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UK new car sales are up! EV market share is... flat!

2024 brings (mostly) positive news for automotive

Published: 05 Jan 2024

There’s been 17 months of consecutive growth in the UK new car market, “recording its best year since the pandemic” according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. Almost two million cars sold in 2023, with the Ford Puma taking the top spot as the UK’s best-selling car in 2023 shifting near-enough 49,600 units.

The Audi A3 pipped the Vauxhall Mokka for ninth place in the top 10 bestsellers list, while Tesla will be pleased. The Model Y made the top five – finally something to smile about in the same week it lost its crown as the world’s biggest selling EV manufacturer to Chinese carmaker BYD, and the Porsche Taycan trounced Tesla’s ‘Ring record.

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All this means sales are up a further 17.9 per cent on 2022’s figures. Sadly, that still leaves it almost 18 per cent off pre-pandemic levels. But more positively, the value of the UK’s new car market is now up to about £70 billion (from £60bn).

Things are less peachy for electric vehicle sales, which now account for every one in six cars sold in the UK – that still remains about 16.5 per cent market share though. Plus, that average is actually bolstered by all the drivers opting for company cars with attractive benefit-in-kind tax incentives. Private EV buyers account for one in 11 EVs sold. Oh dear.

This is all set to change though. On Wednesday, the Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Mandate came into force. That requires all car brands to ensure that at least 22 per cent of new car sales are electric.

Unsurprisingly, there are continued calls for the reintroduction of an EV purchase incentive, after the plug-in car grant ended in June 2022. Suggestions for 10 per cent, instead of 20 per cent VAT on the sale of EVs is being floated. What do you think - should EV sales be subsidised again?

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