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UK new car sales rose 9.5 per cent in November

The number of new cars registered in the UK in November increased by 9.5 per cent, new figures show.

Ford Puma

Some 156,525 new cars were registered last month, up from 142,889 in November 2022, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said.

The latest total was just 0.1 per cent below pre-pandemic levels.

Growth was driven by fleets investing in new cars, with registrations rising 25.4 per cent.

Demand from private buyers and businesses fell by 5.9 per cent and 32.7 per cent respectively.

Jaguar sales were up 109.1 per cent to 1,539 and Land Rover rose 35.8 per cent to 4,712. JLR's engines are made at the newly renamed Electric Propulsion Manufacturing Centre at the i54 to the north of Wolverhampton.

MG, which is based at Longbridge and has its cars made overseas, increased by 34 per cent to 6,785.

Volkswagen was the best selling brand in the Uk at 13,433 with the Ford Puma the top selling car at 4,298.

The market share of pure battery electric new cars last month was 15.6 per cent, down from 20.6 per cent a year ago when sales surged due to a large number of deliveries.

Year-to-date market share is 16.3 per cent, compared with 15.1 per cent at the same point in 2022.

The SMMT reiterated its calls for post-Brexit rules of origin requirements set to be introduced for trade between the UK and the EU from January 1 to be postponed.

Tariffs of 10 per cent are due to be imposed on exports of electric cars if at least 45% of their value does not originate in the UK or EU.

Manufacturers will struggle to meet that threshold as battery production within Europe has not increased as quickly as hoped.

The SMMT previously estimated the tariffs could result in an average price rise of £3,400 on EU-manufactured pure battery electric vehicles bought in the UK.

Meanwhile, at least 22 per cent of new cars sold by each manufacturer in the UK next year must be zero-emission, which generally means pure electric, under the Government's zero-emission vehicles mandate.

The threshold will rise each year until it reaches 100 per cent by 2035.

Failure to abide by the rule or make use of flexibilities, such as carrying over allowances from previous years, will result in a requirement to pay the Government £15,000 per polluting car sold above the limits.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: "Britain's new car market continues to recover, fuelled by fleets investing in the latest and greenest new vehicles.

"With car makers gearing up to meet their responsibilities under new market legislation, and Cop28 currently under way, now is the time to take sensible steps that will multiply that economic growth and minimise carbon emissions.

"Private EV buyers need incentives in line with those that have so successfully driven business uptake - and workable trade rules that promote rather than penalise the transition."

Mark Oakley, director of AA Cars, commented: “The new car market is navigating the tricky economic backdrop with all the skill of an experienced driver dodging the potholes and powering smoothly through the bends of a winding country road.

“The market’s incredible, uninterrupted run of rising sales has now extended into a 16th straight month, showing the strength not just of driver demand but also of supply, as manufacturers and dealers work together to keep up with customer orders.

“The figures are a striking reminder of Britons’ continued willingness to commit to big ticket purchases like a car, even as they cut back spending elsewhere."

Jon Lawes, managing director at Novuna Vehicle Solutions, one of the UK’s largest fleet operators, said: "The £2bn announced in the Autumn Statement to aid zero-emission vehicle manufacturing, combined with the UK’s first ever battery strategy and a promised consultation on fast-tracking charging infrastructure, have all been encouraging steps for the UK’s EV transition. However, the OBR is still predicting a dramatic fall in EV uptake and with the clock ticking on incoming tariffs, this poses a threat to UK vehicle manufacturing and undermines the commitments in last week’s budget.”

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