Sept Plate Change Sees New Car Market Up      

The SMMT is reporting that the UK new car market recorded its second successive month of growth in September, with registrations rising 4.6%. 

After some motor trade experts questioned the ongoing relevance of the plate change, and during what is typically the second biggest month of the year for the sector, 225,269 cars joined Britain’s roads. 

While this was a 9,957 unit increase on last year, when the industry recorded its weakest September since 1998,1 overall registrations for the month are still some -34.4% below pre-pandemic levels as the industry continues to battle issues constraining supply to fulfil a backlog of orders.

Bucking recent trends, registrations by large fleets grew by 12.5% or 11,315 units, although this still represents a significant (-39.7%) decline on pre-pandemic volumes. Registrations to private buyers, meanwhile, fell by -3.6%. 

In terms of segments, the largest growth was seen in multi-purpose vehicles, which rose 509.2%, adding more than 10,000 units, to 12,068, a result of key new model availability. Superminis remained the most popular segment overall, accounting for 30.9% of all registrations.

While growth is welcome following a torrid first half of the year, total registrations for 2022 remain down -8.2% on a weak 2021 performance and more than a third (-35.1%) below the first three quarters of pre-pandemic 2019, equivalent to 653,903 fewer units.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “September has seen Britain’s millionth electric car reach the road – an important milestone in the shift to zero emission mobility. Battery electric vehicles make up but a small fraction of cars on the road, so we need to ensure every lever is pulled to encourage motorists to make the shift if our green goals are to be met.