the uptake of electric vehicles. June saw a 30 percent increase in plug-in hybrid (PHEV) volumes, reaching a 9.3 percent market share, and a 27.2 percent increase in hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) volumes. HEVs now account for 14.9 percent of the market, while pure electric vehicles (battery electric or BEVs) account for 19 percent of all new vehicle registrations, marking their highest monthly share this year.

This 7.4 percent rise in BEV registrations is a positive sign as the UK market ramps up its switch to electric vehicles. However, with the UK electing a new government today, the fall in private sales is causing industry concern and putting the UK’s switch to electric under question. The transition currently relies on the fleet sector, as private driver uptake continues to decline. Private BEV uptake has fallen by 10.8 percent so far, with fewer than one in five new BEVs going to private buyers.