Promising signs have emerged from the UK’s new car market, which experienced its first consecutive month of year-on-year growth in November.

According to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), sales grew by an impressive 23.5%, with 142,889 vehicles finding homes during the penultimate month of 2022.

As is becoming the norm, a significant proportion of these vehicles were electric. 39,558, to be exact, a rise of 34.2%. That means EVs now represent one-fifth of all new cars sold for the first time – a significant milestone on the road to 2030.

After many months of slow sales, brought on partly by the Covid-19 pandemic and a shortage of computer chips, the market finally seems to be gathering momentum.

However, although these figures are the best we’ve seen for a while, they are still 8.8% down on November 2019’s stats – a clear indicator that, although the market may be on a positive trajectory, it still has some way to go before returning to normality.

According to the SMMT, further growth is expected through 2023, but the cost of living crisis is likely to slow the market’s recovery; the organisation doesn’t expect sales to return to pre-pandemic levels just yet.

The expert’s view

“Recovery for Britain’s new car market is back within our grasp, energised by electrified vehicles and the sector’s resilience in the face of supply and economic challenges,” said SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes.

“As the sector looks to ensure that growth is sustainable for the long term, urgent measures are required – not least a fair approach to driving EV adoption that recognises these vehicles remain more expensive, and measures to compel investment in a charging network that is built ahead of need.

“By doing so we can encourage consumer appetite across the country and accelerate the UK’s journey to net zero.”

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