New car sales are down, but electric is still on the rise

Car sales experts from the National Franchised Dealers Association said new car sales have declined this year, but interest in electric vehicles is still high.

Sue Robinson, chief executive of the NFDA, which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle dealers in the UK, said: “New car sales continued to decline in April, largely due to constraints on the side supply, due to continued lockdowns in China, impacting the availability of new vehicles.

In April, a total of 119,167 new cars were registered, a decrease of -15.8% compared to the same period last year. Sales to private buyers increased by 4.8%; fleet registrations decreased by -33.3%.

But battery electric vehicles (BEVs) saw significant growth, up 40.9% to 12,899 units. Plug-in hybrid (PHEV) registrations fell -36.6% to 6,449 units, while hybrid (HEV) increased by 18.3% to 13,951 units. There are now 175,337 registered electric vehicles on the road in 2022, up from 120,541 at the same time last year, an increase of 45.5%.

With the growth in electricity sales, diesel went from 14,012 units to 6,725 (-52%) and petrol went from 71,173 units to 54,633 (-23.2%).

Ms Robinson said: “Demand is being held back by cost of living pressures. The state of the NFDA market research reveals that the rising cost of living is the most concerning factor for franchise dealers, followed by ongoing supply constraints.

“Buying a new vehicle tends to be the second most important purchase in a consumer’s life, after their home. Therefore, franchise dealerships are working extremely hard with the customer to ensure quality service and customer care at a time when inflationary pressures are beginning to impact decision-making.

“It is also worth noting that sales of electrified vehicles continue to perform very well as brands launch new models. Franchised dealers who have Electric Vehicle Approved (EVA) accreditation are extremely well placed to advise customers on the best new vehicle for them.

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