Press releases

Deloitte comments on SMMT new car registration figures

5 August 2020

Michael Woodward, UK automotive lead, Deloitte, said:

“New car sales grew by 11% in July compared to the same period last year. A return to growth was bolstered by increased demand in both the private (+20%) and fleet (+5%) sectors. This flurry of post-lockdown activity hints towards a speedy recovery. However, manufacturers and dealers alike will treat these results with caution. The conversion of latent demand, built up over the last four months is a key driver of July’s growth, but we may see a slower rate of sale return over the course of the year once this demand dissipates.

“Whilst consumer confidence is returning, albeit slowly, consumers remain concerned over the state of the economy and the job market. As a result, consumers may be more cautious over major purchases moving forward. However, significant discounting is likely over the coming months as manufacturers bring their factories back up to full capacity. This could help maintain higher level of sales, at least in the short-term.

“Whilst the UK remains one of the only major economies not to have provided an auto stimulus package in response to COVID-19, there are already significant tax incentives in place for electric vehicles. These incentives seem to be working and, combined with greater consumer awareness on climate change, the EV market continues to grow rapidly, continuing a trend of triple digit growth that was only interrupted at the height of lockdown.

“Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) both fared well throughout lockdown, this month growing by 259% and 320% respectively. As a result, they now hold a 9% share of the market compared to just 2% in the same period last year.

“As the UK looks to meet wider net zero emissions by 2050, and a proposed ban on the sale of polluting vehicles brought forward to 2035, the stage is set for further adoption. A third of global new car sales are expected to be electric by 2030. However, continued investment in charging facilities and overcoming consumer concerns around their availability and accessibility could see the UK surpass this, reaching as much as 65% of the domestic market in the same period.

“With a stream of new EVs entering the market with improved ranges, sales figures for petrol and diesel vehicles are likely to have reached their peak. Pressure is now on fast-chargers with capacity being tested at peak times. Maintaining coordination with charging infrastructure planning is needed if growth is to be sustained.”


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