New automobile market reaches ‘million vehicles’ milestone in mid-year

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By Car Brand Experts


SMMT Car regs summary graphic June 24 01
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Great Britain’s recent automobile market has achieved the half-year million vehicles milestone for the first time in five years, following a slight 1.1% increase in new automobile registrations in June, totaling 179,263 units, as reported by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Consequently, as of 2024, a total of 1,006,763 new vehicles have been registered, marking a 6.0% rise from the previous year but still a decrease of -20.7% compared to 2019.1

The growth in June’s market was mainly driven by the corporate sector, where the reception rose by 14.2%, while individual retail demand declined for the ninth consecutive month, falling by -15.3%. Retail purchasers accounted for less than four out of ten new vehicles registered (37.7%).

June Fuel 2024 and YTD cars
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The adoption of electrified vehicles continued to rise considerably in June, with plug-in hybrid (PHEV) volumes increasing by 30.0% to attain a 9.3% market share, whereas hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) surged by 27.2% to reach 14.9% of the market. Both powertrain types surpassed the growth of battery electric vehicles (BEV), which went up by 7.4% but achieved its highest monthly share this year, constituting 19.0% of all new vehicle registrations.

The transformation of the UK into zero emission vehicles – and manufacturers’ ability to meet the standards of the Vehicle Emissions Trading Scheme – predominantly hinges on the corporate sector as individual consumer adoption continues to decrease. Private adoption of BEVs has fallen by -10.8% year to date, with fewer than one in every five new BEVs being acquired by private purchasers. Overall, BEVs currently represent 16.6% of the new automobile market thus far this year, slightly above the 16.1% recorded in the same period last year, with uptake trailing the levels mandated by the government.

June Sales 2024 and YTD cars
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Given the UK’s election taking place today, the automotive industry appeals to the future government to offer increased assistance to consumers on the journey towards zero emission mobility. Reinstating fiscal incentives for private consumers, such as halving the VAT on BEVs for three years, would revitalize the market, leading to an additional 300,000 private BEVs – as opposed to petrol or diesel vehicles – being on the road over the next three years, alongside existing forecasts.2 This move would contribute to ensuring that by 2035, half of all vehicles in operation would be zero emission, thereby decreasing road transport CO2 emissions by 175 million tonnes between now and then.

June registrations 2008 to 2024 update
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Plans concerning Vehicle Excise Duty should also be reconsidered so that zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) are classified as essential rather than labeled as “luxury” vehicles, by adjusting the ‘expensive car’ supplement set to be enforced starting from next April. Additionally, the use of public charging points could be made more equitable by lowering VAT from 20% to 5%, aligning it with home charging – a measure that would bolster ZEV adoption and convey a positive message to consumers.

June 2024 best sellers cars
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As stated by Mike Hawes, Chief Executive of SMMT:

The market for new automobiles has reached its best state since 2021 at the mid-year point – however, this conceals the significant challenge that lies ahead. The individual consumer market continues to contract against a challenging economic backdrop, yet with appropriate policies in place, the future government can reinvigorate the market and drive a prompter, more equitable transition to zero emissions. All parties concur on the necessity of reducing carbon emissions, and substituting aged fossil fuel-based technologies with modern electrified powertrains is the crucial step toward attaining that objective.

1 Jan-Jun 2019 new automobile registrations: 1,269,245
2 SMMT: Back Automotive and reap £50bn growth

SOURCE: SMMT

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