UK car sales hit highest level since pandemic in 2023 Car News

The UK had its best year for car sales since the pandemic in 2023, as more than 1.9 million were registered, according to new figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Growth of 289,000 over 2022’s 30-year low of 1.6 million sales was driven entirely by fleet customers, who registered 1.1 million cars alone, a 38.7% rise year on year.

The private market remained stable, with 818,000 registrations, as the cost of living crisis and high interest rates continued to bite and stalled further growth.

Last year’s numbers were still 17.7% down on 2019’s high of 2.3 million.

Despite this, SMMT boss Mike Hawes says the industry “faces 2024 with a lot more confidence and optimism” than the year before and predict it to push on further to 1.97 million.

Key to the growth was the record take-up of EVs, which accounted for one in six cars registered.

This was again driven by business and fleet buyers, thanks to the compelling tax incentives of going electric: benefit-in-kind tax rates will sit at just 2% until at least 2025.

Of the total 315,000 EVs registered in 2023 (up 50,000 on 2022), 242,235 were sent to fleets, meaning just 8.9% were private sales. In comparison, combined EV sales in 2020 and 2021 totalled 298,932.

Meanwhile, hybrids recorded 27.1% growth in 2023 to reach a 12.6% market share, while plug-in hybrids were up 39.3% (for 7.4% of the market). 

Buyers again showed preference for superminis and SUVs, which accounted for 29.8% (around 86,000) and 28.6% (82,000) of total car sales. Crossovers such as the Ford Puma put in another strong showing, taking a 28.3% (81,000) slice.

These three segments have been the most popular since 2013.

“With vehicle supply challenges fading, the new car market is building back with the best year since the pandemic,” said SMMT chief Mike Hawes.

“Energised by fleet investment, particularly in the latest EVs, the challenge for 2024 is to deliver a green recovery.”

Call to halve VAT on EVs

The SMMT, backed by the automotive industry, has used the data to again call on the government to reintroduce EV incentives for private buyers after it revealed that consumer demand has flattened.

The UK is currently the only major European market without any non-business purchase incentives on EVs – but is the only market with a mandated minimum sales target through the new ZEV mandate.

As such, the lobby group wants Westminster to halve VAT on new EVs for three years, which would translate to lower purchasing costs – a similar level of support currently available to business buyers.


More about this article: Read More
This notice was published: 2024-01-05 00:01:44


UK government misses motorway EV charging target Car News

The UK government has missed its goal to have six or more ultra-rapid (150kW-350kW) electric vehicle chargers at every motorway service station in England by the end of 2023.

New analysis published by the RAC revealed that only 46 of the nation’s 119 service stations meet the criteria set out by the Department for Transport in May 2020.

It confirms Autocar’s December 2023 report that the target was set to be missed, as many service stations were limited to a sub-150kW charging provision.

Some sites – including Barton Park, Leicester Forest and Tebay South – still lack any form of EV charging provision.

According to figures from charger mapping service Zap-Map, there were 53,029 EV charge points in the UK at the end of November 2023. Of these, just 4505 were capable of delivering ultra-rapid charge rates.

Charge-point operators have previously highlighted the slow pace of electrical grid connections as a significant barrier to installing new chargers. Gridserve CEO Toddington Harper told Autocar in April 2023: “Almost every issue of speed of implementation is down to the speed of grid connections.”

Harper added that operators “can often be delayed by months or more waiting for a connection”.

Vauxhall Corsa-E charging at Gridserve

The government announced at November’s COP28 climate conference that it had established a £70 million pilot fund intended to improve grid connections at several sites.

It said the money, taken from the £950 million Rapid Charging Fund, would be used to prepare five to 10 locations for 100kW-plus charge points.

The government’s ambition with the new funding is to ‘future-proof’ each service station’s electrical capacity against the expected increase in demand for motorway chargers through to 2035. That year, sales of new petrol- and diesel-powered cars, including hybrids, will be banned.


More about this article: Read More
This notice was published: 2024-01-02 09:00:00


Government pledges £8.3bn to repair UK roads Car News

The government has pledged to spend £8.3 billion to repair Britain’s pothole-cratered roads – money diverted from the now-scaled back HS2 high-speed rail line.

This fund, Westminster says, is enough to resurface over 5000 miles of road and will be allocated to councils across the country for projects over the next 11 years.

It is the biggest road-specific fund to ever be announced in the UK.

Transport secretary Mark Harper confirmed today that each local authority will now receive £150 million, followed by a further £150 million for 2024/2025. The rest of the funding allocated through to 2034.

Of the cash, £3.3 billion has been allocated for those in the North West, North East and Yorkshire & Humber; £2.2 billion for the West Midlands and East Midlands;  and £2.8 billion for East of England, South East, South West and, for the first time in 8 years, London. 

“For too long politicians have shied away from taking the right long-term decisions to make life easier for families – tackling the scourge of potholes being a prime example,” said Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

“Well-maintained road surfaces could save drivers up to £440 each in expensive vehicle repairs, helping motorists keep more of the cash in their pocket.”

Harper added: “Most people travel by road and potholes can cause misery for motorists, from expensive vehicle repairs to bumpy, slow, and dangerous journeys. 

“Today’s biggest ever funding uplift for local road improvements is a victory for all road users, who will enjoy smoother, faster and safer trips – as we use redirected HS2 funding to make the right long-term decisions for a brighter future.”

The new cash follos from a further £70 million earmarked for updating 20mph zone guidance to “help prevent inappropriate blanket use”, and measures to speed up the rollout of electric vehicle charging.

New £8.3bn road fund welcomed

The fund has been welcomed by some of the UK’s biggest insurers and motoring groups.

RAC head of policy Simon Williams claimed smoother, well-maintained roads could save drivers up to £440 each in repair costs from pothole damage.

Welcoming the news, he said: “Drivers’ biggest bugbear of all is the poor condition of local roads, so the fact the Government has found a significant additional pot of revenue should give councils the certainty of funding they need to plan proper long-term road maintenance, something we have been calling for many years.

“We hope local authorities will use the money in the most effective way possible by resurfacing the very worst roads, keeping those in reasonable condition in better states for longer through surface dressing, and filling potholes as permanently as possible wherever necessary.


More about this article: Read More
This notice was published: 2023-11-17 10:27:53