London – The UK new car market saw a decline in November as registrations fell 27.4% year-on-year last month, according to the latest figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
As showrooms remained closed throughout the month across England, new car sales fell by nearly 43,000 to 113,781 units, taking trade back to levels last seen during the 2008 recession, SMMT said in a 4 Dec report.
The decline was less severe than that seen during the first lockdown – when registrations fell by a record 97.3% in April alone.
This, SMMT said, was largely because retailers and manufacturers were able to be better prepared to fulfil orders via delivery or click and collect.
Despite the preparation, private demand fell by 32.2% while registrations by large fleets saw a decline of 22.1%
More positively, market share for battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) grew significantly, up 122.4% and 76.9% respectively.
BEVs, said SMMT, recorded their third highest ever monthly share of registrations at 9.1%, while the PHEV share increased to 6.8% – a combined total of more than 18,000 new zero-emission capable cars joining the UK fleet.
Commenting on the November sales development, Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, £1.3 billion (€1.4 billion) worth of new car revenue was lost in November.
“The importance of showroom trading to the UK economy is evident and we must ensure they remain open in any future Covid restrictions,” he added.
On a more positive note, he said that the approval of a Covid vaccine will likely improve the business and consumer confidence, “giving the industry more optimism for the turn of the year.”