EV sales experience record high for March whilst UK car market falls with uncertainty
According to SMMT, the headlines are:
- Alternatively Fuelled Vehicles experience the biggest March volume on record
- Brexit is thought to have created uncertainty and confidence resulting in UK new car market being down -3.4%
- New car safety continues to improve with eight in ten cars featuring self-activating safety tech, autonomous emergency braking and collision warning systems
- British consumers are set to be among world’s first to experience self-driving vehicles – but, ‘no deal’ Brexit is thought to threaten this
March is viewed as a critical month with the plate changes driving buyers into showrooms, leading to a healthier wider economy.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,
March is a key barometer for the new car market, so this fall is of clear concern. While manufacturers continue to invest in exciting models and cutting-edge tech, for the UK to reap the full benefits of these advances, we need a strong market that encourages the adoption of new technology. That means supportive policies, not least on vehicle taxation and incentives, to give buyers the confidence to invest in the new car that best meets their driving needs. Above all, we urgently need an end to the political and economic uncertainty by removing permanently the threat of a ‘no deal’ Brexit and agreeing a future relationship that avoids any additional friction that would increase costs and hence prices.
With this being said, uncertainty has lead to an overall decrease of demand in both the private and business sectors, with registrations down -2.8% and -44.8%. Despite this, fleet demand remained stable, up 0.3%. Declines have been seen across almost every segment apart from EV. Alternatively Fuelled Vehicles have increased by 7.6% with 25,302 registered in March – the highest volume on record for a March.
Another development in the indiustry is innovation, which is said to be driving forward comfort and safety. This is backed up with eight in ten new cars on the road now including new driver assistance technology, helping to alleviate driver error, thus preventing accidents.
Excitingly, UK consumers could be one of the first to benefit from self-driving vehicles. If implemented widespread, this could help to prevent 47,000 serious accidents and save 3,900 lives over the next decade alone. Additionally, this breakthrough provides an economic opportunity of £62 billion by 2030.
With the overall uncertainty of a ‘no deal’, this is thought to potentially have a destructive impact on UK’s position regarding the global market and innovation. Despite this, Alternative Fuelled Vehicles have increased their market share by 0.5% in comparison to this time last year. When we reflect on this year to date, market share for Alternative Fuelled Vehicles has increased by 14.7%, with an overall market share increasing 0.8% more than 2018.
- Alternatively Fuelled Vehicle market continues to rise despite consumer uncertainty, proving the longevity of this sector
- Driver safety continues to improve with the immersion of new technologies and constant innovation
- The overall market is thought to be affected by the uncertainty of Brexit
- The fall in such a critical month of car sector sales leaves the industry concerned