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EV demand drives rise in new vehicle sales

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Thanks to a substantial increase in the demand for electric vehicles (EVs), registrations of new cars rose by 1.2% year-on-year in August, which is typically a quiet month for sales, as buyers often prefer to wait until September for the new licence plate numbers.

The rise ends a five-month streak of lower than usual car sales. While the sales of diesel and hybrid vehicles generally dropped, modest growth in the sales of petrol vehicles and a strong 35.4% jump in the demand for battery electric vehicles overcame this. Overall, 68,858 new vehicles joined the UK’s roads, with 10,006 of these being battery electric.

The chief executive of the SMMT, Mike Hawes, said that the news was welcome, but pointed to the challenges that were hindering the industry:

“Spiralling energy costs and inflation on top of sustained supply chain challenges are piling even more pressure on the automotive industry’s post-pandemic recovery, and we urgently need the new Prime Minister to tackle these challenges and restore confidence and sustainable growth.”

He added that September, a traditionally brisk month for new car sales with the latest number plate, would be a better indicator of the industry’s progress in recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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