UK New Car Market Sees 23.1% Uplift in August as Share of Hybrid, Electric Cars Expands

The UK new car market enjoyed a boost in August, with year-on-year demand surging 23.1%, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, which represents more than 800 automotive companies in Britain.

Demand was up across the board, with consumers and fleets seeing a surge in registrations of 23.3% and 19.7%, respectively, while orders from the smaller business sector catapulted by 166.4%, equivalent to an uplift of about 1,500 units versus August last year, according to a statement. Superminis remained the most popular buy.

Supporting the overall market was the UK’s growing range of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and pure electric cars, as the trade association noted that a record one in 12 people chose an environmentally friendly car. Demand surged by a whopping 88.7% in the month, with the sector accounting for 8.0% of the market, its highest level ever.

In the year-to-date, the overall car market, however, remains down by 4.2%, in line with forecasts after a turbulent first eight months, the trade body pointed out.

“It’s great to see such strong growth, particularly in the important electric vehicle market,” Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said in the statement. “However, given August is always a small month in new car registrations ahead of the important plate-change month of September, it would be wrong to view the market as booming.”