UK Car Sales Soar Past 1 Million in H1 2024; German Factory Orders Unexpectedly Decline

The UK new car market reached the half-year milestone of one million vehicles for the first time in five years, with June new car registrations rising by 1.1% to 179,263 vehicles, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

This brings the total number of new cars sold this year to 1,006,763, representing a 6% increase year-on-year, though still 20.7% lower than in 2019, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.

June’s growth was largely driven by the fleet sector, which saw a 14.2% increase in uptake, while demand from private buyers decreased for the ninth consecutive month, down by 15.3%.

Electric vehicle demand showed strong growth in June, with plug-in hybrid sales rising by 30% to secure a 9.3% market share, and hybrid electric vehicle sales increasing by 27.2%, capturing 14.9% of the market.

Both powertrains outperformed battery electric vehicle growth, which rose by 7.4% and achieved its highest monthly share this year, accounting for 19% of all new vehicle registrations.

Mike Hawes, the chief executive of the SMMT, stated:

“At the year’s midpoint, the new car market is in its best condition since 2021. However, this masks the larger challenge ahead. The private consumer market continues to decline in the face of economic difficulties, but with the right policies, the next government can revitalize the market and facilitate a faster, fairer transition to zero emissions.

There is consensus on the necessity to reduce carbon emissions, and replacing older fossil fuel-based technologies with new electrified powertrains is crucial to achieving this goal.”

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